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MALAYSIA LEADING DESTINATION FOR MUSLIM TRAVELLERS IN GMTI 2024 REPORT 

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PUTRAJAYA : Malaysia has retained its top position for the ninth time in the Mastercard-Crescentrating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2024 report released today. This prestigious recognition coincides with Malaysia also being named the “Top Muslim-Friendly Destination of the Year (OIC)” for the second year running at the Halal in Travel Awards 2024 held in Singapore today.

The Halal in Travel Awards celebrate the travel industry’s efforts to make Halal travel a seamless experience. They recognise destinations, organisations, companies, and individuals who have made a significant impact on the Muslim lifestyle travel segment across various categories.

En. Nizran Noordin, Director-General of Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC), congratulated both CrescentRating and Mastercard on the launch of GMTI 2024 in his acceptance speech. “Alhamdulillah, since the index’s inception in 2015, Malaysia has been honoured to hold the top spot,” he said. “We remain dedicated to championing Muslim-Friendly Tourism and Hospitality (MFTH) on both local and global scales. This recognition is a testament to the dedication of industry practitioners and stakeholders in advocating for the MFTH sector.”

Caption: Mr. Nizran Noordin, Director-General of ITC receives the Halal in Travel Awards 2024

This prestigious recognition underscores Malaysia’s unwavering commitment to Muslim-friendly tourism and hospitality (MFTH) supported by ITC’s research, training, and standards development in the sector.

The global Muslim market presents a vast opportunity, with a population exceeding 1.9 billion individuals. Pre-pandemic figures reported by Mastercard and CrescentRating showcased significant growth in the Muslim travel market, with the number of travellers rising from 108 million in 2013 to 160 million in 2019. With borders reopening worldwide, the latest GMTI report forecasts a revitalised market, with an estimated 230 million Muslim travellers expected by 2028. 

This burgeoning market holds promising prospects for Malaysia as well, as it contributed to 4.5 million international arrivals and generated RM14.70 billion in revenue in 2023. The government and industry stakeholders remain committed to attracting Muslim tourists and solidifying Malaysia’s position as their preferred travel destination.

“On behalf of Malaysia, I also would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all Muslim-Friendly Tourism and Hospitality Assurance and Recognition (MFAR) premises and Muslim-Friendly Tourist Guides (MFTGs) in Malaysia who play a vital role in this achievement,” said Nizran.

Malaysia’s popularity among Muslim travellers stems from its accessibility to Halal food and faith-related facilities and services, beautiful beaches, diverse culture, and incredible shopping experiences. Additionally, it offers a wide range of Muslim-friendly tour packages, allowing tourists to experience the country’s rich history, mosque architecture, heritage, gastronomy, nature, and arts and culture.

As a Muslim-majority country, Malaysia leverages its existing infrastructure, including readily available prayer rooms, Halal food options, and water-friendly toilets. Through the ITC, an agency under MOTAC, Malaysia continuously strives to improve the experience for Muslim travellers in fulfilling their religious obligations during travel.

The ITC provides training and capacity building, research, and standards and certification development. This ensures industry players understand the needs of Muslim tourists and are prepared to deliver value to this segment.

To strengthen the Muslim-Friendly tourism ecosystem, ITC has developed the MFAR programme, allowing Muslim travellers to easily identify Muslim-friendly facilities in Malaysia. MFAR covers 10 areas in MFTH, namely; tourist accommodation premises, spa and wellness, travel management operating businesses, medical facilities, transportation hubs, tourism products, shopping centres, theme and amusement parks, rest and service areas, and trade and convention centres.

Meanwhile, the MFTG program is another ITC initiative aimed at improving the marketability of licensed tourist guides to attract the Muslim tourist market. ITC has trained 211 Muslim-Friendly Tourist Guides (MFTGs), equipping them with the knowledge and expertise needed to cater to the specific needs of Muslim travellers.

Nizran noted the importance of having a standard Muslim-friendly tourism and hospitality recognition marking to ensure consistency of quality products and services for the Muslim market. He said: “I would like to urge industry players to come on board with ITC for this Muslim-friendly marking. We need to establish MFAR as a global brand and common logo that we all can refer to, and market it together to make the world more inclusive. I would like to call upon all industry players to champion just one MFAR logo, promoted by Fazal Bahardeen (Founder and CEO) of CrescentRating.”

The recognition in GMTI 2024 reaffirms Malaysia’s position as the preferred destination for Muslim travellers

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