ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Malaysian tourism reaps returns
"The ministry has, since 1990, been allocated a RM460 million annual budget but yet we have been seeing a steady increase in the number of tourist arrivals.
"Basically, for every RM1 we spent, we get back RM115," she said, asking sceptics to also look up statistics by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.
She said the ministry's annual budget was also used to finance the operations of its 44 offices worldwide.
Only tourist stay-overs of more than 24 hours were included as arrival statistics, she said, adding that it was just about a decade ago that the country recorded 10.2 million tourist arrivals before it doubled to 23.65 million last year.
The 2020 targets are 36 million arrivals and revenue of RM168 billion.
Malaysia, she noted, was one of only seven countries, among them, France, China and Korea, which recorded a spike in arrivals of 7.1 percent last year, while most other countries recorded a dip of about 7.1 per cent.
She also slammed her critics for claiming she had been bringing in "low quality" tourists instead of high-spenders, saying she would let the statistics speak for her.
"Please don't insult China which is one of our main sources of arrivals as these tourists spend like crazy here.
"You can check with all levels of the economy to see the impact of these tourists on them, from retailers to hoteliers.
"So check your facts before alleging that their arrival does little to our revenue," she said, adding that it was unfair to label Chinese tourists unfavourably as out of the one million who arrived here last year, only 153 ended up as over-stayers.
Malaysia, she said, was now also striving to increase its long-haul tourist arrivals, including those from Europe, Russia as well as New Zealand and Australia.
Currently, some 30 per cent of tourist arrivals were from long-haul destinations with the remaining 70 percent coming from Asia, she said after a press briefing on the promotion of Malaysia's parks and gardens to the international market at the Heritage Agriculture Park here, yesterday.
The briefing was held as a follow-up to her 10-day visit to Australia and New Zealand last month which came under opposition scrutiny in Parliament.
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