KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia recorded 23.65 million tourist arrivals last year, higher than the 22.05 million arrivals in 2008 and the scaled-down target of 19 million set for last year due to the global economic downturn.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, in announcing the statistics, urged tourism industry players to sustain the performance by upgrading taxi services, providing better hotel rates, and improving attitude and reliability.
“We are really concerned because we still get complaints on taxis services, state products and cleanliness. We also need more new innovations in local products,” she told reporters after chairing a meeting of Tourism Malaysia directors, here.
Fourteen state directors attended the meeting, which was held to evaluate the activities of last year and discuss promotions and new programmes for 2010.
Dr Ng said the top 10 tourist-generating markets for Malaysia last year were Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei, China, India, Australia, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and Japan.
In terms of growth, the Iranian market registered the highest increase, with 60.9 per cent in 2009.
“This showed that 2009 was a very successful year in terms of our efforts in aggressively promoting Malaysia as one of the preferred holiday destinations in the region.
“The achievement is much more meaningful to us considering the many challenges and crises which we had to face throughout the year, such as the global economic crisis and the H1N1 outbreak,” she said.
In terms of accommodation, Ng advised hoteliers to relook their pricing to make it compatible to the services and facilities provided.
She said tourists these days were concerned about accommodation cost and the benefits they could get during their visits.
Dr Ng also said that the state tourism action councils were replaced with tourism departments as of Jan 1. – Bernama