The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) is targeting 3.2 million Muslim tourist arrivals in the country this year compared to 2.1 million last year.

Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan said the number is 20 per cent of the 16.1 million foreign tourists targeted this year with total tourism income amounting to RM49.2 billion from RM5.37 billion the previous year.

He said the ambition could be achieved if players in the Muslim tourism industry played their roles collectively and holistically to complement the role of the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC).

“Although this year we are targeting 16 million foreign tourist arrivals, we are confident that it will exceed that and Muslim tourists will also increase because our advantage is being a pioneer in Muslim Friendly Tourism and Hospitality (MFTH) in addition to the majority of the population being Muslims.

“Muslim tourists are a growing market in the tourism industry and that is why we emphasise on MFTH so that local players can further expand their offering as one of the added values of the Islamic tourism industry in the country,” he said at a media conference after the launch of the 2023 Islamic Tourism Month (ITM) here today.

Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad officiated the programme which was also attended by State Tourism, Industry, Investment and Corridor Development Committee chairman Loh Sze Yee and ITC director-general Nizran Noordin.

Khairul Firdaus said the country is indeed famous as a Muslim tourist destination, but the government sees facilities and services that need to be improved to attract more foreign tourists.

“We need to understand the needs and preferences of Muslim tourists and how to adapt them and harmonise products other than services to meet those needs and the effort still hasn’t reached its maximum level yet but we will try again through ITC.

“Similarly, we often overlook promoting Muslim tourism in Muslim-minority countries because these segment actually also wants to experience what MFTH’s approach is and we will work towards that in due time,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency