May­bank IB up­beat on sec­tor as 2016 re­ceipts hit RM82.1b

New Straits Times - - Business - Farah Adilla

Malaysia’s tourism sec­tor ended last year on a bright note as tourism re­ceipts grew 19 per cent to RM82.1 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to May­bank In­vest­ment Bank Bhd (May­bank IB).

May­bank IB rec­om­mended a “buy” on the likes of Malaysia Air­ports Hold­ings Bhd, AirAsia Bhd, Gent­ing Malaysia Bhd and se­lected real es­tate in­vest­ment trusts.

The firm said last De­cem­ber vis­i­tor ar­rivals grew two per cent year-on-year to 2.6 mil­lion, bring­ing ar­rival growth to four per cent last year.

The largest per­cent­age growth in vis­i­tor ar­rivals in the month came from Brunei, which grew 39 per cent year-on-year, and China, which grew 25 per cent year-onyear.

It said Chi­nese tourist ar­rivals grew a strong 27 per cent yearon-year against four per cent in 2015.

“We un­der­stand that the growth in vis­i­tor ar­rivals from Brunei and Thai­land were due to the weaker ring­git against Brunei dol­lar and Thai baht while the growth in vis­i­tor ar­rivals from China was due to more Chi­nese pre­fer­ring to visit Malaysia after Thai­land banned low-cost tours in Septem­ber last year.

“We are bullish go­ing into 2017 given the weaker ring­git, cou­pled with on­go­ing pro­mo­tional ef­forts by the gov­ern­ment and air­lines,” said May­bank IB.

The bank said the Tourism and Cul­ture Min­istry had tar­geted a five per cent growth this year.

“Re­cent gov­ern­ment ef­forts to drive ar­rivals in­clude the Im­mi­gra­tion Depart­ment’s an­nounce­ment that it will open a visa pro­cess­ing cen­tre in Xi­a­men, China, this year and the waiver of visa re­quire­ments for In­dian na­tion­als re­sid­ing out­side In­dia.

“Tourism Malaysia re­cently an­nounced that it will set up an of­fice in Kolkata, In­dia, and may set up an­other in Amritsar.

“We also gather that China Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion will en­cour­age more tours to Malaysia after it dis­cour­aged tours to South Korea in re­tal­i­a­tion for the lat­ter de­ploy­ing the Ter­mi­nal High Al­ti­tude Area De­fence mis­sile sys­tem,” it said.

May­bank IB said ben­e­fi­cia­ries to higher tourist ar­rivals are the avi­a­tion (air­lines, air­port), hos­pi­tal­ity (ho­tels, theme parks, casino) and con­sumer (re­tail, food and bev­er­age) sec­tors.

PIC BY FARIZ ISWADI IS­MAIL

Chi­nese tourist ar­rivals grew a strong 27 per cent year-on-year last year, says May­bank IB.

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