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Malaysia’s prominent role in Halal tourism

Malaysia – the top-ranked destination for Muslim travellers – has always been a prominent centre for Muslim Travelers. With the country's population comprising over 60% Muslims, Malaysia's tourism policy stands on ensuring a hassle-free travel experience for all Muslim travellers and to offer them an environment which is in line with their lifestyles.

Malaysia has been a frontrunner in the Halal industry for a very long time. It was one of the first countries to realize the potential of Muslim tourism and responded to it quickly by enhancing and upgrading the facilities and services offered by them to Muslim travellers so that they were in accordance with their religious beliefs.

At present, almost all of the country’s major hotels, restaurants and shopping malls are equipped with the facilities and amenities required by Muslim travellers. A large majority of hotels offer prayer facilities – such as designated prayer rooms, prayer mats and timetables and Qiblah sighs marked in rooms – for Muslim guests for prayers. Most shopping malls house Halal restaurants as well as prayer rooms to ensure a hassle-free shopping experience for Muslim shoppers. Halal food can be readily found across the country and an increasing number of restaurants have Halal certification.

Malaysian tourism has also launched a campaign to reach out to Muslim travellers from the Middle East and to help them feel at home. Travellers to Kuala Lumpur - the capital of the country - will discover a separate mini Arab town area named Ain Arabia that captures the feel of Arabic and Middle Eastern cultures.

Malaysia has identified the month of August – which has been labelled the Arab season – to see a significant rise of Middle Eastern travellers to the country. This is usually the hottest period in the Gulf States. As such they travel to other destinations with their families – be it for leisure or shopping pursuits.

In January, Malaysian Brahim’s Holdings Bhd - the largest in-flight Halal food provider in the world - was contacted by the Japanese airline ANA Holdings Inc to provide on-board Halal Japanese cuisine for ANA flights. Similarly, other airlines in Japan are also offering deals to Malaysian Halal food service providers to provide Halal Japanese cuisine.

The popularity of Muslim friendly tourism has spread across the globe, with Malaysia being a clear front runner. The Muslim market is expected to increase to about $200 billion by 2020, making it one of the fastest growing travel market segments in the world.