Malaysia, being one of the pioneering destinations to welcome huge numbers of Muslim tourists. In 2019, Malaysia’s Muslim tourist arrivals reached 5.33 million, contributing RM16.72 billion or approximately USD4 billion towards our economy.
In the Global Islamic Economy Report 2020/2021, it was reported that 200.3 million Muslim travellers contributed USD194 billion in global travel spend in 2019. It further predicted that the market would be worth USD309 billion by 2024.
Muslim-Friendly Tourism means catering to the unique needs and requirements of the Muslim tourist market, who, unlike other market segments, have specific faith-based needs when it comes to travel. Key among these needs is Halal food or that which is permissible by Islam, and a place to pray.
The global Muslim population is standing in excess of 1.8 billion, according to Pew Research Centre. In ASEAN, there are an estimated 255 million Muslim population.
Muslim tourist market to Malaysia arrivals from Indonesia reached more than 2 million tourists contributing tourist receipts of RM7.3 billion (USD1.8 billion).
Meanwhile, tourists from the Middle East region are known for traveling in large groups, sometimes with extended families, and staying far longer than other tourists on average.
In 2019 ,the average length of stay for Saudi Arabian tourists was 10.8 days, from Kuwait 10.2 days and from UAE 9.7 days and their per capita expenditure was RM11,660 (USD2,915), RM9,080 (USD2,270) and RM10,095 (USD2,523) respectively.
Meanwhile ,the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index 2021 report has estimated that international Muslim tourist arrivals will reach 26 million in 2021. It has also projected that the Muslim travel market will recover up to 80% of the 2019 levels in 2023.
Malaysia is one of the key leaders in establishing a Muslim-Friendly Tourism destination for Muslim travellers. The National Tourism Plan 2020-2030 strengthens this legacy by prioritising the development of Malaysia as a Muslim-Friendly Tourism destination.
Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) has been mandated as the lead agency to fulfil this aspiration through smart partnerships in standards and certification, research and intelligence, Islamic lifestyle and business events, tourism and hospitality, and healthcare and wellness.
With strong affiliations with governments and industry players, ITC has established standards for Muslim-Friendly Tourism, provided training to upskill businesses and industry players such as to better equip themselves to serve the market; established guidelines for the industry, and commissioned academic and applied research to further explore the potential of the industry.
Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC), an agency under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Malaysia (MOTAC), held a forum entitled “ITC Muslim-friendly Tourism and Hospitality Forum: Potentials and Perspectives” in the 17th Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS), on 9 September.
ITC has been actively involved in its key roles such as research and training, standards and certification, in advocating and promoting the development of Islamic Tourism in Malaysia and around the world, to encourage more industry players to tap into the Muslim travel market
The forum gave an insight of wide coverage of Halal Tourism from different perspective of tourism industry.
The Director-General of ITC, Dato’ Dr. Mohmed Razip Haji Hasan said ITC is looking forward to meeting fellow MIHAS participants particularly those who are interested to expand their business by tapping into the Muslim travel market, a niche but lucrative segment of tourism.
“This forum will seek to provide insights and information to the questions which industry players and stakeholders have with regards to the Muslim travel market and with it, Islamic Tourism and MFTH,” he said.
The forum covered four sector of the tourism industry, mainly Muslim-Friendly Hospitality, Reflections and Benefits of Being a Muslim-Friendly Tourist Guide, Muslim-Friendly Spa, Muslim-Friendly Medical Tourism.
The event is organised by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) and will be hosted by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).
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