Marriott International Inc, which signed a landmark agreement with YTL Corp Bhd’s YTL Hotels to bring the AC Hotels by Marriott brand to Malaysia last week, is looking for more opportunities to expand and is bullish on prospects here.
Its president and managing director for Asia Pacific, Craig Smith told NST Property that the group has 30 properties in the pipeline that will open over the next three years, either in resort markets or iconic cities.
“They include signed hotel deals that are happening and other hotels we are negotiating with. Some are new hotels while others will involve conversions of existing properties. We have 30 hotels operating in Malaysia today under 14 brands. Everyone is worried we are going through a recession. But we have a pipeline that is robust and we continue to be bullish.
“Malaysia has sufficient supply of electricity and fairly high skilled English-speaking labour. Transportation is adequate and there are well-connected roads. Malaysia is growing in terms of tourism numbers and more Chinese are also visiting the country,” said Smith.
Malaysia had recorded RM41.7 billion (US$13.7 billion) in tourist receipts in the first half of this year, an increase of 6.8 per cent from the corresponding period last year.
The number of foreigners visiting the country rose 4.9 per cent to 13.4 million in the first six months of this year, up from 12.7 million in the corresponding period last year.
Asia Pacific continues to dominate Malaysia’s foreign arrivals at 70 per cent with arrivals from Singapore topping the list with 5.4 million tourists, followed by Indonesia (1.9 million), China (1.6 million), Thailand (990,565), Brunei (627,112), India (354,486), South Korea (323,952), the Philippines (210,974), Vietnam (200,314) and Japan (196,561).
Overall, the short- , medium- and long-haul markets registered positive growth at 4.7, 7.2 and 1.8 per cent respectively, compared with the first half of last year.
Taking into account these numbers, the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry is confident of
Malaysia hitting its target of 28.1 million tourist arrivals this year as against 25.8 million last year.
As next year is Visit Malaysia 2020, the target is 30 million arrivals and tourist receipts worth RM100 billion.