SEPANG, 09 JULY 2024: With all eyes on the Muslim tourist market as a viable economic driver, an increasing number of tourism industry players are strategically positioning themselves to tap into this burgeoning market.

At the Muslim-Friendly Tourism and Hospitality Assurance and Recognition (MFAR) Competency Training Programme organised by the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) from 19 to 21 June 2024, some 10 travel agents signed up to learn about the recognition programme that would enhance their positioning within the Muslim tourist market. 

Participant Hisham bin Yem from Anytime Holidays Sdn Bhd, said: “In this competitive business field, I need to take the initiative to tap into new markets. What drove me to join this training programme was the increasing demand from Muslim tourists, particularly those from China and East Asia, who seek Halal food, products, services, and overall Muslim-friendly facilities.” 

He added: “With the MFAR recognition, Muslim tourists can confidently choose my travel operating business for worry-free travel experiences, leading to positive economic impacts for the country.”

The MFAR programme was developed by ITC as a means to harmonise and strengthen the Muslim-Friendly ecosystem in Malaysia. ITC awards the MFAR recognition to tourism industry businesses that fulfil specific guidelines on Muslim-friendly products and service delivery. There are ten schemes under the MFAR programme, namely tourist accommodations, spa and wellness, medical facilities, travel agencies, transportation hubs, shopping malls, amusement parks, rest service areas, tourism products and convention and trade centres. Held at Movenpick Hotel and Convention Centre, this training marked a significant milestone as the first of its kind specifically tailored for the travel operating businesses sector.

Marina Muhamad, Director of the Industry Development Division of ITC, expressed her satisfaction with the commitment shown by travel operating businesses towards the competency programme, stating, “We are delighted to see the dedication of travel agencies in enhancing their capabilities through this training. Ensuring a sufficient number of well-informed and equipped Muslim-friendly travel agents is essential for attracting a growing number of tourists who seek Muslim-friendly tourism experiences.”

“This strategic initiative not only prepares Malaysia for the upcoming Visit Malaysia Year 2026 but also strengthens our position as a regional Umrah Hub. Our goal is to create a seamless and enriching experience for Muslim tourists, ultimately boosting Malaysia’s appeal as a preferred Muslim-friendly destination,” she added.

During the programme, the travel agent participants learned essential knowledge and skills needed to cater to Muslim tourists, both domestic and international. 

  • Participants were educated on the potential of the Muslim tourist market, the fundamentals of MFTH, and the industry standards and guidelines set forth by ITC. 
  • The how-to’s of creating Muslim-Friendly Tourism itineraries that were not only unique and exciting, but that were also sensitive to their faith-based needs, in line with the principles of MFTH.
  • The programme included technical tours of Muslim-friendly tourist attractions, such as a mosque tour at Masjid Sultan Abdul Samad KLIA and a visit to HL Dragon Fruit Eco Farm. 

Malaysia has consistently ranked at the top of the Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) since the report was first launched in 2015, and was named “Top Muslim-Friendly Destination of the Year (OIC)” at the Halal in Travel Awards for 2023 and 2024. The MFAR marking adopted by tourism industry players across all business sectors to communicate their readiness to serve Muslim tourists will ensure Malaysia remains the preferred Muslim-friendly tourist destination for years to come.

ITC looks forward to encouraging more travel operating businesses in Malaysia to join the MFAR programme, equipping them with comprehensive knowledge and a competitive advantage to cater to the Muslim tourist market. For further information on ITC’s programmes, please visit or contact us via email at


About the Islamic Tourism Centre

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 recognition, and information exchange.

Malaysia was named the top country in the region in the MFTH sector by the State of the Global Islamic Economy (SGIE) Report 2022. The country also retained the top-ranked destination in the Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2024, a position it has defended since the launch of the Index in 2015. Malaysia was recognised as the Top Muslim-Friendly Destination of the Year (OIC) and the Top Muslim Women-Friendly Destination of the Year in Halal in Travel Awards 2023.

In addition, 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 in developing and growing the Islamic tourism segment in Malaysia.

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 email or the following individuals:

Anis Ramli, Corporate Communications Unit, ITC at 012 321 9137

Nadhirah Aripin, Corporate Communications Unit, ITC at 019 356 0530

Ainaa Izzati, Corporate Communications Unit, ITC at 010 266 2535

Khairul Iman, Corporate Communications Unit, ITC at 013 289 2609

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

X: @itc_my

Instagram: @itc_my

YouTube: Islamic Tourism Centre

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