PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia is the best place for Muslims around the world to come for a holiday, Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said.
“We are proud to say Malaysia is a world leader in catering to the needs of Muslim tourists.
“We are successful in this niche travel market, thanks to our facilities and the diverse holiday packages tailored to Muslim needs.
“These include packages offering Ramadan bazaars, Quran recitals and circumcision packages carried out together with homestay programmes,” she said at a press conference here yesterday.
The media event was to announce the World Islamic Tourism Mart Malaysia International Tourism Exchange (WITM-MITE 2013) that will be held at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur from June 6 to June 9.
Present were Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Mohd Khalid Harun and My Events International group chief executive officer Shahul Hameed Shaik Dawood, representing the organisers.
Dr Ng quoted a recent report by Singapore-based Muslim travel consultancy group Crescentrating that rated Malaysia as the world's top Muslim-friendly holiday destination.
The survey put Malaysia ahead of Egypt, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.
The study ranked countries on how well they cater to the growing number of Muslim holidaymakers seeking halal food and services.
It used criteria that included the level of safety in a country, the ease of access to halal food and prayer facilities, and whether hotels cater to the needs of Muslim guests.
On a scale of one to 10, Malaysia came up tops with a grade of 8.3 among 50 nations surveyed.
The survey, released last month, reported that Malaysia is one of the few countries where a traveller can find a prayer place in almost every location be it a shopping mall or the airport.
The study also reported that spending by Muslim tourists is growing faster than the global rate and is forecast to reach US$192bil (RM672bil) a year by 2020, up from US$126bil (RM441bil) in 2011.
Dr Ng said about 21.7% of tourist arrivals in Malaysia, or 5.44 million, had originated from Muslim countries.
“Muslims make up about 1.6 billion of the world population and they are now world travellers,” she said.
On the WITM-MITE 2013 event, Dr Ng said it was expected to draw some 20,000 visitors.
She said participants from at least 25 countries had registered for the event.
Dr Ng also launched the tourism calendar of events and festivals for 2013-2014, which can be downloaded from the websites of the ministry and Tourism Malaysia.
The print version of the calendar is available at all Tourism Malaysia offices and tourist information centres nationwide.
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