MUSLIM-FRIENDLY TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY TO STRENGTHEN ASEAN TOURISM

(Photo) Marina Muhamad, Director of Industry Development Division of ITC with TRAVEX delegates from Vietnam

JOGJAKARTA, INDONESIA, 5 FEBRUARY 2023: Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) participated in the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) and Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) recently to highlight the potential of the Muslim tourist market as a regional tourism recovery strategy.

“What we can see in TRAVEX is that ASEAN member countries already have a basic grasp on Islamic Tourism and its impacts on the economy, society and culture. They are on the right track and would benefit from a more systematic approach to further develop the sector in their respective countries, and thus make the ASEAN region an attractive destination for the Muslim tourist market,” said Marina Muhamad, Director of Industry Development at ITC.

In that spirit, ITC, as an agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) responsible for developing the Islamic Tourism sector and the Muslim-Friendly Tourism and Hospitality (MFTH) ecosystem in Malaysia, took part in the three-day ATF and TRAVEX to share its efforts in making Malaysia a preferred destination for Muslim tourists and increase the buy-in towards MFTH.

ITC took the opportunity to introduce its Muslim-Friendly Recognition (MFR), an accreditation scheme that recognises tourism products, attractions, services, facilities, and packages that possess key elements that are appealing to Muslims and enhance the Muslim travel experience, especially when it comes to meeting their faith-based needs.

Southeast Asia is currently home to 260 million Muslims, with access and mobility to conveniently travel within the region due to geographical and economic reasons. “By creating or modifying tourism services and packages to cater to the Muslim market, ASEAN countries have the potential to pull high-spending Muslim tourists to explore the region with ease,” Marina said.

She added: “This creates a supportive setting for economic growth as the demand for MFTH products and services will grow and the region’s tourism industry players will need to roll out new products and services, creating more employment opportunities as well.”

She continued, “ITC on behalf of Malaysia is ever-ready to share our expertise with neighbouring destinations interested in expanding their adoption of MFTH with the schemes and standards that we have developed. We also welcome decision-makers in the tourism industry to come and visit any of the 14 states of Malaysia to experience our Muslim-Friendly hospitality themselves”.

Malaysia, recognised as the “Top Muslim-Friendly Destination of the Year (OIC)” in the “MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2022” since the index debuted in 2015, is one example of a country that has profited from Islamic Tourism and MFTH. At the height of its tourism performance in 2019, before the pandemic set in, Malaysia recorded 5.3 million Muslim tourist arrivals, contributing to RM16.72 billion in tourist receipts.

The travel exchange was considered to be a win-win event for all exhibitors and visitors as it promoted collaborations between all participating countries, eventually benefiting all countries involved, and the ASEAN region in particular.

This year’s ATF and TRAVEX were held at the Jogja Expo Centre, Jogjakarta, Indonesia from 3-5 February 2023. With more than 207 businesses and 115 exhibitors involved, TRAVEX, a business-to-business (B2B), trade-only component of ATF was an ideal platform for all ASEAN countries to rebuild the tourism sector, especially now that destinations had reopened and people were starting to confidently travel again. This year, the largest travel and tourism trade in Southeast Asia was also joined by other international delegates, including China, India, Japan, South Korea and Russia.

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Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) is a Company Limited By Guarantee (CLBG) 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 and consultation, Muslim-friendly tourism and hospitality (MFTH) service standards and certification, and information exchange.

In 2021, ITC received two key awards, i.e. Strategic Business Alliance Award at The BrandLaureate World Halal Best Brand E-Branding Awards 2021, and Best Islamic Tourism Leadership Gold Award 2021 by Malaysia Tourism Council. These are 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 2022, Malaysia was again named top country in the world in the MFT sector by the State of the Global Islamic Economy (SGIE) Report 2022 by DinarStandard in partnership with Salaam Standard and supported by Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism.

Malaysia also retained the top-ranked destination in the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2022, 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
(Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia)
Level 13, No. 2 Tower 1, Jalan P5/6,
Precinct 5, 62200 Putrajaya, Malaysia
Tel: 03-8891 7177 or via email itc@itc.gov.my

For media-related matters, contact the Corporate Communications team:

Anis, Manager, +6012 321 9137, anis@itc.gov.my
Nadhirah, Sr. Executive, +6019 356 0530, nadhirah@itc.gov.my
Ainaa Izzati, Asst. Executive, +6010 266 2535, ainaa@itc.gov.my

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

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