Tourism in Malaysia

Tourism in Malaysia

Malaysia recorded a total of 26 million tourists in 2018, ranking 15th 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 66th in the world. In Southeast Asia, it ranked 2nd.

Malaysia generated around 21.77 billion US Dollar in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 6.0 percent of its the gross domestic product and approximately 14 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 2018 Kuala Lumpur reached the 9th place with 13.43 million tourists. According to Euromonitor all tourists with at least one overnight stay were counted.

Kuala Lumpur13,434,300#9
Johor Bahru6,396,000#38
Penang Island3,437,100#65

On average, each of the tourists arriving in 2018 spent about 753 US Dollars.

Development of the tourism sector in Malaysia from 1995 to 2018

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 billion USD, or about 5.7 percent of the gross national product. This corresponded to about 7.47 million tourists at that time and roughly 675 USD per person. Within 23 years, the country's dependence on tourism has increased slightly. In the last year of the survey, the revenue now amounts to 21.77 billion USD, accounting for 6.1 percent of the gross national product. Each visitor now spends an average of 843 USD for his holiday in Malaysia.

Tourism receipts in Malaysia per year

All data for Malaysia in detail

YearNumber of touristsReceipts% of GNPReceipts per tourist
19957.47 m5.04 bn $5.7 %675 $
19967.14 m5.73 bn $5.7 %803 $
19976.21 m4.93 bn $4.9 %793 $
19985.55 m3.24 bn $4.5 %583 $
19997.93 m4.40 bn $5.6 %555 $
200010.22 m5.87 bn $6.3 %575 $
200112.78 m7.63 bn $8.2 %597 $
200213.29 m8.08 bn $8.0 %608 $
200310.58 m6.80 bn $6.2 %643 $
200415.70 m9.18 bn $7.4 %585 $
200516.43 m10.39 bn $7.2 %632 $
200617.55 m12.28 bn $7.5 %700 $
200720.97 m17.95 bn $9.3 %856 $
200822.05 m18.55 bn $8.0 %841 $
200923.65 m17.23 bn $8.5 %729 $
201024.58 m19.62 bn $7.7 %798 $
201124.71 m21.34 bn $7.2 %863 $
201225.03 m21.71 bn $6.9 %867 $
201325.72 m23.28 bn $7.2 %905 $
201427.44 m24.47 bn $7.2 %892 $
201525.72 m19.19 bn $6.4 %746 $
201626.76 m19.68 bn $6.5 %736 $
201725.95 m20.31 bn $6.4 %783 $
201825.83 m21.77 bn $6.1 %843 $

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

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