GEORGE TOWN, Nov 26 — The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) is developing initiatives and strategic plans to make pondok (Islamic religious shelter) schools as part of the country’s tourist attraction.
Its Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said as a Muslim-friendly travel destination, Malaysia has a diverse range of potentially significant tourism resources.
According to him, the ministry in collaboration with the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) is actively developing initiatives and strategies to attract Muslim tourists seeking for products and services that take into account their faith.
“Among the strategies in empowering the Islamic tourism industry is to create these pondok or shelter schools as an edu-tourism product and to recognise Muslim-friendly tourism accommodation premises,” he said in his opening speech at the 2019 National Imam Conference which was read out by ITC director- general Datuk Seri Abdul Khani Daud here today.
“In line with this we want to promote pondok schools which could offer accommodation as well as a specific syllabus to be packaged as a product,” he said.
He added that five mosques in the country have been listed in TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards as among the Top 10 Landmarks in Malaysia since 2016 to date.
The mosques are the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque in Shah Alam, Selangor, Putra Mosque in Putrajaya, Zahir Mosque in Alor Setar, Kedah and Melaka Straits Mosque in Melaka.
Meanwhile, Abdul Khani said ITC was conducting a study to identify the pondok schools that could be integrated into the tourism marketing plan.
He said the schools to be selected should be able to accommodate students from abroad for long- and short-term studies. — Bernama