Drop in Brunei visitors to M’sia in Q1 2020

Azlan Othman

Statistics from Tourism Malaysia revealed a drop of 57.6 per cent in the number of visitors from Brunei Darussalam to Malaysia for the first quarter of this year (January to March), where 135,412 tourist arrivals to Malaysia were recorded, compared to 319,024 arrivals for the same period in 2019.

Some 69,885 Brunei visitors travelled to Malaysia in January 2020 and 45,998 in February, which dropped drastically to 19,529 in March.

Visitors from Brunei Darussalam were the sixth highest for Malaysia after Singapore (1,541,591), Indonesia (701,142), China (401,067), Thailand (331,417) and India (153,727).

Malaysia is not alone in registering negative growth in the number of tourist arrivals.

According to data from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Malaysia’s neighbouring ASEAN member countries also recorded a significant decline in the number of tourists, including Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia.

The spread of COVID-19, which prompted countries to impose a ban on international travel, was cited as the cause of the severe decline.

Malaysia recorded 4,233,425 tourist arrivals for the first quarter of 2020. This marks a decrease of 36.8 per cent, compared to the same period in 2019.

The tourist expenditure for the first quarter recorded a total of MYR12.5 billion, a decrease of 41.5 per cent, compared to MYR21.4 billion registered for the same period in 2019.

Per capita expenditure also showed a decline of 7.4 per cent from MYR3,201.8 in 2019, to MYR2,964.5 this year. The average length of stay (ALOS) in Malaysia saw a decrease of 1.9 nights from six nights in 2019 to 4.1 nights.

From January to March 2020, Malaysia received less tourists each month, compared to the corresponding month of the previous year. Negative growth had been observed for tourists from every regional market, namely the short-haul market (-37.3 per cent), the medium-haul market (-41.4) and the long-haul market (-22.5 per cent) from January until March 2020.

The top 10 tourist generating markets were Singapore (1,541,591), Indonesia (701,142), China (401,067), Thailand (331,417), India (153,727), Brunei (135,412), South Korea (118,571), Japan (73,154), Australia (72,047) and the Philippines (64,257).

ASEAN member countries remain Malaysia’s top contributors in tourist arrivals with a share of 67.8 per cent or 2,868,359 tourists. However, this is a stark contrast compared to 2019, where Malaysia received 4,576,636 tourists from ASEAN for the first quarter of the year, which translates to a decrease of 37.3 per cent from this region.

Malaysia’s medium-haul market, which includes East Asia (China, South Korea and Japan) and South Asia (India and Pakistan) contributed a share of 20.3 per cent or 859,273 tourists.

Last year, Malaysia received 1,466,993 tourist arrivals from this market for the same period.

As many as 505,307 tourists from the long-haul market visited Malaysia from January until March 2020. This total made up the remaining 11.9 per cent share of total tourist arrivals in Malaysia throughout the three months.

In comparison, the number of tourists from this segment who visited Malaysia last year was 652,032, marking a decrease of 22.5 per cent. Long-haul market includes tourists from West Asia, Central Asia, Americas, Oceania, Europe and Africa.

In terms of the number of excursionists, or the daily visitors to the country, Malaysia recorded a total of 1,688,452 arrivals from January to March 2020, a decrease of 27.1 per cent compared to 2,315,440 excursionists who visited Malaysia in the same period last year.