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Domestic tourism, halal ecosystem can reinvigorate nation's 3rd biggest earner

THE Covid-19 pandemic that has persisted since last December has had immense economic consequences the world over. This invisible enemy has disrupted the supply chain and production output.

It has also caused a rise in unemployment, contraction of income, and threatens people's lives—a clear and present danger to our livelihoods.

Bank Negara Malaysia announced on Aug 14 that our gross domestic product contracted 17.1 per cent in the second quarter of this year. The Movement Control Order (MCO), as well as the Conditional and Recovery MCOs, were inevitable to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Notwithstanding, our economy has shrunk to an unparalleled level in recent history.

Economic recovery requires concerted and mutually reinforcing efforts on various fronts. The highest priorities are, at least, to focus on the stimulation of aggregate demand internally and reestablishing external demand.

Now, let's examine how our tourism sector can play a crucial role on the road to recovery.

The tourism sector is the third largest earner; about 26.1 million tourists visited Malaysia last year.

They spent about RM86.1 billion. This equates to 70 per cent of the trade surplus last year.

Regrettably, there were only 4.2 million international tourist arrivals in the first quarter of this year, a decrease of about 2.5 million year-on-year, indicating a possible decrease of 10 million international inbound tourists and a critical drop of RM30 billion in earnings in the sector this year.

It is highly unlikely Malaysia will receive more than 25 million international tourists this year.

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