Interview with Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture Malaysia during the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, 2017.
Holiday Guide magazine, published from Dubai promotes bi-lateral trade and tourism ties between Middle East and other countries through the publication of special magazines highlighting trade and tourism potential of selected countries to inform the Middle East audiences about trade and tourism opportunities available in the selected country.
Visitors from Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Indonesia are among the top visitors from Muslim countries to Malaysia. Easy availability of “halal” food prepared to Islamic standards, and the provision of prayer rooms at airports, shopping malls and hotels, has attracted a growing number of Muslim tourists to Malaysia.
With Muslim traveller expenditure expected to reach $233 billion by 2020, the travel industry is already realising the value in attracting such visitors. Travellers from the Middle East have been patronising hotels and resorts in Malaysia since the early 1990s. The recent rating of Malaysia as the world’s fourth best shopping haven by CNN along with the recent depreciation of Malaysian Ringgit has made the country even more attractive as a must go-to destination for shopping and entertainment.
While there was a double-digit decline in the number of Middle Eastern arrivals in 2015, most notably from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, of which tourist figures plummeted 20.2 percent, 12.4 percent and 23.9 percent, respectively, this year is looking much more promising. Propelled by high demand during the summer months, hotels reported a 10 percent year-on-year surge in guests from the Middle East during the summer season.