PETALING JAYA - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the drop in Chinese tourist arrivals to Malaysia was due to the political attacks on him over the issue of Malaysia-China relations and China's investments in the country.
He said the political attacks against him started when he was the prime minister and continued even after GE14.
He said this led to negative impact on the country's economy.
"The media has reported that the number of tourist arrivals from China dropped some 35 per cent recently, which is the first time it has ever occurred.
"Previously, Chinese tourist arrivals increased every year, and China is one of the biggest sources of tourist arrivals for Malaysia," he said in his Facebook post yesterday.
Najib also attached to his post The Star's report "Chinese tourist arrivals plunge during peak period" to back his argument.
Najib claimed that the drop in Chinese tourist arrivals even led to musang king durian traders suffering losses.
"Not just durians and tourists, even the price and total export of palm oil dropped drastically after GE14," he added.
Najib said it was important that good diplomatic relations be maintained.
He said the country's tourism sector contributed 13.7 per cent (S$55 billion) to the economy in 2016 and helped to create 1.73 million jobs.
"I hope the drop in tourists from China will reverse as soon as possible as millions of rakyat are depending on this sector as their source of income," said Najib.
The Star had reported that tourist arrivals from mainland China to Malaysia dropped by an estimated 30 per cent to 35 per cent during their National Day break last week compared to last year's holiday period.
Industry players said this was the first time Malaysia posted a fall in tourist arrivals from China during their "golden week".
China's "golden week" last year, from Oct 1 to 7, saw about 180,000 Chinese tourists coming to Malay-sia.
"Inbound tourism from China was very weak this time," said Datuk Keith Li, who owns the travel agency GTC Group in Kuala Lumpur jointly with the Chinese government.
"The special feature I noticed this time around was that local tour guides went overseas for holidays during this golden week.
"I estimated a fall of over 30 per cent in Chinese arrivals last week."