Wednesday, 13th March, 2002
Malaysian Tourism Booms Despite Downturn After '911'

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia's tourism industry boomed last year despite a downturn after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, government statistics showed Tuesday.

The country hosted 12.8 million tourists in 2001, 2.5 million more than the previous year, according to figures from the research division of Tourism Malaysia published in the Business Times.

The visitors spent a total of 24.2 billion ringgit, 39 percent more than in 2000, ensuring that tourism remained Malaysia's second biggest foreign exchange earner. First place went to manufacturing with 285.32 billion ringgit while 11.12 billion and palm oil fourth with 9.98 billion, the Business Times said.

Tourist arrivals ran at more than a million a month until the September 11 attacks, after which they dropped below that level for the rest of the year.

In December, 975,771 contributors to the country's coffers were Singaporeans, who spent 11.64 billion ringgit, but the highest per capita spenders were from Arab countries, a particular focus of government promotional efforts.