PETALING JAYA: The two billion-strong global Muslim population can be a driver for the local tourism industry and boost our economic recovery, says tourism, arts and culture minister Nancy Shukri.
Speaking at the 3rd World Islamic Tourism Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Nancy, a member of the caretaker government, said there is growing demand for Muslim-friendly tourism products and services.
This was more so with the pent-up travel demand following travel restrictions over the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This will have a positive impact on the overall tourism industry, providing the impetus to develop the tourism supply chain across all sectors,” she said at the conference organised by the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC).
Meanwhile, ITC director-general Razip Hasan said the Muslim market is important as it is a well-distributed market and is not just concentrated in the Middle East.
“You can say it is a global tourist market, protected from location-specific disruptions,” he said, adding that Muslim tourists alone are expected to contribute US$225 billion to the global tourism industry over the next six years.
Countries in the Asia-Pacific region are aggressively seeking to attract Muslim tourists.
According to a report by ITC and tourism consultancy Pear Anderson, tourism authorities in Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore are leading the way in the creation of Muslim-friendly travel content.
“Online information, clear communication and branding are important in gaining the attention and interest of this market,” Razip said.
“We hope this report will provide insights to help destinations make the right decisions and action plans.”
Pear Anderson director Hannah Pearson also said Asia-Pacific countries were doing well in creating Muslim-friendly travel content and this helped tourists feel welcomed and included.
Meanwhile, Anis Ramli, the founder and editor of Halaluxe, said luxury hospitality brands were increasingly investing in halal tourism.
Anis, whose boutique agency works with luxury hospitality brands, said resorts like Soneva Kiri in Thailand have a dedicated kitchen for the halal market to avoid cross-contamination of food.
“Having a halal-certified kitchen is ideal, and brands like Soneva are certainly moving in the right direction.
“The affluent Muslim traveller that seeks luxury, exclusivity and discreet service in their travels also want to feel secure about what is most important to them, availability of halal food,” she said.