Another challenging year has passed. For us, at Islamic Tourism Centre, being closely involved in stakeholder relations in tourism, we were keenly aware of the impact of the pandemic upon those in the industry.

Alhamdulillah, despite limited resources and the trials of 2021, we forged ahead in our mission to support, motivate, and educate local, regional, and international stakeholders on the potential and value of the Muslim tourist market, especially its critical role in tourism and economic recovery.

Driving key initiatives, namely Muslim-Friendly Accommodation Recognition (MFAR), Mosque Tourism, and Muslim-Friendly Tour Guide (MFTG), we continued our engagements with tourism industry players and advocated the power of the Muslim-Friendly tourism and hospitality branding. These efforts expanded to Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo where training and awareness-building activities were organised to engage with mosques officials and hotel operators.

Among ITC’s core efforts this year were the organising of two important events, i.e. the ITC Corporate Forum and the 2nd World Islamic Tourism Conference (WITC). The former, a prelude to the Islamic Tourism Outlook Conference in 2022, highlighted women’s contributions to tourism and the economy. Meanwhile, WITC gathered some of the brightest minds from academia, the business community, and government leadership to share their insights into the future of Islamic Tourism.

Working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia, once again, ITC curated two interesting online Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programmes around the themes of culture and heritage, and the future of the tourism workforce for international participants from 14 countries.

We ended the year on a high note with our participation at Global Business Forum ASEAN held in conjunction with Expo 2020 Dubai. The invitation by The Economist and Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry allowed us to share our strategies for ASEAN and GCC to collaborate on matters relating to the Muslim tourism market. The key takeaway of our message was to consider the Muslim consumer market for boosting intra-regional partnerships and economic opportunities.

These, along with our participation in events such as CrescentRating’s Halal in Travel Global Summit, the Republic of Uzbekistan’s Roundtable on Ziarah Tourism, and Indonesia’s 3rd International Halal Tourism Summit, intensified our global reach and opened up doors for more opportunities to advance the Islamic Tourism space.

On the domestic front, we helped drive Bumiputra and youth participation in Islamic tourism through Islamic Tourism Entrepreneurship and Leadership Seminar (ITELS) organised with MARA, Department of Standards Malaysia, PERNAS and the Association of Malaysian Spas (AMSPA).

Our local and global engagement throughout the year was further facilitated by partnerships with OIC, Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC), Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC), DinarStandard, CrescentRating, Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle  (IMT-GT), International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF), Warisan Ummah Ikhlas Foundation, JAKIM, and Indonesia Halal Tourism Association, among others. Indeed, strategic collaborations proved to be the way forward towards achieving our mutual goals in 2021.

For all these efforts, this year, ITC was honoured with not one, but two meaningful awards, namely the Strategic Business Alliance Award by The BrandLaureate World Halal Best Brands E-Branding, and the Best Islamic Tourism Leadership Award by the Malaysia Tourism Council.

This only serves to motivate us ahead. Our plans for 2022 and beyond are to advance Islamic Tourism knowledge through research initiatives with key academic institutions and strengthen the Islamic Tourism framework by establishing industry guidelines that are inclusive, so that more will know of the blossoming opportunities within.

We look forward to better years ahead and intend to further elevate Islamic Tourism and its role in the economy through insightful leadership, strategic thinking, sustainable practices, fruitful collaborations, community engagement, branding and marketing, enhanced knowledge and research, and more. In this regard, we invite you to explore these exciting opportunities with us.

Our deepest gratitude goes out to all our partners who have joined us on this journey full of enthusiasm, hope, and optimism. Let’s work together to create a brighter future, insha Allah.

Dato’ Dr. Mohmed Razip Hasan
Islamic Tourism Centre

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