There has been a 78.4 per cent drop in the number of Brunei visitors to Malaysia in the first six months of this year with 135,593 people travelling to the neighbouring nation from January to June 2020, compared to 627,112 in the same period last year, Tourism Malaysia stated.
However, visitors from the sultanate are the sixth highest. The top 10 tourist generating markets were Singapore (1,541,820), Indonesia (702,082), China (401,285), Thailand (348,133), India (153,873), Brunei (135,593), South Korea (118,594), Japan (73,201), Australia (72,103) and the Philippines (64,311).
January recorded the highest number of Brunei visitors to Malaysia with 69,885 people, followed by February (45,998), March (19,529), April (32), May (39) and June (110).
Tourism Malaysia added that Malaysia registered 4,252,997 tourist arrivals in the first half of 2020, marking a decrease of 68.2 per cent compared to the same period in 2019. Last year, Malaysia received over 13.3 million tourist arrivals from January until June.
For the first six months of 2020, the tourist expenditure recorded a total of MYR12.5 billion, a decrease of 69.8 per cent compared to MYR41.6 billion received for the same period last year. Similarly, the per capita expenditure showed a decline of 5.3 per cent from MYR3,121.60 in 2019 to MYR2,956.10 this year.
Negative growth had been observed for tourists from every regional market namely short-haul market (-69.1 per cent), medium-haul market (-69.0 per cent) and long-haul market (-58.8 per cent) from January until June 2020.
In terms of the number of excursionists, or the daily visitors to the country, Malaysia recorded 1,712,140 arrivals from January to June 2020, a decrease of 64.2 per cent compared to 4,782,587 excursionists who visited Malaysia in the same period last year.
The significant drop in the number of tourists and excursionists is attributed to the closure of international borders in response to COVID-19 virus spread. After the World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic on March 11, the Malaysian government imposed a Movement Control Order (MCO) barring entry of international tourists beginning March 18.
The effects of the pandemic on the tourism sector can be seen beyond the borders of Malaysia. According to data from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), negative growth in tourist arrivals is not unique to Malaysia, as neighbouring ASEAN member countries including Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia recorded similar decrease due to the ban on international travel imposed to combat the pandemic in the countries.