Malaysia has been ranked among the top five Muslim-friendly travel destinations around the world, according to a new global economic report.
The State of the Global Islamic Economy (SGIE) Report 2022 attributed this to the country’s ease of travel and public awareness.
Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said Malaysia is poised to tap into the growth of Muslim-friendly holidays after the pandemic.
“Malaysia is on the right track in preparing the tourism industry players for the burgeoning Muslim tourist market. During the pandemic, the ministry, through its agency Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC), has ramped up efforts to train and upskill tourism industry stakeholders to understand and cater to this market with its unique faith-based needs,” she said in a statement.
According to Nancy, ITC has supported the industry by developing standards and guidelines to strengthen the Muslim tourism and hospitality service delivery.
“Islamic tourism ecosystem and the Muslim-friendly tourism and hospitality branding are the way forward as we safely reopen Malaysia’s borders to new and returning visitors,” she said.
In the report, Malaysia topped two of the five government benchmark dimensions, specifically in governance that focuses on travel rules and regulations.
The report also noted that the recovery of the Muslim-friendly travel sector will depend on tourism industry players embracing the new opportunities and new trends in travel.
After the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Muslim spending on travel increased by 75.9% last year to reach US$102bil (RM430.29bil) and is forecast to grow to US$189bil (RM797.3bil) by 2025.
Moving forward, tourism industry players can expect demand for personalized travel services and the dependency on travel agencies to grow to help travelers navigate their post-pandemic journey and the diverse travel requirements.
ITC director-general Datuk Dr. Mohmed Razip Hasan said the agency has identified several measures to strengthen the growth of Islamic travel in the country.
“In championing Islamic tourism, one of the narratives we use to drive industry interest is that Islamic tourism strengthens business growth, environmental awareness and protection, tolerance, integration, cultural and heritage appreciation, and more,” he said. One of the state’s ITC is focusing on tapping into Muslim-friendly travel in Penang. More recently, the agency trained tour guides in life-saving techniques.
ITC director (research and training) Nur Alyssa Coraline Yassin said the course equipped guides with the necessary skills to enhance their services in light of the country’s borders reopening.
“And it’s a value for our tourists, too. It’s more reassuring to travel around Malaysia when you know you’re in the safe hands of our Muslim-friendly tour guides,” she said.
The SGIE report is an annual publication released by DinarStandard in partnership with Salaam Gateway, Islamic economy news and media platform, supported by the Dubai Economy and Tourism Department.
Originally published on www.thestar.com.my