WHEN tour operator Suhaimi Abdul Ghafar introduced ‘Islamic Cruising’ in his brochures and pamphlets, little did he know it would become an instant hit among Muslim holidaymakers.
“I coined the term to promote my tour with Star Cruises in 2014. There were so many people who came to me that I had to limit the number.
“There were 788 travellers taking my service in that year.
“This year alone, I can easily say there are more than 5,000 people who travel with us on various cruises, including the Star Cruises,” said Suhaimi, who is managing director of IntraTama Travel Consultant and Tours.
The 46-year-old received the Star Cruise Achievement Excellent Award for ‘Pioneer Muslim Product’ during the Star Cruises Partners Appreciation Night 2017 dinner on board SuperStar Libra recently.
He was among 16 travel and tour operators who received various awards during the appreciation night.
Suhaimi said many Muslims were drawn to his travel packages which were designed and arranged in accordance with Islamic principles.
“Our food is certified halal by Department of Islamic Development Malaysia.
“We also have entertainment and religious programmes that cater to Muslim travellers.
“Certain percentage of the tour fees also goes towards charity organisations,” he said, adding that they had contributed more than RM500,000 to charity since 2014.
Star Cruises president Ang Moo Lim said Islamic tours were gaining popularity around the world.
“It is heartening to see Malaysia taking the lead in organising such tours.
“Cruise liners are enjoying brisk business with record number of travellers seeking holidays of such nature, rather than the conventional travel by air to holiday destinations,” said Ang.
He said Genting Dream, which is the company’s biggest cruise liner, would be a game changer as it offers a wide range of special features and comfort.
He said the premier cruise liner has 35 restaurants and bars, entertainment facilities such as theatres, bowling and climbing park, as well as plenty of space for other activities.
During the event, the world’s funniest man Harith Iskander was also present to keep the guests entertained.