@ Halal | March-April . 2021
| @ Halal says ... | The challenge begins ; win it
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With the Covid-19 vaccines rolling out the world over , it is expected that tourism would be ignited again .
Thailand , for instance , recently announced they would be accepting vaccinated tourists into Phuket .
That would be the order of the day , but now popularly known as “ the new norm ”.
Islamic tourism would not be left out of the race . Muslim countries would now be jostling for positions , for their place in the sun . All that pent-up energy , the urge to travel and especially the knotted purse-strings for over a year would now be cut loose .
Where will Muslim tourists go ? Which would be their favourite Muslim-friendly destinations be ? It is a no-brainer . MALAYSIA . Consider this :
• The global Muslim population has surpassed three billion .
• The Muslim population has the fastest growth rate .
• The growth drivers are Saudi Arabia , UAE , Indonesia , China , Malaysia , India and Singapore .
• In 2019 , before the pandemic hit , Muslim travel was worth US $ 194 billion ( that ’ s almost RM1 trillion ).
Malaysia ’ s Islamic Tourism Centre ( ITC ) has been in overdrive . They knew this day would come when the demand for Muslim- destinations would be staggering . And they will have to be ready when that happens .
True , there would be apprehensions . Would-be travellers will not dive right in . Caution would prevail , and yet , it is a reality . Muslim travellers ’ budgets would open up even more now that Japan has announced they will not accept foreign spectators for the Tokyo Olympics this year .
The needs of Muslim travellers are simple :
1 . Places for prayers . 2 . Halal food .
In both aspects , Malaysia is streets ahead of most , if not all , other Muslim countries .
There are mosques and suraus in every Malaysian district . Halal food and beverage ( F & B ) outlets are on every street corner .
And more … Malaysia is a melting pot of diverse races , religions and cultures . Not something you get everywhere .
There you go , ITC . The fruits of Islamic tourism are ripe for the picking . The time is now . The private sector too should rise to the occasion .
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