Malaysia is a country in South-East Asia, located partly on a peninsula of the Asian mainland and partly on the northern third of the island of Borneo. West Malaysia shares a border with Thailand, is connected by a causeway and a bridge (Malaysia-Singapore Second Link) to the island state of Singapore, and has coastlines on the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca. East Malaysia (Borneo) shares borders with Brunei and Indonesia. The country is ranked as the 9th most visited place in the world. In an effort to diversify the economy and make Malaysia’s economy less dependent on exports the government has pushed to increase tourism in Malaysia. As a result tourism has become Malaysia’s third largest source of income from foreign exchange, and accounted for 7% of Malaysia’s economy as of 2005.
The government agency in charge of promoting tourism in Malaysia is Tourism Malaysia or the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB). On 20 May 1987, the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism (MOCAT) was established and TDC moved to this new ministry. TDC existed from 1972 to 1992, when it became the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board (MTPB), through the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board Act, 1992. Its vision is to make the tourism industry a prime contributor to the socio-economic development of the nation, and aims to market Malaysia as a premier destination of excellence in the region. Tourism Malaysia now has 34 overseas and 11 marketing representative offices.
In 1999, Malaysia launched a worldwide marketing campaign called “Malaysia, Truly Asia” which was largely successful in bringing in over 7.4 million tourists. The extra revenue recently generated by tourism helped the country’s economy during the economic crisis of 2008. However, it is mainly Malaysia’s heavy government regulation of the economy which enabled it to be barely affected by the recent 2008 global economic crisis. In recent years tourism has been threatened by the negative effects of the growing industrial economy. Due to the large amounts of air and water pollution along with deforestation, tourism has decreased in affected areas.