Islamic tourism to woo visitors to Malaysia

By Izzud deen Redzuan

KUALA LUMPUR, 19 March 2015: The familiarisation trip to ‘Kuala Lumpur’s Mosque in the Garden,’ organised by the Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur in collaboration with the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) has successfully been conducted today with full house attendance by the participants.

In mid-2009 the Masjid Wilayah had initiated the Masjid Tour Programme (MTP) and the effort continued until today by volunteers, aimed at introducing the Masjid as one of Malaysia’s premier Islamic tourism highlights and to promote the uniqueness of the Masjid’s architecture.

At the opening of the programme today, the chairperson, Azizah Mohd. Noor started by introducing in her speech the topic “Architecture reflects faith: The mosque tour programme”.

In her remarks she emphasised two reasons why the MTP has been organised. Firstly, the beauty of the Masjid Wilayah’s architecture that has the rich tradition and influence of the Ottoman, Persian, Moroccan and Indian culture with combination of Malay designs.

Secondly, the dedication of family volunteers who conducted free tour of the Masjid. In 2009, it started with four people and the number had grown tremendously over the years to about 50 active volunteers to entertain tourists from almost 90 countries.

To this end, she was expecting more volunteers to come from university students or other sectors, especially those who are multilingual or can speak various languages to help guide the tourists and introduce the heritage of Islam in Malaysia.

The morning’s schedule was enlightened with Dr. Mansoor’s speech entitled “The masjid visitor: the Malaysian takeaway.” He called on the media to publicise and spread the good news of Islamic tourism to get more tourists and to achieve the government’s targets in getting visitors from top five countries – South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, France and India.

He is happy with the volunteers’ commitment who spent hours with visitors throughout the day and created the feeling of mutual relationships. The repeat visitors to the Masjid Wilayah showed the success of this programme. He expressed the hope that everyone would get the exposure and to enjoy the tour as well as to be able to understand the concept of the Masjid. By any mean, not only a place for praying but also the place for socialising.

He also said that the Masjid Wilayah is planning to conduct one year one country programme starting this year with South Korea. This programme will show the halal cuisine, an Islamic tradition at the host country and their culture.

This effort is to create impartial understanding of Islamic tourism concerns at international level and to use tourism as a mean to promote goodwill among mankind.

Last year, Malaysia had witnessed about 4400 visitors to the Masjid and the number is expected to grow this year as Malaysia is currently the Chair of ASEAN for 2015.

The government and ITC will be focusing on Islamic tourism products in the light of the 250 million Muslims living in the ASEAN countries. ***

Photo taken by Hamka Rosli

Izzud deen Redzuan

Managing Editor of IIUMToday 2014 - 2016 and weekly volunteers at Rohingya's school as well as homeless projects.

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