KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia received 25.7 million tourists who spent RM65.44 billion last year, Bernama News Agency reported.
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz the tourist spending was an improvement form the RM60.56 billion in 2012.
"It is an increase of RM4.89 billion or 8.1 percent," he said at the opening ceremony of National Craft Day 2014, here Thursday.
National Craft Day 2014 was launched by the Prime Minister's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Shopping was one of the largest components of tourism, comprising 30.2 percent of total expenditure by tourists last year.
"This impressive achievement is consistent with the objective of the National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) and Malaysian Tourism Transformation Plan to increase tourist spending."
Nazri said the tourism sector became the sixth largest contributor to the gross national income last year at RM51.5 billion.
Factors that contributed to the increased number of tourists include the promotion of Malaysia as a duty free country and a shoppers paradise.
Singapore provided the largest number of tourists with 13.1 million followed by Indonesia (2.5 mln), China (1.7 mln) Brunei (1.2 mln) and Thailand (1.1 mln).
Malaysia hopes to draw 28 million tourists with RM76 billion spending during Visit Malaysia Year 2014. (QNA)