Malaysia's diverse cuisine heritage has the potential to attract a growing international Muslim tourism segment, said the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC).
ITC director-general Datuk Dr Mohmed Razip Hasan said the local cuisines here can be a huge draw for Muslim tourists looking for halal and unique food experiences.
He cited beef rendang as an example of a classic Malaysian dish that could be promoted to travellers.
Mohmed added that accessibility to a variety of halal food will be a great draw for Muslim visitors to the country.
“What’s special about Malaysia is not only in the diversity of food choices but also the fact that halal food is easily available.
“This is something worth highlighting to Muslims around the world because we understand that for Muslims, both locals and tourists, this (halal food) is especially important to them, ” he said in a statement.
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“From a Muslim tourist’s point of view, when accessibility to halal food is present in a particular destination, consequently it will make their visit here more welcoming, more comfortable, culminating in a positive experience of Malaysia, ” he explained.
Mohmed said tourism industry players need to work together to make Malaysia an attractive destination for Muslims.
“I see the opportunities where travel agents, tourist guides, hotels, and restaurants can collaborate to create packages that are catered to the niche Muslim tourist market, ” he said.
ITC, an agency under the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry, is tasked to develop the Islamic tourism segment for Malaysia.
Malaysia has been consistently ranked the top country for Muslim-friendly travel.
Malaysia took the top spot, together with Indonesia, in the 2019 Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI).
The GMTI tracked the health and growth of Muslim-friendly travel destinations in four strategic areas – access, communications, environment and services.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Muslim travel market had been one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in the world.
CrescentRating, a leading authority on halal-friendly travel, predicted that Muslim visitors globally are forecast to grow to 230 million visitors, to represent more than 10% of tourists worldwide, by 2026.