Selangor Journal
Malaysia Airlines airplanes are pictured on the haze-shrouded tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, on September 18, 2019. — Picture by REUTERS

Malaysia projected to welcome 27 mln tourists this year, says research house

KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — Tourist arrivals in Malaysia are expected to soar to 27 million this year, representing a 35 per cent increase from last year, surpassing the pre-pandemic level of 26.1 million in 2019, said Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd (Kenanga IB).

The research house said the growth will be driven by higher demand for both business and leisure air travel, consistent with Tourism Malaysia’s target of 27.3 million this year.

A significant contributing factor is the influx of Chinese tourists, traditionally constituting approximately 12 per cent of the total tourist arrivals in Malaysia.

Additionally, the growth will also be driven by the implementation of the 30-day visa-free arrangement for Chinese and Indian visitors to Malaysia, which commenced in December 2023.

China has reciprocated by granting inbound visitors from Malaysia 15 visa-free days for travels between December 1, 2023 and November 30, 2024, the investment bank said in its research note today.

Kenanga IB also forecasts the airport’s system-wide passenger throughput to rise by 7.0 per cent to 131 million this year.

The resurgence in passenger numbers and connectivity is expected to be driven by the introduction of new airlines and services at key airports, including the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Penang, Kota Kinabalu and Langkawi.

Meanwhile, it also foresees Capital A Bhd — AirAsia’s parent company — to see passenger demand increase, paving the way for its system-wide revenue passenger kilometre to grow 20 per cent to an estimated 70 billion this year.

Kenanga IB highlighted that Capital A aims to re-activate 202 aircraft available for operation and capacity to reach 83 per cent of pre-Covid level by the end of this year.

“In addition to fleet re-activation, it expects further upside from the current high yield environment, underpinned by the robust demand with forward bookings in February and March at 91 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively.

“It plans to launch more than 60 new routes across the group, expanding in China and India, and start AirAsia Cambodia operations by the mid-2024,” the research firm added.

— Bernama

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