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Tourist arrivals projected to soar to 27 million, surpassing pre-Covid-19 level
Published on: Wednesday, April 03, 2024
By: Bernama
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Tourist arrivals projected to soar to 27 million, surpassing pre-Covid-19 level
Capital A Bhd, AirAsia’s parent company, plans to bring back 202 aircraft, aiming for 83% pre-pandemic capacity by year end. (AirAsia pic)
Kuala Lumpur: Tourist arrivals in Malaysia are expected to soar to 27 million this year, representing a 35% increase from last year, surpassing the pre-pandemic level of 26.1 million in 2019, said Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd (Kenanga IB).

The research house said the growth will be driven by higher demand for both business and leisure air travel, consistent with Tourism Malaysia’s target of 27.3 million this year.

A significant contributing factor is the influx of Chinese tourists, traditionally constituting approximately 12% of the total tourist arrivals in Malaysia.

Additionally, the growth will also be driven by the implementation of the 30-day visa-free arrangement for Chinese and Indian visitors to Malaysia, which commenced in December 2023.

China has also reciprocated by granting inbound visitors from Malaysia 15 visa-free days for travels between Dec 1, 2023, and Nov 30, 2024, the investment bank said in its research note today.

Kenanga IB also forecasts the airport’s system-wide passenger throughput to rise by 7% to 131 million this year.

The resurgence in passenger numbers and connectivity is expected to be driven by the introduction of new airlines and services at key airports, including the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Penang, Kota Kinabalu and Langkawi.

Meanwhile, it also foresees that Capital A Bhd — AirAsia’s parent company — will see an increase in passenger demand, paving the way for its system-wide revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) to grow 20% to an estimated 70 billion this year.

Kenanga IB highlighted that Capital A aims to reactivate 202 aircraft available for operation and capacity to reach 83% of pre-Covid-19 level by the end of this year.

“In addition to fleet reactivation, it expects further upside from the current high yield environment, underpinned by the robust demand with forward bookings in February and March at 91% and 49%, respectively.

“It plans to launch more than 60 new routes across the group, expanding in China and India, and start AirAsia Cambodia operations by mid-2024,” the research firm added.

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