SHAH ALAM, 15 JANUARY 2024: In a strategic move to tap into the flourishing Chinese Muslim tourist market, the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC), in collaboration with the Malaysian Inbound Chinese Association (MICA), successfully organised their first Familiarisation Trip (Fam Trip) for 35 Imams from 14 provinces in China, which is expected to generate a turnover of RM28 million in tourism packages sale revenue.
Nizran Noordin, Director-General of ITC, shared the anticipated outcome of the fam trip, stating, “Giving the Imams this first-hand experience of Malaysia will help them promote the country to their friends, family, and community back home. With the Imams’ support, we anticipate MICA to sell at least 18,000 travel packages to Chinese Muslim tourists after this Fam Trip, contributing RM28 million to Malaysia’s tourism industry income. This aligns with Malaysia’s goal to reach 1.5 million Chinese Muslim arrivals in 2024, as set by YB Dato’ Sri Tiong King Sing, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture recently.”
The “China Imam Fam Trip: Discover Muslim-Friendly Malaysia” initiative aims to spotlight Malaysia’s diverse tourism offerings, including its array of Halal cuisines and its commitment to providing Muslim-friendly hospitality.
Nizran expressed the objective of the Fam Trip, stating, “The goal is to showcase Malaysia’s Muslim-friendly tourism offerings while allowing Imams to travel freely, safely, and enjoy Malaysia’s culture, food, mosque architecture, warm hospitality, and Muslim-friendly environment.” Since its establishment in 2009, ITC has been instrumental in developing the Muslim-friendly tourism ecosystem in Malaysia; among its efforts are the development of Muslim-Friendly Tourism and Hospitality Assurance and Recognition (MFAR) guidelines and the Muslim-Friendly Tourist Guide (MFTG) training programme.
Reflecting on their experience in Malaysia, one Imam, Ming Zhicheng, remarked, “Malaysia is a very good country and left a deep impression on us. The population is multifaceted yet inclusive and tolerant. There is harmonious coexistence even with the diverse people, food and culture. When I go back to China, I will promote Malaysia as a harmonious and tolerant country.”
The Fam Trip aimed to enrich Imams’ understanding of Malaysia as a welcoming destination with facilities and services tailored for Muslims. The Imams, held in high esteem within their communities, are expected to positively influence the perception of Malaysia as a Muslim-friendly destination among their communities.
Commenting on this first ITC-MICA collaboration, MICA President, Dato’ Dr. Angie Ng said, “From having served the China market for years, we have come to understand the important role that Imams play within their community. Understanding this, we are proud to appoint them as Malaysia’s Travel and Culture Ambassador, to help us promote Malaysia in China. They will be the bridge between MICA and the Chinese Muslim community, and the Imams can share all the good experiences of this fam trip with their friends and family.”
The Fam Trip, held from January 10 to 16, immersed Imams in Malaysia’s vibrant tourism attractions and rich cultural heritage. The itinerary included visits to Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Bandar Melaka, Seremban, Shah Alam, and Bentong, among other destinations. They experienced a river cruise in Bandar Melaka, eating durians at Bentong Farm, visiting Malaysia’s national monuments, and exploring galleries such as the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia and Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum, among others. They also visited new and old mosques such as Masjid Sri Sendayan in Negeri Sembilan, Masjid Wilayah in Kuala Lumpur, and Masjid Kampung Hulu in Melaka, giving them exposure to Malaysia’s mosque architecture and cultural history.
The successful Fam Trip is anticipated to create a ripple effect, leading to increased Chinese Muslim tourist arrivals in the run-up to Visit Malaysia 2026, further solidifying Malaysia’s position as a premier Muslim-friendly tourism destination.
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 email@example.com
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