Penang is on track in establishing itself as a premier halal hub with plans to boost travel guides for the benefit of Muslim travellers, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said today.
From early next year, Muslim travellers will be able to access the comprehensive “Experience Penang – a Muslim Travel Guide” online.
“The guidebook was translated into Arabic in 2012 and, aside from the print version, it will be made available online in English and Arabic by the first quarter of 2016.
“Additionally, the Penang international halal hub (Halal Penang) is also working on a “Muslim Training Module for Tour Guides in Penang”.“It will launch the Muslim Tour Packages that will be promoted extensively also by the first quarter of next year,” he said today at the Pizzeria La Tavernetta Restaurant on the Costa Victoria cruise liner receiving Halal Malaysia Certification.
Penang has been attracting high-spending Middle Eastern tourists during their peak travel season from July to September. It is aiming to also attract Muslim visitors from China, which has a Muslim population of 30 million, with halal products and services.
The state has also been ranked ninth in the Muslim Travel Shopping Index 2015, the world’s leading authority on Muslim-friendly travel, created by MasterCard and CrescentRating.
“While most of the leisure-oriented Muslim tourists are attracted by the sea, shopping, and some by Penang’s heritage and culture, food is one of the essential elements of a tourist’s experience in Penang.
“As we proudly highlight Penang as being the Asian Food Capital, we also need to offer Muslim tourists halal food that is varied and widely available,” he said.
Lim said the halal certification, in the presence of Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz, marked another milestone in the development of Penang’s halal industry.
“The event today signifies the increasing awareness among Muslim travellers on the importance and availability of halal products especially for food and beverages.
“The Penang government started Halal Penang to serve the growing demands for halal products, services and solutions.”
Nazri acknowledged that Penang had been recognised as a top Islamic tourist destination worldwide. He said it was timely to promote Islamic tourism now to divert the attention of the world from acts of terrorism by “a small group of misguided Muslims” because tourism was peaceful.
He said Islamic tourism could help show the world that Muslims are people of peace, in light of terror attacks like those in Paris recently. – November 21, 2015
Originally published on www.themalaysianinsider.com