IPOH: With the newly signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) for Muslim-friendly tourism, the Ipoh City Council aims to draw at least 150,000 Muslim tourists next year.
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad said the MOU is a significant action taken by MBI to further boost tourism in Perak, especially in Ipoh, next year.
“According to the 2022 Domestic Tourist Survey conducted by the Malaysian Statistics Department, Perak was among the top five states with the highest number of local tourists totaling up to 14.6 million.
“Therefore to further boost the state tourism sector, we will always welcome all ideas and opinions from all parties, especially tourism players, to further strengthen the sector,” he said.
Saarani’s speech was read by Perak Local Government and Housing Committee chairman Sandrea Ng at the MOU ceremony between the city council and other local authorities in Perak such as Kuala Kangsar, Batu Gajah, and Kampar, as well as the Kangar Municipal Council in Perlis and the Alor Setar City Council from Kedah held at M Roof Hotel, here on Tuesday (Nov 21)
The MOU also includes the Islamic Tourism Centre, Centre for Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand (CIMT) Growth Triangle Subregional Cooperation, Malaysia's national Unesco commission director, the Hatyai Deputy Mayor from Thailand, and the Aceh II Commission Head from Indonesia.
Saarani said the MOU will not only boost Ipoh’s name as a Muslim-friendly tourism spot but also draw more domestic and international tourists to the city.
On Aug 18, Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Khairul Firdaus Akhbar Khan said 3.2 million international Muslim Tourists are expected to visit Malaysia this year.
This was out of 15 million tourists with a forecast RM49.2bil in receipt spending.
During the press conference, Sandrea said the state is working on improving the condition of its Sultan Azlan Shah Airport as part of the effort to gain more tourists.
“We understand that now the airport only has one international route, which is Singapore. We are working on upgrading the airport facilities which includes adding more flights from neighbouring countries.
“We hope that there will be an update as soon as possible,” she said.
On Jun 6, state Tourism, Industry, Investment and Corridor Development Committee chairman Loh Sze Yee said the government plans to have more direct international flights to the state to encourage foreign tourist arrivals in conjunction with Visit Perak Year (TMP) 2024 and to boost its tourism industry.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke had, on Oct 29, said that he had requested Singapore’s low-cost airline Scoot to add more flights between the republic and Ipoh.
Meanwhile, Ipoh Mayor Datuk Rumaizi Baharin, who was also present, said the MOU will focus on promoting the city’s products.
“Our two main products will be gastronomy and culture.
“Making Ipoh a Muslim-friendly tourist destination doesn’t mean that it is only for Muslim tourists.
"We are now looking to penetrate the Indonesia and Thailand markets and this MOU will help us achieve our goal,” he added.