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FIRST CHINA IMAM FAM TRIP SUCCESS: RM28 MILLION REVENUE EXPECTED FROM SALE OF 18,000 PACKAGES

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On January 15, 2024, the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) and the Malaysian Inbound Chinese Association (MICA) joined forces in a strategic maneuver to tap into the burgeoning Chinese Muslim tourist market. Their collaboration successfully orchestrated the inaugural Familiarisation Trip (Fam Trip) for 35 Imams hailing from 14 provinces in China. Anticipated to generate a tourism package sales revenue of RM28 million, the initiative is seen as pivotal in achieving Malaysia’s target of 1.5 million Chinese Muslim arrivals in 2024. Nizran Noordin, Director-General of ITC, underscored the significance of providing the Imams with a firsthand experience of Malaysia, emphasizing their role in promoting the country upon their return to China.

Nizran Noordin, Director-General of ITC, shared the anticipated outcome of the fam trip, stating, “Giving the Imams this first-hand experience of Malaysia will help them promote the country to their friends, family, and community back home.” He further emphasized the alignment of these efforts with Malaysia’s broader tourism goals, as set by YB Dato’ Sri Tiong King Sing, Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture. The initiative, titled “China Imam Fam Trip: Discover Muslim-Friendly Malaysia,” seeks to spotlight Malaysia’s diverse tourism offerings, particularly its Halal cuisines and commitment to Muslim-friendly hospitality. Nizran expressed the overarching goal of showcasing Malaysia’s Muslim-friendly tourism while allowing Imams to explore the country’s culture, food, mosque architecture, warm hospitality, and Muslim-friendly environment in a safe and unrestricted manner.

Reflecting on their immersive experience in Malaysia, Imam Ming Zhicheng remarked, “Malaysia is a very good country and left a deep impression on us. The population is multifaceted yet inclusive and tolerant. There is harmonious coexistence even with the diverse people, food, and culture. When I go back to China, I will promote Malaysia as a harmonious and tolerant country.” The Fam Trip, held from January 10 to 16, featured a comprehensive itinerary covering destinations such as Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Bandar Melaka, Seremban, Shah Alam, and Bentong. Imams were exposed to Malaysia’s vibrant tourism attractions, including a river cruise in Bandar Melaka, tasting durians at Bentong Farm, and visiting national monuments and cultural galleries.

In recognition of the pivotal role Imams play within their communities, MICA President Dato’ Dr. Angie Ng announced their appointment as Malaysia’s Travel and Culture Ambassadors. These Imams are envisioned as bridges between MICA and the Chinese Muslim community, sharing their positive experiences from the Fam Trip with friends and family. The success of the Fam Trip is expected to create a ripple effect, leading to increased Chinese Muslim tourist arrivals in the lead-up to Visit Malaysia 2026. This, in turn, is set to solidify Malaysia’s position as a premier Muslim-friendly tourism destination on the global stage.

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