News From : DagangHalal.com (20 Nov 2009)
KUNMING, Nov 20 (Bernama) — Malaysia will step up the promotion of Muslim tour packages, including Ramadan attractions, for the Chinese market, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.
“The number of Chinese Muslim tourists to Malaysia in year 2003 was 50,000 and the figure has gone up to 94,000 people last year. With the high volume of Chinese tourists, I believe that promoting Islamic tourism among Chinese Muslims has great potential,” she said at a dialogue Thursday with Muslim leaders and tour operators in her 12-day working trip to China.
Ng said the packages could incorporate visits to mosques and promotions during the Ramadan month such as halal food stalls and hotel buffets during the period.
“Malaysia has Islamic banking and is a halal food hub which could be advantageous in promoting Islamic tourism. Besides that, Chinese Muslim travel agents could also bring their customers to attend exhibition on halal products organised in Malaysia,” she added.
Ng also encouraged Chinese Muslim tour operators to look into the potential of Malaysian Muslim tourists to China apart from travelling to the Middle East.
For example, she said, Malaysian Muslims could take holidays in southwestern Yunnan province, to enjoy the four seasons of the year.
Amee, a Chinese tour operator who attended the dialogue with Dr Ng, said the 20 million Muslim population in China was a strong potential market and tour operators here had been working together with Tourism Malaysia in recent years.
He said religious travel, education travel, family holidays and the “Malaysia My Second Home” programme were the main draws.
Dr Ng also led a delegation to the opening of the 11th China International Travel Mart (CITM) on Thursday attended by 94 countries and visited the Malaysian pavilion and exhibitors.
With Chinese arrivals to Malaysia totalling 835,000 in October, she hoped that the target of one million Chinese tourists could be achieved this year.
Dr Ng also attended the inaugural China-Asean Tourism Cooperation Forum and called on Shao Qiwei, China National Tourism Administration chairman.
She spoke of the need for a task force to look into China-Asean tourism cooperation and to discuss measures for government agencies and the private sector.
“We need to sit down to look at packages and inter-border discussion about issues in the immigration process. I hope that during the meeting of the tourism ministers from China-Asean, which will be held in January next year in Brunei, we can focus on the discussion regarding this matter,” she said during her meeting with Shao.
She said that apart from promoting travel, her ministry was looking into developing investments in the tourism in dustry by working with Malaysia’s International Trade and Industry Ministry.
Shao supported Dr Ng’s views on greater China-Asean tourism cooperation and the need for tourism ministers in the region to work closely on developing the regional tourism industry, with the China-Asean free trade agreement to be in place next year.
From Choi Wen Fei