KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — Latest official data showed local tourism boomed last year, as the number of Malaysians travelling rose and spending increased, just months before a deadly coronavirus outbreak sent the global economy plunging.
Domestic tourism expenditure rose 11 per cent to RM103 billion in 2019 compared to RM92.6 billion the previous year, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia’s (DOSM) figures released today.
The increase in domestic tourists had likely helped push the expenditure numbers up. DOSM said local travellers climbed 8.1 per cent to 239.1 million people compared to 221.3 million in 2018.
Trips made in that year saw a 9.9 per cent increase.
A third of the spending went to shopping while fuel and food each took 15 per cent of total expenditure, DOSM data showed.
Malaysia’s domestic expenditure continued to register a double-digit growth with 11.5% in 2019 to reach RM103.2 billion with a total of 239.1 million visitors. #StatsMalaysia#MyStatsDay#MyCensus2020#MenghitungMalaysia#DataAndaMasaDepanKita#PastikanAndaDibanci pic.twitter.com/pKTbuLhyn1— DOSM (@StatsMalaysia) June 30, 2020
Shopping was also among reasons driving people to travel, coming second after visiting friends and families.
The five top states with the most number of local visitors were Selangor, Perak, Kuala Lumpur, Sabah and Sarawak.
Selangor topped the list with 33 per cent of total visitors followed by the Federal Territories at 22.6 per cent. Sabah came in third at 22 per cent.
Tourism is among industries hardest-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, as travel and movement restrictions that lasted nearly three months since March took a heavy toll on profits.
Matta, the local tourism interest group, said the number of jobs lost could be staggering.
But the government had recently lifted its ban on interstate travel, spurring hope for local tourism to rebound.