KUALA LUMPUR－Chinese tourists who have been the key growth driver across Southeast Asia over the past decade will continue to support Malaysia's tourism growth, says a Malaysian research house.
Maybank Kim Eng says in a report released last week that it expects more Chinese to visit Malaysia.
As Chinese visitors spend more than any other major source of visitors, the research house believes more inbound Chinese visitors this year will moderate the adverse impact of fewer Singaporean visitors on the Malaysian tourism industry.
Although Malaysia's overall tourist arrivals dipped 0.4 percent year-on-year to 25.83 million last year, Chinese inbound tourists surged 29 percent to 2.94 million.
While Malaysia's tourism receipts rose 2.44 percent year-on-year to 84.1 billion ringgit ($20.3 billion), Chinese tourist expenditure surged 35.9 percent to 12.3 billion ringgit.
"The improving tourism receipts are partially due to more Chinese visitors to Malaysia," says Maybank Kim Eng, adding that the average Chinese visitor to Malaysia spent 4,200 ringgit last year, more than any other major sources of visitors.
The research house also sees room for growth as the average Chinese visitor to Thailand spends 65 percent more than they spend in Malaysia.
The report also notes that China is currently the world's top tourism spender, spending more than the United States and Germany combined.
Chinese tourists have been the key growth driver across Southeast Asia over the past decade, with Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore becoming the most popular destinations for China tourists.