(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia is targeting for tourist arrivals to surpass the pre-pandemic level next year amid better flight connectivity and higher potential visitors from China and India.
Tourism arrivals in 2024 “should be higher” than the 26.1 million foreign visitors seen in 2019, Tourism Malaysia Deputy Director General (Promotion) Musa Yusof said at a forum in Kuala Lumpur, although he did not reveal the exact projection.
The Southeast Asian country recently announced a 30-day visa-free entry for travelers from China and India starting Dec. 1, as it looks to boost tourism revenue. Malaysia has seen an upswing in visitors this year, prompting the government to revise its 2023 year-end tourism target to 19.1 million arrivals from 16.1 million.
READ: Malaysia Eyes Late Surge in Tourist Arrivals to Meet 2023 Target
Musa explained that Malaysia’s tourism targets does not take into account day-visitors who usually enter the country by land borders. It was reported earlier that Malaysia had recorded 26 million visitors this year through Nov. 15.
Tourism industries contributed 14% to the country’s gross domestic product in 2022, according to Bank Negara Malaysia, making them one of the largest contributors to the economy. Among the sub-sectors, health tourism is seeing a firm rebound to 2019 levels, said KPJ Healthcare Bhd. Chief Marketing Officer Sherene Azli.
Health-care tourism revenue is expected to hit 1.7 billion ringgit ($364 million) next year, similar to that in 2019, said Sherene, a former chief executive officer of Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council. Revenues are expected to grow double-digit every year after to cap 5 billion ringgit by 2030.
(Updates with details on tourism contribution to economy from fifth paragraph.)
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