Lyna Mohamad in Kuala Lumpur
Brunei Darussalam is among the top five countries with the highest tourist receipts in Malaysia at RM1.52 billion.
Deputy Director General of Tourism Malaysia Zulkifli bin Mohd Said made this statement at the Networking Dinner for Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council held in conjunction with Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel 2020 (MYHCT 2020) last Wednesday.
Hosted by Tourism Malaysia at The Oak Room of the Connexion Conference & Event Centre (CCEC) in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, the dinner was held for foreign media representatives invited for the launch of MYHCT 2020.
“As a result of strategic initiatives and other promotional efforts, in 2018 we recorded 25.8 million international tourist arrivals with tourist receipts amounting to RM84.1 billion.”
The deputy director added that for the first six months this year, Singapore topped the top list of tourists receipts with RM11.56 billion, followed by China (RM7.09 billion), Indonesia (RM5.71 billion), Thailand (RM1.70 billion) and Brunei.
Tourism performance also saw growth in terms of per capita expenditure, rising by 1.9 per cent to RM3,121.6, while the Average Length of Stay (ALOS) climbed by 0.4 nights to 6.2 nights. Brunei was also fifth on the top 10 international arrivals for the first half of 2019, with 627,112 visits.
He said ASEAN arrivals continued to dominate the share of tourist arrivals to Malaysia with a 70 per cent contribution. The medium-haul market and long-haul market occupied a 21 per cent and a nine per cent share respectively.
Overall, the performance of the short-haul, medium-haul and long-haul markets registered positive increase with 4.7 per cent, 7.1 per cent and 1.8 per cent growth compared to the first half of 2018.
The Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign hopes to meet its target of 30 million international tourist arrivals and RM100 billion tourist receipts.
Tourism Malaysia is doubling efforts for local and international promotions, which have been done since the early days of 2018 to achieve this target.
“New promotional strategies were implemented to drive Malaysia’s tourism industry, to position it as one of the country’s leading sources of revenue and to contribute significantly to the socioeconomic development.”
He added that optimising the use of information and communication technology is an engaging approach in promotion, publicity and advertising efforts.
COO MHTC Nik Yazmin Nik Azman, in a briefing, disclosed that they have definitely seen double digit growth (20-30 per cent) from Brunei, but that the number is in the thousands.
“Last year saw a spike. We saw a lot more because other options were becoming very expensive. Last year, we saw over 50 per cent growth from Brunei. So it is starting to come, but the reality is a lot of people are not yet health conscious in Brunei.”
A lot of the profile coming from Brunei are non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, which are lifestyle diseases, she added
“We have seen people coming in for DNA screening, eye procedures, health check as well and some maintenance around heart disease and diabetes. Those markers are quite steady. We are seeing some interest in oncology, but not so much as oncology treatment. We only see specific cases which are more complex coming in.”
“The reality is the Brunei Government provides good healthcare for its people but because your population is quite small, the case, load is not so high. So when they have complex cases, they look for specialists who have seen more of this disease and that is when referrals come in,” said Nik Yazmin.