Malaysia maintains top spot as premier destination for Muslim travellers in GMTI report


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia retained its top position as the premier destination for Muslim travellers after receiving over 4.5 million Muslim international arrivals in 2023, says the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC).

This marks the ninth time Malaysia maintained its top spot in the Mastercard-Crescentrating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2024 report that was released on Thursday (May 30).

The country was also named as the “Top Muslim-Friendly Destination of the Year (OIC)” for the second year running at the Halal in Travel Awards 2024 held in Singapore on Thursday.

The arrivals had also generated RM14.70bil in revenue for the country in 2023, according to a press release by ITC on Thursday.

With borders reopening worldwide, the latest GMTI report also forecasted the market to grow significantly with an estimated 230 million Muslim travellers expected by 2028 from 160 million in 2019.

“Malaysia's popularity among Muslim travellers stems from its accessibility to Halal food and faith-related facilities and services, beautiful beaches, diverse culture, and incredible shopping experiences.

“Additionally, it offers a wide range of Muslim-friendly tour packages, allowing tourists to experience the country's rich history, mosque architecture, heritage, gastronomy, nature, arts and culture,” it said.

ITC director-general Nizran Noordin praised the achievement as a recognition of the country’s Muslim-Friendly tourist industry player as he reassured the government’s efforts to further grow the industry.

“This recognition is a testament to the dedication of industry practitioners and stakeholders in advocating for the Muslim-Friendly Tourism and Hospitality (MFTH) sector.

“We remain dedicated to championing MFTH on both local and global scales,” he said in his acceptance speech at the launch of GMTI 2024 on Thursday.

Nizran also noted the importance of having a standard Muslim-friendly tourism and encouraged all industry players to work with ITC in its efforts to develop the industry.

“I would like to urge industry players to come on board with ITC for this Muslim-friendly marking to champion just one Muslim-Friendly Tourism and Hospitality Assurance and Recognition logo.

“We need to establish MFAR as a global brand and common logo that we all can refer to, and market it together to make the world more inclusive,” he added.

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