Saturday, 23 February 2019

Focus on potential of knowledge and religious tourism with Indonesia

CIREBON (WEST JAVA), Feb 21 (Bernama) -- The prospect of the tourism industry should not be solely conceptualised on leisure and shopping, it should in fact focus on knowledge and religious tourism.

Tour packages with elements of religious and knowledge activities are seen as having a huge potential to attract tourists from Indonesia, a country with 260 million population.

The Malaysian Tourism Council deputy president Datuk Sahariman Hamdan said more than 80 per cent of the people in Indonesia are Muslims and tour agents should be proactive in providing new suitable packages.

"Programmes such umrah packages to the Holy Land for example could help ease the constraint of flights in Indonesia which could not accommodate the demand of its people and it should be seen as a huge potential by Malaysian tour agents.

“Apart from that, there are many religious boarding schools in Indonesia and Malaysia and they could be promoted as a new prospect for tour packages based on knowledge tours” he told Bernama here.

Sahariman who was speaking at the "Malaysia-Indonesia: Tourism Gathering Tasikmalaya/Cirebon" programme organised by Tourism Malaysia in Indonesia, added that Tourism Malaysia had identified more 1,000 such active religious centres in Tasikmalaya and Cirebon in West Java.

“Tour agents should be active in offering such packages apart from touring to other attractive places as well as knowledge centres involving popular local religious personalities to share their knowledge.

“Tour packages should be modified with shopping as secondary activities while highlighting knowledge activities will be more beneficial,” he said.

Meanwhile, ATS Global Travel & Charter Sdn Bhd chief executive officer, Azizie Othman said companies managing packages and flight tickets for umrah in the Holy Land should look at Indonesia as a huge prospect in this sector.

“Last year, we managed the visits of more than 10,000 Indonesian pilgrims to the Holy Land for umrah.

"Many of our customers are from Jakarta, Pekan Baru, Padang, Medan, Surabaya and Bandung, and we are targeting more than 12,000 this year and will explore new areas such as Tasikmalaya and Cirebon," he said.

Indonesia Tourism Malaysia director, Roslan Othman said they are now focusing on new potential areas in Indonesia with the cooperation of regional and district authorities to promote the tourism industry between the two countries for mutual benefits.

“We hope to receive more than 3.4 million tourists from Indonesia to Malaysia in 2019 and as such Malaysian tour agents should be creative and proactive to offer new packages to Indonesian tourists,” he said.

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