Increase in foreign visitor arrival since PH's takeover — Minister

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 17): Malaysia drew 26.45 million foreign tourists between July 2018 and June 2019, raking in RM86.9 billion.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Deputy Minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik told Dewan Rakyat today that foreign visitor arrival recorded an increase of 2.7 percent while earnings increased by 6.8 percent during the period.

"Since Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over the Government, earnings from foreign tourist spending also increased to RM41.69 billion between July 2018 and June 2019 compared with RM39.01 billion in the same period previously,” he said during the oral question and answer session.

He was responding to Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Abd Muttalib (BN-Maran) who had asked about the number of foreign tourists to Malaysia and earnings from the sector after PH took over the government following the 14th general election on May 9, 2018.

Muhammad Bakhtiar said Malaysia’s five main foreign visitor markets in the same period were Singapore (5.38 million), Indonesia (1.85 million), China (1.55 million), Thailand (990,565) and India (354,486).

To a supplementary question from Datuk Dr Hasan Bahrom (PH-Tampin) on the Ministry’s focus to enhance tourism, the deputy minister said the sector was moving towards rural based tourism.

“Many tourists do not come just to see the buildings or monuments but more to experience the rural environment,” he said.

In this regard, he said rural folk particularly homestay operators could generate income from Japanese and Chinese tourists who liked such products.