KANGSAN, Malaysia (Reuters) – Malaysia’s leading tourist destination hit $3.4 billion in 2016, according to official figures released on Tuesday, as the world’s fourth-biggest economy expanded its tourism industry, lured in international tourists and boosted exports.
Kangsan’s net trade turnover rose to $3,541.2 million last year from $2,876.9 million in 2015, according the ministry of tourism, which also published a new map showing that foreign visitors accounted for 64.3 percent of visitors in the area around the airport.
The city of about 1.4 million people, once home to an Indonesian-owned sugar plantation, was also the most popular destination for international tourists, with an average of nearly 2,000 international visitors per day.
The growth has driven down the price of tourist accommodation in the city and attracted foreign investment, said the ministry, which was responding to a request from foreign visitors to report on their spending.
The government has been trying to boost its economy in recent years with new tourist attractions such as a 3,500-seat cinema, a casino and a hotel.
The airport’s soaring popularity has attracted the attention of the United States and Japan, which have both sent staff to oversee construction of the new terminal.