@Halal January/February 2022 | Page 5

January-February . 2022 | @ Halal

Islamic Tourism


Emerging Islamic Tourism destinations

Domestic Tourism Forum .
rebuilding the confidence of the domestic tourists would be a challenge .
Captain Mushafiz Mustafa Bakri , Chief Executive Officer of Malindo Airways , said SOP stability was one of the challenges for the aviation sector . However , he stated that there was potential for the domestic tourism market as people became more experimental in going to places previously less travelled , like Alor Setar .
Dr Andy Kho , Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Economic Development Berhad , highlighted the importance of having comprehensive data in the ecosystem to gain people ’ s confidence to travel safely .
Strong leadership and policies
During the closing remarks on the conference ’ s final day , Dato ’ Dr Mohmed Razip Haji Hasan said : “ We have come to understand that there is no one size fits all solution for Muslim consumers and tourists .”
“ As destinations emerge out of the pandemic and restarting tourism , the playing field is level . Those who do not plan for Islamic Tourism may be left behind by those strategising to capture this market .
“ The Muslim-friendly Tourism and Hospitality branding and marketing can uniquely position a destination to appeal to the Muslim tourists market and broader market even . To embrace this concept , it is necessary to have innovative tourism products , services , and facilities that provide enjoyment , ease , comfort , and convenience to Muslim travellers besides being compliant with Shariah requirements .
“ To move forward , Islamic Tourism must be supported by strong leadership , policies and innovative thinking , attention , investment and commitment from all parties .
“ Therefore , as the organiser of the World Islamic Tourism Conference , Islamic Tourism Centre is ready to play its role . We
invite industry players as well as all related agencies and communities to come on board with us .”
In total , there were seven exciting sessions held during WITC . Day 2 and Day 3 of the conference featured four fruitful sessions - Islamic Tourism Business Forum , Islamic Tourism Lifestyle , Islamic Tourism Scholars Forum and the Islamic Tourism Urban Forum .
Among the speakers , during Day 2 and Day 3 of WITC were Prof Dr Kim Soo-il ( Secretary-General of Tourism Promotion for Asia Pacific Cities ), Khairul Azmir Ahmad ( Director of Culture , Arts , Tourism and Sports Department at Kuala Lumpur City Hall ), Reem El Shafaki ( Partner at DinarStandard ), Dato ’ Muzammil Mohamad ( ASEAN Regional Manager of Qatar Airways ) and Riyanto Sofyan ( Chairman of Indonesia Halal Tourism Association ).
Day 3 of the conference also witnessed a special presentation by Prof Dr Jon Wilson , Director of International Business , Regent ’ s University London , United Kingdom , discussing the old and new perspectives of halal branding and reputation management .
THE SECOND SESSION on the first day of the World Islamic Tourism Conference ( WITC ) featured presentations by Turkey , Thailand , Taiwan , Japan , and Malaysia representatives . These four destinations were among the popular destinations for Islamic Tourism .
Turkish Tourism Director Begum Sahin said Turkey was the best country for Muslim travellers because of its Muslim lifestyle , as 99 per cent of its population were Muslims .
However , the country did not have a strict dressing style , making tourists more comfortable visiting the place . In addition , the prayer facilities and city busses were available everywhere in the cities .
“ We have more than 80,000 mosques now . In Istanbul alone , there are more than 3,000 ,” she said , adding the country also has rich Ottoman and Islamic Heritage and high quality affordable Muslimfriendly health tourism .
Begum then introduced GoTurkiye , Turkey ’ s first and only digital experience platform .
Richard Lim , Marketing Manager ( Malaysia & Brunei ) at Tourism Authority of Thailand , said the country was now open for tourists . Tourism was crucial for Thailand as it contributed 20 per cent to its GDP .
“ Food is never a problem in Thailand . Halal food and restaurants are easily available , especially in the big cities , even in shopping malls . It will be very easy for Muslim visitors .”
He shared some mosques and beach destinations in the country with the participants , which were among key attractions for Muslim travellers . Ko Muk , a hidden gem in Trang , was one of the beach destinations with a majority Muslim population .
“ Thailand is ready and has always been ready as a Muslim-friendly destination .”
Lim , however , told @ Halal that international tourists could only enter the country via flights at the moment .
Abe Chou , Director of Taiwan Tourism Bureau KL Office , stated that Taiwan had been in the Top 20 Non-OIC Destinations in the Global Muslim Travel Index . In 2021 , it ranked second-best non-OIC destinations for Muslim travellers . “ The sparrow may be small , but all its vital organs are there ,” he described Taiwan .
The country provides many accommodations , including super convenient public transportation to cater for the Muslim market . It even introduced the ‘ Salam Taiwan ’ campaign to attract this segment of Muslim travellers .
The campaign focused on five themes : gourmet , culture , ecology , shopping , and LOHAS ( Lifestyles of health and sustainability ).
Fumi Matsumoto , Director of Japan National Tourism Organisation ( JNTO ), revealed the country was still not open to international visitors except those on business trips . She added that the Japanese government came up with safety measurements
Dato ’ Zainuddin Abdul Wahab
Begum Sahin
Richard Lim
Abe Chou
Fumi Matsumoto
in public places , shops and restaurants to curb the spread of Covid-19 .
She shared three JNTO ’ s approaches in tackling the Muslim market : information gathering , information distribution and connecting with partners in Japan to raise awareness about the ( halal ) needs .
When asked about the partnership with local agencies in Malaysia , she said : “ We share information to local travel agents , whatever information regarding Muslim-friendly facilities that we have back in Japan .”
Matsumoto then shared two examples of Muslim-friendly areas in Japan : Okayama City and Takayama City .
As the last presenter , Dato ’ Zainuddin Abdul Wahab , Director- General of Tourism Malaysia , highlighted that Malaysia was committed to developing and promoting Islamic Tourism , domestically and internationally .
“ So , the way forward is to make sure potential target markets are continuously tapped , especially the Muslim market from the non-Muslim countries . This Muslim market is geographically dispersed .”