By Massita Ahmad
SINGAPORE, Oct 9 (NNN-BERNAMA) — Tourism Malaysia which launched the official Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign in Singapore on Tuesday, is aiming for more than 12 million tourist arrivals from the republic next year.
Tourism Malaysia is also optimistic of an increase of three to five per cent tourist arrivals from the southern neighbour for the whole of 2019.
According to the Director of Tourism Malaysia Singapore, Edzuar Zar Ayob Azari, for this year, Tourism Malaysia expects 12 million tourist arrivals from the city-state.
“Going by the current trend, we will witness a rise of between three to four per cent in tourist arrivals from Singapore this year compared to 2018, he told Bernama when met on the sidelines of the VM2020 launch.
The VM2020 campaign here was launched by Malaysia’s High Commissioner to Singapore, Datuk Zainol Rahim Zainuddin, together with Senior Deputy Director, International Promotion Division (Southeast Asia) of Tourism Malaysia, Azilina Azni Zainal Abidin.
“We are also targeting a rise of three per cent to 12 million tourist arrivals from Singapore to Malaysia next year,” said Edzuar.
For the first half of 2019, Singaporeans were the top international tourist arrivals to Malaysia at 5,381,566 alongside the the highest receipts of RM11.56 billion.
Singaporean arrivals, however, fell 14.7 per cent to 10.62 million in 2018 compared with 2017 due to among other reasons, traffic congestion on the Johor-Singapore Causeway and changing travel trends among Singaporeans.
Edzuar hoped that initiatives by a special committee chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad can help ease congestion on the Johor Causeway, as this could lure more tourist arrivals from Singapore.
During its first meeting held on Aug 21, the committee said among others, Malaysia will look into widening and lengthening the Causeway and expanding the checkpoint complex to tackle the heavy congestion at the link between Johor and Singapore.