January 10, 2024

BUILDING BRIDGES: IMAMS FROM CHINA EXPLORE MALAYSIA’S MUSLIM-FRIENDLY TOURISM OFFERINGS

PUTRAJAYA, 5 JANUARY 2024: In the wake of China’s international borders reopening, Malaysia is strategically targeting the burgeoning Chinese Muslim tourist market through a unique Familiarisation Trip (Fam Trip) organised by the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) in collaboration with the Malaysian Inbound Chinese Association (MICA). The initiative aims to showcase Malaysia’s diverse tourism offerings, highlight its array of Halal cuisines, and underscore its commitment to providing Muslim-friendly hospitality to the 35 Imams who will arrive at KLIA2 on 10 January 2024.

ITC Director-General, Nizran Noordin, said: “Recognising the significant potential within the China market, Malaysia is actively engaging with our tourism industry partners to tap the Chinese Muslim market. We are working closely with MICA on this, whose members have more than 30 years of experience dealing with the tourism industry players there, and they are well-versed with how the industry operates and the preferences of the market. Their tourism industry network in China is extensive. With all these lined up, we are excited to work with MICA on this Fam Trip to introduce Malaysia as an inviting holiday destination, and especially highlight the Malay Muslim culture and lifestyle.”

The Fam Trip, organised from 10 to 16 January 2024 sees Imams from 14 provinces in China converging in Malaysia to explore its many interesting attractions and experience the Muslim-friendly tourism and hospitality Malaysia has to offer.

Says MICA President, Dato’ Dr. Angie Ng: “From having served the China market for years, we have come to understand the important role that Imams play within their community. In many instances, Imams are the main point of reference for the Muslim community in China, trusted and respected for their wisdom, guidance, and knowledge. Giving the Imams a first-hand experience of Malaysia will enrich their understanding of Malaysia as a welcoming destination with all facilities and services in place to welcome the Chinese Muslims. Though they are not travel agents, the Imams themselves are in the best position to share their travel experiences and positively shape their congregation’s view of Malaysia as a Muslim-friendly destination. We are excited to welcome them to Malaysia and enjoy an enriching experience of Muslim-Friendly Malaysia!”

The Fam Trip is designed to immerse the Imams in Malaysia’s vibrant tourism attractions, rich cultural heritage, diverse Halal cuisines, and the warm hospitality that the country offers. The ripple effect is expected to result in a surge of Chinese Muslim tourists, particularly leading up to Visit Malaysia 2026.

During their visit, the Imams will explore Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Bandar Melaka, Seremban, Shah Alam and Bentong, among others, visiting iconic mosques, cultural and heritage attractions, Halal culinary delights, as well as the scenic, natural and agrotourism wonders that Malaysia has to offer. The immersive experience is carefully curated to resonate with the preferences and sensibilities of the Chinese Muslim audience.

The Imams will have the opportunity to experience staying in Muslim-Friendly hotels recognised by ITC under the Muslim-Friendly Tourism and Hospitality Assurance and Recognition (MFAR) initiative, where hotels offer hospitality services that comply with the faith-based needs of Muslim tourists.

Mosque visits are a key part of the trip to provide Imams with a glimpse of how mosques feature prominently in the lives of Malaysians not only by providing prayer spaces, but also as custodians of Malaysia’s culture and heritage with close engagements with the community.

 

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About Islamic Tourism Centre

Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) is an entity under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Malaysia, tasked to develop the Islamic Tourism segment for Malaysia. It advocates for Muslim-friendly tourism (MFT) by offering research and market intelligence, training, industry development consultation, Muslim-Friendly Tourism and Hospitality (MFTH) services standards and recognition, and information exchange.

Malaysia was named the top country in the region in the MFTH sector by the State of the Global Islamic Economy (SGIE) Report 2022. The country also retained the top-ranked destination in the Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2023, a position it has defended since the launch of the Index in 2015. In the same year, Malaysia was recognised as the Top Muslim-Friendly Destination of the Year (OIC) and the Top Muslim Women-Friendly Destination of the Year in Halal in Travel Awards 2023.

In addition, ITC was named the recipient of the Strategic Business Alliance Award at The BrandLaureate World Halal Best Brand E-Branding Awards 2021. It is a recognition of ITC’s efforts and endeavours in formulating new strategies to meet the new normal of the business environment to ensure business continuity and sustainability, notwithstanding its role in developing and growing the Islamic tourism segment in Malaysia.

These recognitions are an added motivation for ITC to continue to strengthen its efforts in being a prime mover and leading institution to ensure Malaysia is at the forefront of MFTH.

For further details, kindly contact:

Islamic Tourism Centre,

Level 13, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia

No. 2 Tower 1, Jalan P5/6,

Precinct 5, 62200 Putrajaya, Malaysia

Tel: 03-8891 7177 or via email comms@itc.gov.my

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