Bismillahirrahmanirrahim. In the name of Allah The All-Compassionate, All-Merciful.

Assalamualaikum WHB (May Peace Be Upon You) from Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) in Malaysia. 

Before I begin, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude for being able to pen down a few words for this Director-General’s note. 

As we approach the close of the first half of 2021, the timing is right to provide our readers a glance through what has been a challenging but fruitful period in ITC’s history. ITC has embraced this period as one for continuous reflection and thought on the current situation as the world takes steps towards recovery.

Since the start of 2021, ITC has continued its efforts in advocating Islamic tourism (IT) and Muslim-friendly tourism and hospitality (MFTH), and bringing its potentials to the fore, by fostering greater awareness among industry players and public at large where these niche segments of tourism are concerned. 

Whilst advocating for IT and MFTH on the surface, the deeper values have been one of not just sustainability – such that we are better equipped in light of the uncertainties and challenges that lie ahead, whilst building a fortified ecosystem where the tourism sphere is concerned – but also, advocacy, by placing paramount importance on health.

In February, the Malaysian government launched the national vaccination programme or PICK. Our focus thus turned to getting the population vaccinated to ensure we are better protected against the pandemic.

In playing a novel role, to support vaccinations, ITC realises that there is a need to instil greater vaccine confidence among Malaysians. We are doing our part to support the vaccination initiative by promoting greater awareness on the need to register for vaccination notwithstanding adherence and practice with full discipline where the health guidelines are concerned. 

Drawing your focus to ITC, I am pleased to note here that ITC had recently celebrated the 12th anniversary of its founding, the auspicious occasion falling on 22 June 2021. 

In the days leading to the special day, ITC has embarked on a campaign to commemorate its achievements the past 12 years, on its social platforms. Taking a trip down memory lane, we remember Malaysia being named as the top Muslim-friendly destination worldwide by CrescentRating for nine years in succession, beginning 2011, to the launching of the Muslim-friendly Accommodation Recognition (MFAR) logo last September, to the publication of multiple volumes of the Islamic Tourism Journal (ITJ) in the past couple of years.

Indeed, ITC has come a long way since, and we look forward to continuing working with our fellow industry players to strengthen Malaysia’s tourism industry via development and promotion of the IT and MFTH ecosystems.

I have previously stressed on ITC’s evolved perspective for 2021: “New thinking, new action, new results”. This involves a greater focus on collaboration with stakeholders while strengthening ties with industry players, and fortifying our branding both locally and abroad. 

Alhamdullilah, we have reaped the fruits of our efforts in ways we have never imagined. ITC was given the honour to receive the Strategic Business Alliance Award at the World Halal Best Brands E-Branding Awards 2021. To us, it serves as a reminder that we are doing our utmost especially in these hard times, by connecting and engaging with others, and we are inspired to continue to do so.

We are elated to share about IT and MFTH, and keep the conversations on those topics going, via available platforms and opportunities as seen through the following initiatives:

    1. Eating Well
    2. Keeping Fit
    3. Ziarah Terdidik (Responsible Travel)

We, at ITC, once again, would like to express our gratitude and thanks to all tourism partners and friends as we continue to take on the uncertainties and challenges amidst this persistent pandemic. We hope to forge greater synergy and cooperation with all of you through our various roles, be it research, training, capacity building, industry development, standard and certification, and consultations and engagements.

I call upon us all to recite a doa to the Almighty to grant us forgiveness, and help us find a solution to our current crisis that is COVID-19. Insha Allah, this tough and challenging time too, shall pass. 

#StaySafe #AskGuidance #MuslimfriendlyMalaysia 

Dato’ Dr. Mohmed Razip Haji Hasan
Director General, Islamic Tourism Centre

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