PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA, 22 MARCH 2021: A recent visit by the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri, to officiate the opening of Masjid Al-Asr, the new mosque at Kampung Meritam, Limbang, Sarawak, sparked interest and curiosity about the potential of mosques being made into a tourism product.
The Minister said: “One of MOTAC’s initiatives through the Islamic Tourism Center is to expand the role of the mosque not only as a place of worship, but also as an Islamic tourism product under the Mosque Tourism initiative.”
Indeed, in recent years, Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) has keenly observed the growing interest in mosque tourism. Mosques have become an attraction in themselves drawing interest from both Muslims and non-Muslims alike who appreciate the unique design and history of these houses of worship. Adding to their appeal as a tourist attraction are the surrounding natural landscapes, unique communities, the authentic cuisine, and other local attractions within the area.
Recognising this trend and growing interest, ITC saw the demand for mosque tours to be conducted in a systematic, tourist-friendly way and for tourist-related facilities to be built to better serve these needs.
As such, ITC facilitated the way and played a key role in this development in two ways:
The first was through the organising of the inaugural National Imam Roundtable Conference in 2016 to raise awareness on the growing interest in mosque tourism. Among the resolutions passed at the conference were:
- to allow non-Muslims to visit mosques under proper guidance
- to ensure the comfort and safety of all visitors to the mosque
The second effort by ITC in the development of mosque tourism was through a study that ITC commissioned entitled, “Profiling of Mosques with Tourism-Related Attractions within the Tourism Corridors in Malaysia.” The study analysed and evaluated the current status and future prospects of mosque tourism in Malaysia.
Today, the report serves as a reference for planning and developing mosque tourism in the country and is recommended reading for tour operators, tourist guides, hoteliers, and other industry stakeholders.
Volume 1 of the report provides vital information depicting action plans that should be adopted by various stakeholders. Volume 2 of the report is a comprehensive profiling of 80 mosques throughout Malaysia that are recommended for mosque tourism.
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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 by offering research and market intelligence, training, industry development consultation, Muslim-friendly tourism and hospitality services standards and certification, and information exchange.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org