Anticipating a share of Islamic tourism, a new deal has been reached between the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) and the Islamic Tourism Centre to lure more Muslim tourists to the Asian country in 2014.
“We hope to increase the Islamic tourist arrivals to 30%,” Tourism and Culture ministry secretary-general Dr Ong Hong Peng said while reading the statement by Minister Mohamed Nazri Aziz, The star reported on Sunday, January 5.
“This, in return, will provide significant economic returns to Malaysia as well as creating employment opportunities to graduates,” he added.
The new deal was signed in a bid to make the country the premier hub for Muslim tourists in 2014.
According to the memorandum of understanding (MoU), it is expected to generate cooperation in various fields including, internship, attachments and the mobility of staff.
It also seeks cooperation in other fields such as tourism, culture, skills upgrading and joint research and publication, peng added.
With more than five million Muslims tourist in 2013 out of 25.03 million tourists, Muslims are key players for the Malaysian tourism counting for about 22%.
The new deal comes as Malaysia launches its new campaign, Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY).
“In order to achieve our targets of attracting 28 million tourists and generating RM76bil tourist receipts in 2014, let us begin by welcoming the world with our open hearts and minds,” Nazri, the Tourism and Culture Minister, said at Dataran Merdeka square.
He added that this year’s theme, “Celebrating 1Malaysia, Truly Asia”, was a reflection of the nation’s rich cultural and heritage diversity, as well as its peace, stability and warm Malaysian hospitality.
A recent study released by Singapore-based halal travel specialist Crescentrating and DinarStandard has expected influx of Muslim holidaymakers over the next decade.
The study, conducted in 47 countries, found that spending by Muslim tourists is growing faster than the global rate and is forecast to reach $192 billion a year by 2020, up from $126 billion in 2011.