The BrandLaureate World Halal Best Brands E-Branding Awards 2021 is an event to remember in the 12-year and running history of the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC). ITC was selected as the recipient of the Strategic Business Alliance Award, in what was its maiden BrandLaureate scoop.
In receiving the award, Director-General of ITC, Dato’ Dr. Mohmed Razip Haji Hasan said: “I am pleased to accept this award for Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC). It is an acknowledgement of ITC’s dedication, and also the support from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC) and fellow industry players in positioning Malaysia as the choice destination for Islamic tourism and Muslim-friendly tourism and hospitality hub of global standards and recognition.”
Synonymous with ITC’s goal for 2021, that is ”new thinking, new actions, new results”, it will witness ITC strengthening its efforts through local, regional, and international collaborations, whilst engaging deeply with stakeholders and partners, and exploring technology and digital solutions, to deliver its products and services.
Dato’ Dr. Razip further opined that ITC will continue in its endeavours to work with tourism industry players in areas of training, research, standards and recognition where Islamic tourism is concerned. This will be done by creating and spreading awareness on the vast potential that this segment of tourism has to offer, besides establishing benchmarks for Muslim-friendly tourism and hospitality guidelines and providing advice and consultation in developing Muslim-friendly tourism packages and services.
“Our target audience covers a wide range of those involved in tourism, namely, hoteliers, tourist guides, TOBTABs, airline companies and even training institutes. E-branding is undoubtedly a vital tool for ITC in order to remain in the Islamic tourism market that is proliferating exponentially, and will continue to do so in the years to come.”
He further opined that the pandemic that is COVID-19 came with a silver lining for mankind. It has opened up countless opportunities for us all to be more engaged with our partners and clients via digital technology. In fact, ITC has been conducting all of its training and knowledge-sharing sessions online via webinars, besides having been invited to be panelists or keynote speakers in similar avenues, on Islamic tourism and Muslim-friendly tourism and hospitality too.
“By embracing the wave of digitalisation, ITC seeks to be in line with the aspirations of the National Tourism Policy (NTP) 2020-2030 which places emphasis on six thrusts, one of them being digitalisation, in order for the Malaysian tourism industry to remain competitive, sustainable and resilient.”
“I thank Allah SWT for this achievement, and express my utmost appreciation to Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri, the Honourable Minister of MOTAC; Dato’ Dr. Noor Zari Hamat, the Secretary-General of MOTAC cum Chairman of ITC; the staff and board of trustees at ITC, not forgetting my predecessors for bringing ITC to where it is now. The achievements we see today are the results of the combined efforts of everyone,” he concluded.
With a clear mindset, focus and direction, namely, the potential Muslim travel market, ITC wants to ensure the tourism sector is fully prepared once international gates are reopened. In order to realise the said goal, it will continue to foster partnerships and collaboration opportunities with strategic partners whilst leveraging on each other’s strengths and resources.
The award reflects ITC’s efforts in embracing “new thinking, new actions, new results” during the pandemic in which ITC was seen to strengthen its efforts through local, regional, and international collaborations, whilst engaging deeply with stakeholders and partners, and exploring technology and digital solutions, to deliver its products and services.
YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture said, “This award is yet another key milestone moment for Islamic Tourism Centre in its mission to position Malaysia as a global hub for Islamic Tourism and Hospitality of international standards and quality.”
“It speaks of ITC’s commitment to grow the Islamic Tourism landscape through collaborations and partnerships with industry stakeholders, and strong branding. ITC has done Malaysia proud with this achievement, a testament to its dedication in the face of the global pandemic challenge. With further support from all sectors of the industry, I believe that ITC can achieve more for Malaysia and beyond!” she added.
When ITC was established in 2009, it was a bold initiative to develop a strategic approach in developing and addressing the emerging Islamic Tourism market. Since the beginning, ITC embraced the role of a dedicated agency overseeing matters relating to Islamic tourism and provided much-needed direction for the industry. It has since supported MOTAC in undertaking strategic tourism research and market intelligence as well as providing training and capacity-building services in relation to Islamic tourism.
Over the course of ITC’s operations in the past 12 years, it has gained the recognition, trust, praise, and buy-in from various industry stakeholders. This had led to a transformation among industry players in terms of knowledge, awareness, and action, the outcome being a growing interest in tapping the Muslim tourist market as well as a flourishing supply-side in Islamic tourism.
Besides this, ITC has also established a strong network of local, regional and global partners at government, academia, association, and industry levels. These partnerships have helped to strengthen ITC’s delivery of services and influence as well as cement its reputation in the international arena as a reference point on all things related to Islamic Tourism and MFTH.
According to YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy, the award not only bodes well for ITC, but also for MOTAC, raising the international profile of the Ministry as well as Malaysia as a pioneer and leader in championing Islamic Tourism and MFTH.