Malaysia is 10th on United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) list of most-visited countries.

The country recorded 25 million tourist arrivals in 2012. Out of the figure, 74% or 18.5 million tourists were from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) vice-president (inbound) Tan Kok Liang said the number of Asean tourists to Malaysia was expected to keep increasing.

This was due to the strong economic growth in the region, as well as the good working relationship among the Asean countries.

Thailand led this growth with a 16% increase in tourists over 2011, while Cambodia and Vietnam recorded double-digit growth in 2012, with 24% and 14% respectively.

Malaysia slipped one rung to 10th place on this year’s UNWTO list, with the Russian Federation overtaking it by recording 25.7 million tourist arrivals in 2012.

France still remains at the top with a whopping 83 million visitors, followed by the United States (67 million) and China (57.7 million).

Tan did not think the recent spate of shooting incidents would deter tourist arrivals, pointing out that they were not acts of terrorism such as school shootings in the United States.

“These are unfortunate cases of individuals being targeted. I hope it stops soon, but I think we should not sensationalise it,” he urged.

However, Malaysia was not in the top 10 spots for international tourism receipts.

It was led by the United States (US$126.2bil/RM407.8bil), Spain (US$55.9bil/RM180.6bil) and France (US$53.7bil/RM173.5).

Malaysia recorded US$20.25bil (RM65.44bil) in comparison.

Tan attributed this to Malaysia’s predominant market mix of Asean tourism arrivals compared to those from other parts of the world.

-The Star