|July 30, 2008 22:36 PM|
PUTRAJAYA, July 30 (Bernama) -- Islamic tourism is growing in popularity as more people around the world are becoming more interested to know about the way of life in Muslim countries and the history of certain countries associated with Islamic glory.
Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said with increased awareness towards Islamic tourism, the negative perception towards the tourism industry had also changed.
"They no longer perceive tourism to be connected with vice activities," he said when closing a media workshop in conjunction with Global Islamic Tourism Conference and Exhibition (GITC) at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre, here.
The success of the tourism industry also depend on the people's awareness on the value of the industry itself, he said.
Ahmad Shabery said the media also played important role in promoting the industry.
He also said the media, in their reports, should portray not only about what they see or feel while visiting a tourism destination, but also about other things that could add value to their write-ups.
"It's also be about bridging geographical and cultural gaps, and promoting international understanding via a deeper people-to-people interaction over a period of time," he said.
Thursday July 31, 2008 MYT 12:18:32 PM
Look into Islamic tourism, says DPM
By IZATUN SHARI
The Deputy Prime Minister also proposed that relevant promoters work with international bodies, which subscribed to the same ideals and objectives.
"Malaysia should take the lead in this. I believe the time has come for some concrete efforts to galvanise our joint abilities to work on these initiatives properly," he said Thursday in his speech at the inaugural global Islamic tourism exhibition and conference here.
"But let me also warn you. Pushing a new idea through is not easy. In fact, it is never easy. Herein lies the challenge before all of you.
"If you set mental blocks within yourself, then you will not succeed. If you allow yourself to be sidetracked by petty issues, and be weighed down by baggage of old taboos and unfounded fears, then you will fail," he said in his speech read out by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman.
Najib also said promoters needed to adjust accordingly and take into account the global economic environment.
"Your initiative merits careful consideration and meticulous planning. Your initiative to push for Islamic tourism is an idea whose time has come.
"My advice is simple and straight - get your structure in place and come up with a sustainable plan of action. I am quite sure that the Government would want to support such an important initiative. We will see what we can do by way of assistance and support," he added.
Azalina said her ministry and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is in charge of religious affairs, had agreed to form a joint committee to discuss strategies to promote Islamic tourism.
She said the committee would also communicate with relevant tourism councils and state tourism committees to come up with better strategies for it.
She said strategies applied in 2007 did bring up great output in view of tremendous tourist arrivals including Muslim tourists.
Last year, she said 20.9 million tourist arrivals were recorded with tourism receipts of RM46bil.
"I was told recently that this year tourist arrivals will be affected due to the fasting month and Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays in the Middle East but I assure you next year we will come up with much better strategies."