KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 (Bernama) -- Sustaining the development of Islamic tourism, a new segment that is growing rapidly, can contribute to the growth of the tourism industry not only in Malaysia but also globally, said Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board Director-General, Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab.
He said other countries' experiences showed that the sustainable factor
was easier to incorporate at the initial stages of tourism development. He noted that leaving sustainability unchecked could boost the industry
quickly but the issue of sustenance would arise and pulling back (from
the growth) was difficult.
"So it's better to start off with the sustainable factor included at
Some countries grew so quickly in the tourism industry
but they couldn't sustain the development. "As a result, those countries that started slow, can continue to grow
and sustain it," he told a press conference after officiating a short
course under the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programe (MTCP), here
The course, themed 'Understanding and Embracing Opportunities for
Sustainable Tourism', is organised by the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC),
an agency under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, in collaboration
with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The course which is being held from June 8 to 20 at the De Palma Hotel,
Ampang here, sees the participation of 24 government officials from 18
countries, 13 of which are the members of the Organisation of Islamic
Cooperation (OIC) including Egypt, Palestine, Tunisia, Oman and Morocco.
Earlier, the Director General in his speech had also said that the
economic and other social benefits available in the sector at the moment
need to be optimized without jeopardising similar benefits in the
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Islamic Tourism Centre, Zulkifly
Md Said in his welcoming remarks said that there has been a steady
increase of Muslim tourist arrivals in Malaysia. "There were only about 1.37 million Muslim visitors to Malaysia in
2000. The number however grew in 2010 to 4.7 million and in 2013, the
estimated number of Muslim visitors to Malaysia was 5.22 million or
20.33 per cent of the total tourist arrivals in Malaysia," he said.
According to him, the majority of these Muslim tourists were from the
Middle East countries, Indonesia, Singapore, Pakistan and Turkey, who
came for various purposes other than leisure such as attending
conferences, medical tourism and shopping.
He also noted that Malaysia has been voted as the top Muslim-friendly
holiday destination among OIC member states for four years in a row
through an online survey conducted by Singapore-based travel consulting
The ITC was set up in 2009 to facilitate the Ministry of Tourism then,
as well as the stakeholders on market intelligence and capacity building
in the areas of Muslim market segment.