Malaysia recorded an overall growth of 1.2% tourist arrivals for the first five months of this year, from 9,323,827 in 2011 to 9,438,592 in 2012.

Arrivals from the United States and Canada to Malaysia both saw a greater increase compared to the same period last year, 16.9% and 1.3%, respectively. Total receipts by tourists from January to May 2012, rose by 1.9%, generating USD6.89 billion (RM21.8 billion) for the country’s revenue.

Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen, the Tourism Minister, said that in line with the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan 2020, which aims to receive 36 million tourist arrivals and RM168 billion in receipts by 2020, it is important for Malaysia to shift its focus on growing yield per tourist rather than to rely heavily on tourist arrival growth.

Recognized as one of the national key economic areas, the tourism industry remains as one of the major contributors to gross national income, foreign exchange earnings and employment. In 2011, tourism ranked as the seventh largest contributor and the third largest foreign exchange earner. The tourism industry in 2010 provided 1.8 million jobs to the country.