[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA, 17 DECEMBER 2020: The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture lauds the move of Malaysia’s industry players diversifying their tourism product offerings to cater to the Muslim tourist market.

YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, applauded the initiative and said that pondokstay was a relatively new tourism product with potential to be explored as a key offering to appeal to the global Muslim tourist market.

She was commenting on the efforts of pondok operators, Yayasan Al-Jenderami in Selangor, Pondok Borakatul Qodiri in Melaka, and Pondok Sungai Durian in Kelantan, who offered touristic facilities such as accommodation and experiences such as silat performances, firework shows, and communal work with the local communities on top of religion-related classes.

“With adequate support in terms of research and marketing, pondokstay can become another exemplary tourism product that champions local communities and their culture, much like homestay and kampungstay,” she added.

Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy said that as the product is gaining attention, proper guidelines need to be in place to define what constitutes pondokstay to ensure a top quality, holistic, and inclusive product.

“The term pondokstay should reflect a dynamic concept taking into account various factors, such as economy, social and lifestyle, community sustainability, good values and best practices, structure and infrastructure, hygiene, health and safety, besides its religious contents,” she said.

She also mentioned that ITC was always open to cooperate and collaborate with partners to enhance the value of existing tourism products as well as develop new ones under the Muslim Friendly Tourism and Hospitality concept. “ITC is actively strengthening existing Muslim-friendly tourism and Islamic tourism branding,” she added.

One of the efforts by ITC to develop Muslim-friendly tourism was through its Islamic Tourism Research Grant (ITRG). In 2019, ITC had commissioned a study on the conceptual development of pondokstay as an Islamic edutourism product. A team of researchers from three universities – Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Pasir Gudang, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) were awarded the funding to conduct the research and the outcomes of the study were presented at the “Pondokstay Development in Islamic Tourism” webinar recently.

Pondok or sekolah pondok has been regarded as Malaysia’s earliest form of traditional Islamic learning institution which now has become an integral part of the Malay community. Over time, the pondok education evolved, and the term ‘pondokstay’ was coined to indicate a unique tourism niche that combines Islamic tourism, edutourism, and community-based tourism (CBT). It has become a recommended option for tourists seeking to escape their day-to-day routine for the tranquility of the kampung life while experiencing Biah Solehah (an Islamic environment) and explore the Malay Muslim culture of Islamic education. Pondokstay enables visitors to live in a pondok environment, experience the lifestyle of the community, and interact directly with the locals during their stay.

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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,

Tel: 03-8891 7177 or via email[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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