The Tourism Industry in Malaysia

Topics: Tourism, World Tourism Organization, Sustainable tourism Pages: 14 (4000 words) Published: November 9, 2008

Malaysia has long been one of the world’s best kept tourism secrets. It is an ideal tourism destination in so many different respects as it offers a wide range of diverse attraction to suit all tastes and most importantly, at relatively affordable prices.

Figure 1: Map of Malaysia

Lying just north of the equator, Malaysia is located at the south of Cambodia and Vietnam and north of Singapore and Indonesia. More than one thousand islands are part of Malaysia with some 38 designated as marine parks. Parts of the primeval rainforest are more than 100 million years old with a dazzling selection of birds and wildlife.

Malaysia has superb golden beaches, lush vegetation, mountains and fabulous shopping allied to some magnificent hotels. This has made the country the fastest growing destination in South East Asia. The mix of the ancient and the ultra-modern make Malaysia a fascinating place to visit, while the low cost of living and huge visitor choice makes it an ideal holiday location.

Malaysia has a tropical climate throughout the year, enjoying warm days and mild evenings in all seasons. English is widely spoken in Malaysia, although the national language is Malay. In addition, the country also offers a fascinating cultural mix with colorful festivals, unique arts and crafts, architecture, food and a rich array of dance forms.

Malaysia is ideally placed to take advantage of its increased interest in the tourism industry, especially ecotourism segment, as it possesses a wide variety of natural land and marine habitats, spectacular wildlife, diverse indigenous ethnic groups and cultures, and a rich history. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) stated that that the future prospects for Travel & Tourism industry of Malaysia are good. There is a widespread recognition of its contribution to the national economy, and the Malaysian Government at its highest level is fully committed to the long-term development of the industry.

The objective of this assignment is to examine the impacts that tourism could bring to the country of Malaysia. These impacts are categorized into economical impacts, environmental impacts, political impacts, and also socio-cultural impacts. Malaysia is chosen as a research target because Malaysia’s tourism is at a developing stage and it would be important to figure out what impacts stem from tourism that the country has to deal with. Lastly, a number of recommendations as to the future of Malaysia are presented.


Tourism was virtually unknown in Malaysia until the late-1960s. Since then it has developed into a major sector of the economy. In 1980, Malaysia attracted a fairly modest 2.3 million international tourist arrivals. Ten years later, the total had more than tripled and the country appeared to be firmly established on the world tourism map.

Tourism industry of Malaysia is one of the most important sectors contributing to the economy and is the second largest foreign exchange earner after the manufacturing industry. The country considers tourism as a generation of foreign exchange, increasing employment, fostering regional/ rural development and diversifying the country’s economic base.

Travel & Tourism is seen by the government as one of the keys to promoting a greater understanding of the various cultures and lifestyles of Malaysia’s multi-ethnic population.

Employment Generation
The rapid expansion of international tourism has led to significant employment creation. The employment categories of the Travel and Tourism Economy of Malaysia include: -Travel companies employment;

-Government agencies employment; and
-Supplier companies employment
The first category (Travel companies employment) represents Travel and Tourism Industry jobs, while all three categories represent Travel and Tourism Economy jobs.

Figure 2: Malaysia Travel & Tourism Employment
Sources: World Travel & Tourism...

Bibliography: 9th Malaysian Plan (2006), Chapter 8 – Realizing Tourism Potential. Available at: (Accessed: 1 December 2006)
CIA (2006) ‘The World Fact Book – Malaysia’
‘GoQuo’s ‘Spectacular Success’ At WTM 06’, Travel Weekly. [Online]. Available at: www.TRAVEL WEEKLY-PR Leap GOQUO’S ‘SPECTACULAR SUCCESS’ AT WTM 06.htm. (Accessed: 1 December 2006).
Lim, Li Ching (1998), Carrying Capacity Assessment of Pulau Payar Marine Park, Malaysia – Bay of Bengal Programme. Available at: (Accessed: 13 December 2006).
Malang, J. (2001) ‘Local Change of Behavior Towards Tourism in Mulu National Park’, Malaysia. Available at: (Accessed: 20 November 2006).
Mohamed, Badaruddin (2002), The Development of Ecotourism in Malaysia – Is It Really Sustainable?.
Ngai, Weng Chan (1998), ‘Responding to landslide hazards in rapidly developing Malaysia: a case of economics versus environmental protection’.
Rodger, Christopher (2005), A Case Study of Ecotourism in the Kelabit Highlands.
UNEP (2001) ‘Economic Impacts of Tourism’
Welcome to Malaysia Truly Asia. Available at: (Accessed: 1 December 2006).
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