Tourist Arrivals To Malaysia

Tourist Arrival Statistics To Malaysia

As interesting as it is, these are the tourist arrivals to Malaysia for those interested to know the statistics. The numbers are taken from the Tourism Malaysia statistics and show the tourist arrivals to Malaysia since the year 2005 till 2016.

In 2016, Tourism Malaysia targeted a total of 30.5 million visitors to Malaysia but due to the fall of the Malaysian Ringgit and many other contributing factors, the Tourism Minister had announced that the numbers had dropped drastically to 22 million visitors.

The actual numbers have been sourced from the MyTourismData Portal.

Malaysia Tourist Arrivals

Currently, for 2017, a target of 31.8 million visitors to Malaysia is set and the theme 'Malaysia Truly Asia', will continue to be used to promote Malaysia.

This was mentioned by the Tourism Minister to Malaysia, Dato' Seri Mohd. Nazri during an interview with the media in early January.

*Update April 2017 - The Tourism Minister had confirmed that the total tourism visitors to Malaysia in 2016 was 26,757,392 tourists with tourist receipts of RM82.1 billion.

2016 Tourism Arrivals Malaysia
A visitor to Malaysia at the international airport
Tourist Arrivals to Malaysia from 2005 to 2016
  • Tourist Arrivals to Malaysia 2016 - 22,056,417 26,757,392 Visitors (April 2017 update)
  • Tourist Arrivals to Malaysia 2015 - 25.72 Million Visitors 
  • Tourist Arrivals to Malaysia 2014 - 27.44 Million Visitors 
  • Tourist Arrivals to Malaysia 2013 - 25.72 Million Visitors
  • Tourist Arrivals to Malaysia 2012 - 25.03 Million Visitors
  • Tourist Arrivals to Malaysia 2011 - 24.71 Million Visitors
  • Tourist Arrivals to Malaysia 2010 - 24.58 Million Visitors
  • Tourist Arrivals to Malaysia 2009 - 23.65 Million Visitors
  • Tourist Arrivals to Malaysia 2008 - 22.05 Million Visitors
  • Tourist Arrivals to Malaysia 2007 - 20.97 Million Visitors
  • Tourist Arrivals to Malaysia 2006 - 17.55 Million Visitors
  • Tourist Arrivals to Malaysia 2005 - 16.43 Million Visitors
Top 10 Countries Visiting Malaysia 2016

Based on the previous year of 2015, there was only the United Kingdom replaced Australia. The top 10 countries that generated tourist to Malaysia in 2016 was;
  • Singapore (6,596,452)
  • Indonesia (1,378,699)
  • China (992,463)
  • Thailand (864,453)
  • Brunei (637,369)
  • India (359,853)
  • South Korea (228,023)
  • The Philippines (220,163)
  • United Kingdom (206,313)
  • Japan (198,693)
Update April 2017 - Tourism Minister has confirmed that for 2016, a total of 2,124,942 visitors from China had visited Malaysia.

Top 10 Countries Visiting Malaysia 2015

For the Tourism arrivals to Malaysia in 2015, the number dipped slightly compared to Visit Malaysia Year 2014 where 27.4 million visitors came, versus 25.7 million in 2015.

Out of that, the breakdown of countries is;
  • Singapore (12,930,754)
  • Indonesia (2,788,033)
  • China (1,677,163)
  • Thailand (1,343,569)
  • Brunei (1,133,555)
  • India (722,141)
  • The Philippines (554,917)
  • Australia (486,948)
  • Japan (483,569)
  • South Korea (421,161)
Malaysia Tourism Arrivals
Tourist visiting Malaysia
Average Length Of Stay For Tourist In Malaysia

Over the years, the length of stay in Malaysia has dropped, compared to ten years ago where tourists used to spend from 7 to 10 days.

And in the year 2013, it dropped to about 6.8 days. In 2015, the length of stay for tourists in Malaysia dropped to 5.5 nights.

For the future, the Malaysian Tourism Minister said that Malaysia had set a target of 36 million tourist arrivals into the country and RM168 billion in receipts by the year 2020.

Again, this all depends on how the ministry is going to promote the country. Right now, the currency is at an all-time low, but nothing much is being done to capitalize on this.

Yes, there have been news reports on the minister saying that tourists should visit Malaysia now due to the low currency here. That is all.

For the original numbers of tourism arrivals to Malaysia and more, you can also visit the Tourism Malaysia website for the statistics.

Malaysia Tourism Arrivals
Tourism Arrivals to Malaysia in 2015
So, are we doing the right or wrong thing?

While the current generation of travellers is onto social media, many other countries have taken advantage of using social media as one of the main platforms to promote tourism.

However, for Malaysia, it has been pretty slow in catching up in this area. Why I say this is that when I participated in neighbouring countries FAM trips, social media campaigns and trips were created specifically for travel influencers to flood the social media channels with photos and information on the trips.

In Malaysia's case, nothing has changed since five years ago. The ministry has engaged an advertising agency, which has no proper knowledge of tourism trends but because it is all about protocol and many other red tape issues.

The agency just hires an in-house team to manage the tourism social media accounts. Let me just say that the people running these accounts have never been to many of the places they promote for Malaysia, so how does this justify when consumers or would-be visitors ask questions, especially if it is in-depth?

For example, if someone asked the Tourism Malaysia Twitter account this interesting question - "Where can I go in Sarawak to see some original or pure Sarawakian ethnic lifestyle?"

Do you think they could answer this immediately? Or leave it hanging or even get back after consulting with the client?

Technically, I could answer questions like that, all because I have travelled to Malaysia pretty extensively. Therefore, this is just one of the examples.

What is the point of just showing nice photos of Malaysia without any proper information? This goes to show why we lack in so many areas, that could be actually done properly and generate more interest online for Malaysia.

Tourist Visiting Malaysia
Tourist in Malaysia
Perhaps, with Tourism Malaysia closing offices nationwide in January 2017, this could be the start of something new.

I would also suggest that the ministry re-look the digital advertising agency's role in promoting Malaysia as they lack the experience in tourism social media.

After all, when the travel community is very active online, we should be taking advantage of it, the right way, not the Malaysian way.

The directives and approach should be looked into to keep the numbers growing to attract more tourist arrivals to Malaysia, not just the Chinese tourist.


Having said this, I am just a travel writer who was once aggressively promoting Malaysia from 2008 to 2014 online and have been in communication with the tourism officials during that time, which I learned much of why things are the way they are.

Over the years, I have also observed and monitored numerous tourism campaigns, decisions and strategies that were supposed to put Malaysia back on the tourism map of the world, but Malaysia being Malaysia, we only seem to look at what's in trend.

Meaning if the Chinese were travelling, we would drop everything and just focus on that particular market with an ambition to increase the tourist arrivals to Malaysia. Well, I can only hope for the best in this kind of strategy.