ITC Grooming The Next Generation To Uphold Sustainable Islamic Tourism Development
The young generation is the key to revitalising the tourism industry and driving the Islamic Tourism concept forward. This was the main message conveyed by Dato’ Dr. Mohmed Razip Haji Hasan, Director-General of Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) in the online talk show, #ApaKhabarTourism, hosted by Datuk Azlie Halim, Founder of Santai Travel. Held on 26 July 2021, the show was organised in collaboration with Universiti Malaysia Kelantan and saw a significant number of its tourism students from the Hospitality, Tourism and Wellness Faculty among the online audience
Dato’ Dr. Mohmed Razip voiced great optimism for the role of youths in leading Malaysia in the Islamic Tourism and Muslim-Friendly Tourism and Hospitality landscape and encouraged them to learn more about the niche market and their requirements.
He said: “There are lot of opportunities of Muslim travel market within our reach. There is a significant number of Muslims in Brunei, Indonesia, and Singapore. As travellers, they expect high-quality tourism experiences that emphasise on services, cleanliness, safety, and other qualities that are all hallmarks of the Islamic Tourism concept. Past data has shown that the Muslim tourist market accounts for 20% of all tourist arrivals in Malaysia. This is a significant number and a chance we should not pass up.”
In 2019, Malaysia welcomed more than 5.3 million Muslim tourists to its shores contributing to RM16.72 billion in Muslim tourist receipts. The top five inbound markets to Malaysia were Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Saudi Arabia, and India.
While tourist arrivals in 2020 had declined due to the pandemic, Dato’ Dr. Mohmed Razip felt that the market would rebound once borders re-opened. “The industry will bounce back, it will continue to be relevant, and we must prepare for the future now.”
“Once the pandemic is over and tourism business is back on track, the question is who will take over. The future will present a tremendous tourism potential, but we need people to manage it. As such, the students who are in the field of tourism today play an important role in developing Islamic Tourism,” he emphasised
Dato’ Dr. Mohmed Razip informed the audience that in the Global Muslim Travel Index 2021, Malaysia had retained the №1 spot among 140 countries ranked for their Muslim-friendliness across four key factors namely accessibility, communications, environment, and services
He advised the youth to prepare themselves well to uphold Malaysia’s achievements in the industry and ensure that the destination continued to be preferred by Muslims worldwide. “The mindset and manner of thinking of the younger generation must be sharpened. They should develop their character, train their mind, equip themselves with leadership skills, and be innovative,” he said.
He said the youth is living in an era with such advanced technology that information, communications, and social media could all be leveraged for the enhancement of Islamic Tourism
Dato’ Dr. Mohmed Razip stated that the current leadership and professionals in the tourism industry should play a role in guiding the next generation and providing opportunities for them to learn about the industry. Tour guides, for example, could provide training and talks to share their experiences with students.
The role of academicians, too, was touched upon in the talk. Dato’ Dr. Mohmed Razip said that suitable modules focused on Islamic Tourism and its potentials would provide a strong foundation
Dato’ Dr. Mohmed Razip concluded that ITC was keen to collaborate with potential partners in what he called the development of a pioneering generation of Islamic Tourism champions, an initiative that was committed to the capacity building of youths or young adults that encouraged high-level thinking in paving new paths in Islamic Tourism