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Published on : Friday, May 29, 2015
Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) Director General Zulkifly Md Said said the country received 5.5 million Muslim travellers last year, with the number likely to reach six million this year.
“Industry players should step up efforts to promote Islamic tourism as the potential of the huge segment cannot be ignored,” he told reporters at a tourism-related halal industry seminar in Penang.
Zulkifly urged Malaysian travel agents to capture the opportunities in the segment, saying countries like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are eagerly promoting Islamic tour packages.
He said in 2013, spending by Saudi tourists in Malaysia hit US$17.8 billion, followed by tourists from Iran (US$14.3 billion), the United Arab Emirates (US$11.2 billion), Qatar (US$7.8 billion) and Kuwait (US$7.7 billion).
Zulkifly quoted a report saying the global Muslim traveller market in terms of spending was valued at US$138 billion in 2013 and is expected to increase to US$238 billion by 2020.
He noted Malaysia has been acknowledged by the global Muslim community as the friendliest destination for Muslim travellers due to its complete infrastructure, from proper prayer facilities to halal food and beverages as well as rich Islamic history and cultural heritage.