KUALA LUMPUR : The Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) organised the “Muslim-Friendly Tourism and Hospitality (MFTH) Competency Training” for Malaysian Inbound China Association (MICA) members at Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur from 1 to 3 November 2023.
This was a follow-through on the highly productive sales mission in China last September organised by Tourism Malaysia and led by YB Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC), during which the Muslim tourist market potential was observed.
Some 25 enthusiastic MICA members signed up for the training programme to elevate their understanding of the Muslim tourist market and tap into the opportunities in China, where the population of Muslims is estimated to stand at 30 million.
At the peak of tourism in 2019, before the pandemic, Malaysia attracted 5.3 million Muslim tourists whose spending contributed RM16.7 billion to the economy. Of that figure, 56,057 were Muslim tourists from China spending RM275.9 million.
YB Khairul Firdaus said: “I am confident that we can do better, especially with ITC driving the efforts of strengthening the MFTH ecosystem, JAKIM providing assurance on Halal food, Tourism Malaysia stepping up promotional efforts, and tourism industry players such as MICA delivering the products and services that are in demand.”
Being ranked at the top of the Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2023 for the eighth year in a row, Malaysia stands poised to be the ultimate destination for the Chinese Muslim market, fulfilling all of its travel needs.
“The opportunity we see in the Chinese Muslim tourist market is also the direction that we are taking to ensure the sustainability of our tourism industry,” YB Khairul Firdaus added.
Nizran Noordin, Director-General of ITC said: “We are pleased that MICA has embarked on the path to gain a deeper understanding of MFTH. Although the importance of Halal in enhancing the travel experience for Muslim tourists is a key factor, this training also provides insights into the role of communication, and sustainable practices, as well as standards and certifications within MFTH. ITC looks forward to offering similar training opportunities for other parties interested.”
The training programme included lectures and briefings on the Muslim tourist market potential, Muslim-Friendly Tourism and Hospitality (MFTH), as well as industry standards and guidelines set forth by ITC. Additionally, technical tours to tourist attractions and MFAR (Muslim-Friendly Tourism and Hospitality Assurance and Recognition) certified hotels offered a practical understanding of how these concepts were applied in the field. Participants also engaged in a group-work presentation and assessment for an immersive learning experience on the last day of the training programme.