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Tourism in Malaysia

Tourism in Malaysia

Malaysia recorded a total of 26 m tourists in 2019, ranking 22nd in the world in absolute terms.

Without including the size of a country, such a ranking list may not be very meaningful. By putting the tourist numbers in relation to the population of Malaysia, the result is much more comparable picture: With 0.81 tourists per resident, Malaysia ranked 77th in the world. In Southeast Asia, it ranked 2nd.

Malaysia generated around 22.20 bn US Dollar in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 6.6 percent of its the gross domestic product and approximately 16 percent of all international tourism receipts in Southeast Asia.

A global comparison can be found here › International tourism


Back to overview: Malaysia


Most popular destinations in Malaysia

No less than 3 cities in Malaysia are among the top 100 most popular destinations worldwide. In 2019 Kuala Lumpur reached the 10th place with 14.07 m tourists. According to Euromonitor, all foreign tourists with at least one overnight stay were counted.

CityTouristsRankChange
Kuala Lumpur14,072,400#10+4.8%
Johor Bahru7,227,400#35+13.0%
Penang Island3,705,200#64+7.8%


Tourism in MalaysiaOn average, each of the tourists arriving in 2019 spent about 745 US Dollars.

Development of the tourism sector in Malaysia from 1995 to 2019

The following chart shows the number of tourist arrivals registered in Malaysia each year. Anyone who spends at least one night in the country but does not live there for more than 12 months is considered a tourist. Insofar as the survey included the purpose of the trip, business trips and other non-tourism travel purposes have already been excluded. The number of people passing through within the same day, and e.g. crew members of ships or flights are also not considered as tourists in most countries. If the same person travels in and out more than once within the same year, each visit counts again.

Data in the chart are given in millions of tourists. The red line represents the average of all 11 countries in Southeast Asia.

Tourists per year in Malaysia

Revenues in tourism

In 1995, tourism revenues amounted to 5.04 bn USD, or about 5.7 percent of the gross national product. This corresponded to about 7.47 m tourists at that time and roughly 675 USD per person. Within 24 years, the country's dependence on tourism has increased slightly. In the last year of the survey, the revenue now amounts to 22.20 bn USD, accounting for 6.1 percent of the gross national product. Each visitor now spends an average of 851 USD for his holiday in Malaysia.

Tourism receipts in Malaysia per year

All data for Malaysia in detail

YearNumberof touristsReceipts% of GNPIncome per tourist
201926.10 m22.20 bn $6.1 %851 $
201825.83 m21.78 bn $6.1 %843 $
201725.95 m20.31 bn $6.4 %783 $
201626.76 m19.68 bn $6.5 %736 $
201525.72 m19.19 bn $6.4 %746 $
201427.44 m24.47 bn $7.2 %892 $
201325.72 m23.28 bn $7.2 %905 $
201225.03 m21.71 bn $6.9 %867 $
201124.71 m21.34 bn $7.2 %863 $
201024.58 m19.62 bn $7.7 %798 $
200923.65 m17.23 bn $8.5 %729 $
200822.05 m18.55 bn $8.0 %841 $
200720.97 m17.95 bn $9.3 %856 $
200617.55 m12.28 bn $7.5 %700 $
200516.43 m10.39 bn $7.2 %632 $
200415.70 m9.18 bn $7.4 %585 $
200310.58 m6.80 bn $6.2 %643 $
200213.29 m8.08 bn $8.0 %608 $
200112.78 m7.63 bn $8.2 %597 $
200010.22 m5.87 bn $6.3 %575 $
19997.93 m4.40 bn $5.6 %555 $
19985.55 m3.24 bn $4.5 %583 $
19976.21 m4.93 bn $4.9 %793 $
19967.14 m5.73 bn $5.7 %803 $
19957.47 m5.04 bn $5.7 %675 $


All data correspond to the information of the World Tourism Organization.

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