Between January and May 2017, a total of 253 international cruise ships called at Malaysia’s 11 ports, indicating an increase of 9.48% compared to the same period in 2016. For the same period, the country received 405,554 cruise passengers compared to 330,473 passengers, signifying an increase of 18.51%.
Affordable exchange rates, modern infrastructure and facilities, warm weather, friendly people, a stable government, and numerous tourist attractions that are easily accessible from the ports make Malaysia the ideal stopover for cruise line operators.
Malaysia’s cruise terminals such as Langkawi, Penang, Port Klang and Melaka are located close to local attractions, offering cruise passengers the experience of a big-city atmosphere and easy access to ecotourism attractions, beaches, authentic culture and exotic cuisine. Food is a major attraction in Penang and passengers can not only sample the famous variety of cuisine but also enjoy cooking lessons during shore excursions. Meanwhile, the Kota Kinabalu port in Borneo is a gateway to the natural beauties of the rainforest and orangutan watching which are popular among many segments of the cruise market.
It’s all part of the Malaysian Government’s recognition of tourism as a key economic area for the country’s growth, with cruise tourism being one of 12 focus areas for development over the next eight years.