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GDP constant prices are now expressed in 2015 prices
Malaysia’s economy contracted 5.6 per cent in 2020

Tourism Satellite Account 2020

Release Date : Thursday 23, September 2021 1200


Tourism receipts registered a fall of 71.2 per cent recording RM52.4 billion in 2020

Exhibit 1: Global tourist arrivals 


The world faced an unprecedented health, social and economic emergency as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Tourism was among the most affected sector due to disruptions in demand as a result of travel restrictions and the closure of the international borders by most countries.

Based on the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the number of tourist arrivals worldwide recorded in 2020 was 399 million people compared to 1.47 billion people in 2019. The reduction of more than 1 billion tourists registered a decrease of 74.0 per cent (Exhibit 1). This situation is similar to the record number of tourist arrivals in the last 30 years. 

The ASEAN region was also affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. All countries in the region posted negative double-digit growth in the number of tourist arrivals. Singapore showed a declining growth of 85.7 per cent followed by Malaysia and Thailand which decreased by 83.4 per cent and 83.2 per cent respectively (Exhibit 2).


Exhibit 2: Tourist arrivals in selected ASEAN countries

The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic had resulted in a decrease of 83.4 per cent of inbound tourists in 2020 as shown in Chart 1. The number of tourist arrivals recorded only 4.3 million people compared to 26.1 million people in the previous year. The fall was the worst ever recorded in the country's tourism history, though Malaysia experienced a plummeted of 20.4 per cent in 2003 due to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Chart 1: Tourist arrivals in Malaysia, 1991-2020

Exhibit 3: GVATI – Value, annual percentage change and percentage share


In 2020, Gross Value Added of Tourism Industries (GVATI) amounted to RM199.4 billion, contributing 14.1 per cent to GDP (2019: 15.9%) as shown in Exhibit 3. For the first time since the TSA compilation in 2005, the GVATI experienced a drop of  17.1 per cent.

Based on the growth performance between the tourism sub-sectors, all industries have decreased double-digit growth, mainly in travel agencies (-66.7%) and accommodation services (-54.6%).

Retail trade remained as the major contributor to the tourism industry (53.2%). This was followed by food and beverage serving services (18.0%) and country-specific tourism services (14.4%).

Internal tourism consumption comprises inbound tourism expenditure and domestic tourism expenditure. A total of RM52.4 billion of internal tourism consumption was generated in 2020 (2019: RM182.1 billion). The disruption in demand caused overall internal tourism consumption in 2020 to decline by 71.2 per cent compared to a growth of 6.8 per cent in the previous year. Inbound tourism expenditure was hit hard by recording a plunge of 84.6 per cent while domestic tourism experienced a drop of 58.3 per cent.

However, domestic tourism showed a significant role in generating tourism performance in Malaysia by contributing 73.8 per cent to the internal tourism consumption.

Chart 2: Internal tourism consumption – value and annual percentage change

Exhibit 4: Employment in tourism industry - value and annual percentage change




The tourism industry in 2020 marked 3.5 million employed person and has contributed 23.1 per cent to the total employment in Malaysia. The employment growth of this industry has contracted by 2.9 per cent (Exhibit 4).

The full publication of Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) of Malaysia for the year 2020 can be downloaded through eStatistik portal.

Released By:

 DrUzir_Mahidin    Dr_Uzir

23 September 2021


Contact person:

Mohd Yusrizal Ab Razak 
Public Relation Officer
Strategic Communication and International Division
Department of Statistics, Malaysia
Tel : +603-8885 7942
Fax : +603-8888 9248
Email : yusrizal.razak[at]dosm.gov.my

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