Visit Malaysia Year 2020


In the recent Malaysia Budget 2018 announcement on 27th October, the prime minister had officially mentioned that Visit Malaysia Year 2020 was approved and on track for the tourism development of the country. 

With the Budget 2018 news, an infrastructure development fund was allocated with 1 Billion Ringgit Malaysia (US$235 Billion) to prepare for Visit Malaysia Year 2020. This was a huge amount of money being invested into the tourism sector of Malaysia.

Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VMY2020)

For the vision of Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VMY2020), the tourism promotions and development fund of RM500 Million (US$117 Million) was allocated under the Budget 2018. This brings good news to industry players all over the country.

Also in the works was the expansion of the regional eVisa hub to make entry and exit smoother for visitors to Malaysia. Currently, the eVisa program is available online where an application platform enables foreign nationals to apply for an electronic visa to enter Malaysia at the comfort of your convenience.

VMY 2020
Some of the spectacular sunsets seen around Malaysia. This one taken at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo
For the hoteliers news, tax incentives for new 4 & 5 star hotel investments have been extended by 2 years. And for tourism industry players, the inclusion of income tax exemption is now extended to 31 December 2020. 

As this news is still fresh off the press, there are no other guidelines available on the Visit Malaysia Year 2020. The numbers should be released probably in 2018. 

In 2017, the target set by the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia for visitors to Malaysia in 2017 is 31 Million visitors with tourist receipts of RM114 Billion (US$26.8 Billion). 

In 2016, Malaysia achieved 26.8 Million visitors with a total of RM82.1 Billion (US$19.1 Billion) in receipts.

2020 Visit Malaysia Year
National Parks not only feature rainforest but also incredible sea stacks like this in Bako, Sarawak
New Tourism Products For Malaysia

In 2018, we can see quite a number of new tourism products for Malaysia being launched. One of the most talked about is the 20th Century Fox World Theme Park in Genting, which is the first of its kind in the world. This alone will easily contribute to millions of visitors when it opens its doors in early 2018. 

Another massive tourism project is also the Desaru Coast project which will open in 2018 in the south east of Johor. At this integrated project, the Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark will be one of the highlights here. It is touted to be one of the most modern and largest water parks in the region. 

Other contributing factors at Desaru Coast are four world class hotels and resorts that are opening, 2 world class golf courses and a lifestyle and entertainment area called Desaru Coast Riverside. 

Other massive tourism projects include a Jurassic World, Sea World, Ubisoft Theme Park and Langkawi Eco Theme Park which are all in the planning and scheduled to open by 2020. However, nothing solid has come up as these are just news.

Rainforest in Malaysia
There is so much natural rainforest and national parks all over Malaysia
Natural Tourism Resources in Malaysia

While Malaysia is rich with natural tourism sources, I truly hope that the tourism ministry will re-look into promoting nature, outdoors and adventure tourism as there are so many national parks in Malaysia, both Peninsular and also in Sabah and Sarawak. 

I understand that a majority of tourist want popular tourism spots like the Petronas Twin Towers, Putrajaya, Shopping, Batu Caves and so on, but these are the short stay tourist which only provide numbers.

Malaysia was once known as a nature, adventure and eco tourism destination as we have so much natural resources and tourism spots. Our national parks are some of the best in the world and also one of the oldest in the world. 

These natural tourism places provide adventure, trekking, hiking, climbing, wildlife watching and even bird watching tourism, which can contribute well to the receipts, if managed and promoted well. 

Even for scuba diving tourism, we have some of the best diving spots in the region, and Sipadan Island is one of the top three dive sites in the world. When wrongly promoted, agents will mass-sell beautiful destination to fast turn around tourist, and this results in turning away the quality longer staying tourist. Trust me, I have seen this happen at some of the islands in Malaysia.

Malaysia Commercial Tourism
Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, one of the most popular commercial tourism spots in Malaysia
Commercial Tourism Places in Malaysia

While cross border tourism is the biggest contributor to the tourism arrivals in Malaysia, the rest of the percentage goes to the commercial man made tourism products. These are usually the shopping malls, theme parks, structures and so on. 

As these places are fully tapped by most travel agents, some of the other agents could spend focus on other places of interest. And yes, the not so commercial places are lacking in infrastructure and so on. But perhaps the new tourism fund from the Budget 2018 will be allocated to this?

Malaysia River Cruises
River Cruises are one of the natural Eco Tourism products that can be further promoted
Non-Commercial tourism Places in Malaysia

On a personal note, I would like to see the ministry of tourism pay additional attention to nature, wildlife, outdoors, trekking, hiking and other non-commercialized tourism products. Even tough they do not generate massive tourism numbers, it would provide an alternate to the genuine tourist who want to see the real Malaysia. 

As an active travel writer since 2008, I have personally visited and seen many interesting places that would be appealing towards tourist who want to experience something different. However, speaking to the relevant tourism boards, there are always too many red tape issues in developing some of these interesting places. 

I have also been actively scuba diving and bird watching around Malaysia, and see this as one of the potential tourism products that could put Malaysia on the world tourism map. Again, niche genres like bird watching and scuba diving need more publicity and awareness and also funding to improve the infrastructure of these places. 

Malaysia Birding
Bird Watching is one of the high yield tourism products that can be developed
More To Come...

Since the new of this just came out in late October 2017, there will be more to come from me about Visit Malaysia 2020. There is at least two full years to go before the VMY2020 campaign takes off, and 2019 will be the crucial year for the marketing and promotions. 

The article here is written by me with my own personal views while they may differ from others. As a tourism and travel writer over the last 10 years, I have worked hand in hand with Tourism Malaysia, Sabah Tourism Board, Sarawak Tourism Board and even Tourism Selangor in the early years too. 

Currently, Tourism Malaysia Familiarization trips or Media Fam are not doing the correct job due to non-experience personnel organising them. If you keep calling your friends or bloggers who have no experience or ethics, we will never grow our online or digital industry in promoting Malaysia. 

For now, this is just the start of VMY2020 and I will be back with updates on Visit Malaysia Year 2020 whenever I get more information. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.