Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/14/2014 -- BMI's Malaysia tourism report looks a range of key market indicators in this rapidly expanding tourism destination located in the booming Asia Pacific region. With the number of inbound and outbound travellers set to increase throughout our forecast period, we expect to see healthy growth in the hotel sector and solid gains in overall industry value by 2018.
Inbound arrivals to Malaysia saw little growth in 2011 and 2012, as many economies around the world continued to struggle to lift themselves out of economic recession in the wake of the global credit crunch. Moving forward a more positive picture emerges, with arrivals expected to increase by more than 5% per year over our forecast period as many major source markets return to growth. By 2018, therefore, we expect the number of annual arrivals to Malaysia to reach 34.4mn, a very healthy increase on the 2013 figure of 26.3mn. We expect the Asia Pacific region to continue to dominate inbound arrivals but also expect to see increases in arrivals from all regions.
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The outbound travel market from Malaysia also presents a valuable opportunity for potential developers and investors. Forecast GDP growth of around 4% per year is likely to boost individuals' ability to travel, and we expect the number of annual outbound travellers to reach 13.5mn in 2018, up from 10.2mn in 2013. As with inbound arrivals, the outbound travel market is dominated by Malaysia's neighbours in the Asia Pacific region, with Thailand, Indonesia and China receiving the most visitors.
Growth in the tourism market will be well supported by the Malaysian government, which has recognised the importance of tourism to the overall economy. The government has stated that it aims to attract 36mn visitors per year by 2020, and we believe the country is well on track to meet this ambitious target. Long-term growth in tourism will, however, necessitate the expansion and modernisation of the country's transport network, particularly in terms of domestic air travel connections across the South China Sea. Malaysia is increasingly becoming a hub for low-cost air travel in the Asia Pacific region, and improvement of the country's air transport facilities will enable Malaysia to take advantage of the potential for growth in regional travel, as well as allowing it to tap into potential new markets.
Malaysia offers developers an attractive investment environment, with a stable democratic political environment and long-term economic growth looking healthy; however, the government will need to address current obstacles to foreign direct investment if it is to reach its full potential.
- Recognising the potential of the market, many hotel groups are expanding in Malaysia. We expect to see an overall increase in the number of hotels in the country, to 3,130 properties in 2018.
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