The Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Malaysia (MOTAC), through Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) has marked yet another significant milestone in Islamic tourism development in Malaysia with the launch of the official logo for the Muslim-Friendly Accommodation Recognition (MFAR). The recognition is an extension of MOTAC’s star rating system and is the first Islamic tourism-related recognition in the world that is issued by a government agency. Other standards or accreditations that are currently out in the market are all released by private entities.
The implementation of a Muslim-friendly Accommodation Recognition will provide opportunities to not only set the standards but further tap into the Muslim and non-Muslim markets. The concept of ‘Muslim-friendly’ has started to gain traction in a number of countries in the world. This concept focuses on the importance of fulfilling the needs and facilities for Muslim travellers by hoteliers such as hygiene and cleanliness, use of toiletries, halal food and safety and spiritual offerings that hotels can offer.
“In 2019, Malaysia received a total of 5.33 million Muslim tourist arrivals, an increase of 1.45% from 2018 (5.25million arrivals) generating RM16.72 billion in tourist receipts, an increase of 0.72% from 2018 (RM16.60b),”said YB Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri, Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture Malaysia at the official MFAR logo launch ceremony today at Mövenpick Hotel & Convention Centre KLIA.
“We have a choice to provide the necessary infrastructure and facilities to meet the increasing number of Muslim travellers globally, as well as fulfil their faith-based requirements. In consideration of this, we have taken a step ahead in expanding its services by creating a new scheme under the Muslim-friendly Tourism concept for hotels known as the Muslim-friendly Accommodation Recognition”, she added.
TheMuslim-friendly Accommodation Recognition has received good support from the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), the Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners (MAHO) and the Malaysia Budget Hotel Association (MyBHA). As of September 2020, ITC has given recognition to a total of 30 hotels in Malaysia as Muslim-friendly (30 hotels in 2020, 12 hotels in 2019).“The introduction of MFAR by ITC is an added value to the existing Hotel Star Rating by MOTAC. It will further strengthen the national tourism industry especially in the Muslim-friendly Tourism (MFT) market segment.”
“Hoteliers and Accommodation providers are encouraged to apply for the Muslim-friendly Accommodation Recognition as it will enable hoteliers to generate a greater income from the domestic Muslim traveller market and contribute to the nation’s economy. This initiative is to also part of the Government’s continuous efforts to put the tourism industry in a state of readiness for the time when we welcome back global visitors to our shores,” she continued.
The launch ceremony is to introduce the official logo for the Muslim-friendly Accommodation Recognition programme. The logo is intended as a brand recognition to provide Muslim travellers with a greater sense of assurance, confidence and comfort that their chosen abode for recreational or business travel accommodation needs conforms to the tenets of Islam. The design is deliberately kept simple yet distinct, with the overall brand signature intended to afford easy recognition and identification, much like the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia’s (JAKIM) ‘Halal’ logo globally.
For years now, the global tourism industry has seen a significant increase in the Muslim traveller market. Based on a joint report conducted by MasterCard and Crescentrating called the Global Muslim Traveller Index, there was an estimated 140 million Muslims travelling worldwide in 2019. The number of Muslim travellers is projected to reach 230 million by 2026. While this report was conducted before the Covid-19 pandemic, the Muslim traveller market is still expected to increase albeit not as much as projected previously, once the pandemic is under control.
With the implementation of MFAR, Malaysia is poised to be the destination of choice for Muslim travellers. ITC has also several programmes in the pipeline to complement the Muslim Friendly Accommodation Recognition that are projected to contribute to Malaysian tourism industry.