With an average annual growth rate of 11.2% over the past twelve years, tourism has been integral to the economy of Malaysia. It is the country’s third-highest foreign exchange earner, following manufacturing and palm oil, with far-reaching impacts on the country’s economic, social, and cultural development.
It has created new employment and expanded related industries, particularly hospitality, food, and transportation. The tourism industry has also contributed to the enrichment and greater appreciation of the local traditional arts and performances, lifestyles, and architecture which in turn lead to the growth of local trades and businesses related to cultural products.
The rapid growth of the tourism industry in Malaysia is evident in the steady increase in tourist arrival and tourist receipt. Recent statistics from Tourism Malaysia recorded steady growth in tourist arrival from 25.7 million in 2013 to 27.4 million in 2014 before dropping slightly to 25.72 million in 2015 (Malaysia Tourism, 2019). The industry then made a quick recovery in tourist arrival, increasing to 26.8 billion in 2016.