It is vital for destinations and tourism industry players to establish a foothold in the Muslim tourism market and make a significant push forward
by AUFA MARDHIAH / pic TMR
THE Muslim tourism industry accounts for around 20% of Malaysia’s tourist arrivals and earnings.
With an international and local line-up of 40 speakers and moderators, the World Islamic Tourism Conference (WITC) returns for the third time this year, with the aim of spearheading the development of Islamic tourism in Malaysia.
Organised by the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC), the conference will be held from Oct 17 to 19 to emphasise the socio-economic growth benefits of tapping into the Muslim tourism industry.
Responding to the potential of the Muslim tourism industry, ITC DG Datuk Dr Mohmed Razip Hasan stated that the ITC has been studying and tracking the rise of the Muslim tourist market.
“Malaysia has been seeing a good rise until 2019, when the epidemic struck. It accounted for around 20% of Malaysia’s tourist arrivals and earnings, it’s a dynamic market.
“People are returning to travel, even Muslim visitors. It’s an essential market to explore for several reasons, one of which is that they are geographically dispersed throughout South-East Asia and Europe, not just the Middle East.
“You might argue that it’s a global tourist market that’s immune to location-specific disruptions,” he said in a statement.
With “Islamic Tourism: Inspiring Balance, Transformations and Solutions” as its theme, the conference is expected to re-energise and motivate tourism industry players toward strategic action and tourism recovery by recognising the Muslim tourist market potential as a socio-economic engine.
Mohmed Razip explained that the idea behind the theme is to influence a new way of thinking, followed by synergistic and collaborative action.
“As we enter the tourism recovery phase, it is vital for destinations and tourism industry players to establish a foothold in the market and make a significant push forward, as the tourist scenario presently differs from that which existed before to the pandemic.
“We are faced with new tourism preferences, advancements in technology, a changing workforce and working trends, climate issues, geopolitical challenges and more.
“Industry players need the knowledge and a different way of thinking to thrive in this post-pandemic environment. The conference will bring together some of the best minds from various industry backgrounds to weigh in on the matter.
“There are vast benefits in tourism, specifically when we deliver to the burgeoning Muslim tourist market. New businesses can evolve, products and services can expand, new jobs can be created, more people can benefit,” he explained.
According to Mohmed Razip, Islamic tourism strives to bring new perspectives that promote a healthy human development index consisting of excellent healthcare, education and a decent standard of living, as well as a focus on environment, social and governance through best practices within the tourism, travel and hospitality supply chains.
“To add value to the WITC brand, this year, we’re introducing an exhibition element to the conference. About 50 to 80 tourism businesses, products and services will be showcased. It’s an opportunity to connect and collaborate with tourism industry players,” he added.
Mohmed Razip highlighted that WITC this year will feature nine sessions: Islamic Tourism Corporate Forum, Islamic Tourism Destination Showcase, Islamic Tourism Economy Forum, Islamic Tourism Youth Discussions, Islamic Tourism Urban and Sustainability Forum, Islamic Tourism Technology Dialogue, Islamic Tourism Cultural Exchange, Islamic Tourism Standards and Certifications Discourse, and Islamic Tourism Education Forum.
Additionally, the conference will also feature a “Travel Mart” component for the first time for tourism industry players to leverage on business-to-business opportunities within the Islamic tourism space.
This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition