KUALA LUMPUR: Muslim travel buffs can add Taiwan to their list of preferred destinations as the country is fast becoming more Muslim-friendly.
Apart from scenic nature parks, exciting amusement parks and lively shopping sites, there are also a number of mosques to fulfil religious obligations and halal restaurants.
Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents president Datuk Hamzah Rahmat said halal food, which used to be a main constraint, was no longer an issue.
“Just like Japan and South Korea, Taiwan is now ready for Muslim travellers from Malaysia,” Hamzah said at the opening ceremony of the 43rd travel fair yesterday.
According to Tony Wu, director of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau in Kuala Lumpur, there are now over 100 halal-certified restaurants.
“The number is rapidly growing every month,” Wu said.
He said about 30,000 Muslims travelled to Taiwan last year, hoping that it would hit 100,000 by the end of the year.
“As a moderate Muslim country, Malaysia is the doorway to tap into the larger Muslim market,” Wu said.
The Global Muslim Travel Index produced by MasterCard-CrescentRating estimated that Muslim travellers made up 10% of the overall industry at 117 million in 2015.
They are expected to reach 168 million by 2020.
Meanwhile, Perak hopes to attract 8.5 million tourists in conjunction with Visit Perak Year 2017, with its ecological wonders, history and more than 60 state-level events.
Perak Tourism, Arts and Culture Committee chairman Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohd Radzi said there had been an increase in tourists from four million in 2011 to 7.9 million in 2015.
She said there were various incentives and packages to bring in more tourists.
“They loved the food, heritage, culture and natural treasures. We hope our numerous initiatives, especially for domestic tourism, will pay off,” she said.
The fair, which ends today, has more offerings with over 1,300 booths and kiosks spread across seven halls.
Visitors can also take part in the Buyers’ Contest when they spend a minimum of RM300 on international travel packages or at least RM100 on a domestic package.
Prizes range from a roundtrip ticket to London to a RM5,000 travel voucher. Doors are open from 10am to 9pm with a RM4 entrance fee.
For more details, visit www.matta.travel.