Malaysia, as a diverse and multicultural country with a long and interesting history as a major global trade nation, has a plethora of cultural and heritage assets. 

Picture: A Famosa in Malacca

PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA, 20 OCTOBER 2021: Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) has concluded the 16th Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) entitled “Strategising Tourism for Culture and Heritage Preservation”, a  5-day short course from 27 Sep to 1 Oct 2021. ITC is honoured to be given the opportunity by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to host the MTCP as a knowledge-sharing platform for participants from all around the world.

The programme, organised online for the first time, saw a strong response from 10 participants from Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Timor-Leste, Ghana, and Kenya.

Organised by ITC together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to foster close relations and advance the understanding of tourism on a global level, the MTCP programme also facilitated knowledge exchange and the sharing of best practices in tourism among international participants. 

In his keynote address, Datuk Wira Dr. Noor Zari Hamat, the Secretary-General, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia, and Chairman, Islamic Tourism Centre, spoke about the potential of Islamic Tourism as a strategy for attracting the Muslim tourist market and showcasing the Malaysian Muslim lifestyle in multicultural Malaysia to the world.

He stated: “Another potential in culture and heritage tourism that has shown great success in Malaysia is Islamic Tourism. Traveling to Malaysia, they not only experience Malaysia’s Islamic history and its manifestations in our architecture, cuisine, dress, communications, and celebrations, they also get to experience the Malaysian Muslim lifestyle in multicultural Malaysia.”

Tourism has always been tied to culture and history. The inherent desire of mankind to explore and learn about the cultural identities of different regions of the world has been one of the pillars of the tourist business.

The Director-General of ITC, Dato’ Dr. Mohmed Razip Haji Hasan also opined: “In this course, we’ve curated a programme that would provide a cross-section of experiences from policymaking to innovative tourism ideas to local application of global frameworks in the industry.” 

The course covered various topics such as culture and heritage tourism, community-based tourism, the development of heritage trails in a city, the role of tourism in cultural preservation, and how a living museum was created to promote and celebrate the Sarawak culture and heritage.

Here are some of the insights shared by the presenters: 

  • Our first speaker is Prof. Dr. Amran Hamzah from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM). He gave an introduction to responsible tourism and sustainable tourism. 
  • Dr. Christina Yeo, Undersecretary, International Relations Division (Culture), Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC) shared with the participants  a glimpse of some local cultural arts in Malaysia that have been passed down for generations such as the Malay martial arts, Silat and Dondang Sayang. 
  • Mr. Alex Lee, the Chief Executive Officer at Ping Anchorage Sdn. Bhd, shared how Terengganu’s traditional wooden houses rich with traditional Malay carvings and architecture were transformed into a beautiful resort rich. It was inspiring to witness how Terengganu’s local community was actively interested in promoting and maintaining their heritage and culture through tourism.
  • Next, Mr. Mohd. Syahrin Abdullah, the Director of the World Heritage Division Department of National Heritage in the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC) spelled out the roles and responsibilities played by the government in preserving culture and heritage for tourism.
  • A presentation by Ms. Aufa Abd. Rahman from Think City Pvt. Ltd., shared about the successful rejuvenation of the historical town of George Town on the island of Pulau Pinang as a UNESCO Heritage City with enticing culinary offerings and also heritage buildings that are perfect for photography.
  • Mr. Azrul Shah Mohamad, the Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Selangor Sdn Bhd and Mr. Zaini Zainuddin, the Director of Sales, Marketing & Event at Sarawak Cultural Village shared about the heritage sites of the state of Selangor and Sarawak. Selangor is known to be the economic powerhouse of Malaysia, typically inhabited by tall buildings and modern infrastructures. Sarawak Cultural Village showcases the unique tradition, culture and lifestyle of the different ethnic groups in the state.
  • Mr. Edwin Clarie AK Edward, the Curator at the Department of National Heritage, in the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC) shared the importance of documentation in built heritage preservation. 
  • The participants also got to experience the Virtual Tour around the historical city of Melaka with Mr. Shaukani Abbas and Mr. Tajuddin Idrus. 

Through the MTCP programme, ITC shared that Malaysia’s culture and heritage were instrumental in establishing the country as a preferred Muslim-friendly destination. It was a platform for ITC to share all parts of Malaysian culture with an international audience in order to inspire them about the vital link between tourism, culture, and history.

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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 (MFT) by offering research and market intelligence, training, industry development consultation, Muslim-friendly tourism and hospitality (MFTH) services standards and certification, and information exchange.

In 2021, 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 to develop and grow the Islamic tourism segment in Malaysia.

In addition, Malaysia was named top country in the region in the MFT sector by the State of the Global Islamic Economy (SGIE) Report 2020/21. Malaysia also retained the top-ranked destination in the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2021, a position it has defended since the launch of the Index in 2015.

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

Follow ITC on these social platforms:
Facebook: Islamic Tourism Centre
Twitter: @itc_my
Instagram: @itc_my


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