For a variety of reasons, Malaysia has emerged as one of the world’s top tourist destinations - in fact appearing in the top 10. Both the public and private sectors have contributed towards the success of a nation many people would choose to ignore as a major tourism power.
In 1998, Malaysia welcomed 5.5 million foreign tourists. 11 years later, the situation has changed and that figure is over 18 million higher, despite the challenges of the tourism industry in recent years. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) barometer, Malaysia jumped into the list of the top 10 world tourist destinations in 2009. This pleased Malaysian authorities very much particularly because tourism is the 2nd biggest foreign exchange earner in the country. So what is the reason behind this huge success story?
There is not one single reason and the Malaysian boom has to be explained by numerous factors. The most impressive aspect of Malaysia is the way it is able to offer a multitude of cultures in one go. The people of Malaysia are far from being uniform. The country is a mixture of religions, foods, colours and cultures. Whereas the huge metropolitan areas in western countries host different nations, which tend to adapt to local conditions, the Malaysian people have always preferred to remain the way they are.
A second factor is the availability of tours and flights. Flying to far away destinations has never been easy or cheap. Moreover, whilst many Southern European nations and other classic tourism giants suffer for various reasons, Malaysia is able to take advantage of wounded opponents. Improved visa conditions for many nations have meant that more people are able to get to Malaysia than ever before and with a lot less hassle.