PETALING JAYA: Spending by domestic tourists dropped 54.5% to a record low of RM18.4 billion last year from 2020 figures, according to the Domestic Tourism Survey (DTS) 2021.
When compared with pre-pandemic levels, it represented an 82.2% decrease, while the domestic arrivals of 66 million visitors were almost half of that recorded in the previous year.
In a statement issued today, chief statistician Uzir Mahidin said that Selangor emerged as the top vacation destination with 10.2 million visitors, followed by Kuala Lumpur at 9.1 million and Sarawak at 6.5 million domestic visitors.
Bucking the previous years’ trend, shopping remained the most popular reason for domestic visitor travel, followed by visiting relatives and friends. However inter-district and interstate restrictions hampered travel growth in 2021.
Uzir also revealed an upward trend in travel for medical treatment and entertainment or for attending special events such as sports, which increased 10.3% and 5.4%, respectively.
Shopping accounted for the lion’s share of the tourists spending at 50.3%, followed by food and beverage registering 15.1% and automotive fuel making up 11.1%. All three segments’ contributions were lower than the previous year’s.
Uzir believes that Malaysia’s transition to the endemic phase is likely to contribute to the recovery and growth of its tourism industry in 2022 led by the domestic sector.