YBhg Dato’ Mokd Khalid Harun
President of MATTA & Patron of WITM 2012
Puan Zarinah Hashim
Chairwoman, WITM 2012
Members of the MATTA Executive Council
Members of the Media
Salam 1 Malaysia and Welcome.
First and foremost, allow me to extend my sincere appreciation to the organisers for their kind invitation to my office to officiate this event.
Malaysia has over the past few years, hosted many international events be it in the tourism sector or in other trade and industry sectors. Malaysia has certainly proven itself to be a capable organiser of these world-class events.
With our world-class exhibition and hotel facilities, not to mention other supporting world class infrastructure, Malaysia and especially Kuala Lumpur is fast becoming a preferred trade and exhibition destination. The geographical location of Malaysia located at the mid-point between the southern and northern hemispheres and between Greater Asia and the West with comfortingly warm year-round tropical weather and a stable political and economic environment makes us amongst the world’s preferred event destination.
Thus, coming soon in May & June of 2012, Malaysia will once again play host to an international event, the World Islamic Tourism Mart (WITM 2012) with the objective of enhancing and unlocking the great potential that Muslim tourism has. At the same time, events like WITM 2012 could help in making Malaysia, the Islamic business & tourism hub for this region.
For your information, WITM 2012 is organised by MATTA to cater to the expanding Muslim tourism market not only in this country but worldwide. Muslims make up about 1.6 billion of the world’s population and have over the years become more observant to Islam’s tenets andcertainly more affluent. This has led to a very large consumers’ market that is yet to be fully explored or tapped into. Even travel agents that are not Bumiputra or Muslim owned have set up their own Muslim tour departments.
WHY? Because they too have realised the potential of Muslim tourism. Therefore, I believe that WITM 2012 will help you and the tourism industry to realise this potential to a greater degree.
In my opinion, MATTA with its proven track record for organising successful events will make WITM 2012 the benchmark not only for Muslim tourism but for the local tourism industry as a whole.
Furthermore, WITM 2012 provides an opportunity to network. As such, I would encourage the various tourism industry sectors to network and create new joint-ventures that offer ever more exciting Muslim travel packages. There are still many destinations that could benefit from a unique Muslim sightseeing tour. A good package that includes halal food, the observance and ease of performing the solah as well as visiting historical Islamic sites and meeting other Muslims of different cultures could be a hot seller.
The Ministry of International Trade & Industry is proud to lend its support to WITM 2012. We encourage more Malaysian organisations to stage international events of all interests and sizes in Malaysia that will ultimately increase the inflow of visitors and increase the opportunity for Malaysian products and services to be showcased to an international audience.
Undoubtedly, The Muslim tourism market is an emerging market with huge potential. With a global population of 1.6 billion, and a combined GDP of USD 1.8 trillion, the Muslim tourist could reshape tourism as we know it.With that in mind, events like WITM 2012 are indeed heading in the right direction to make Malaysia the preferred business & tourism hub and to tap into the Muslim travel market. Being a majority Muslim country, Malaysia has that advantage in this region and we should look at supporting and participating in events like WITM 2012 so that we do not miss out on this golden opportunity to increase our business trade and lift our local tourism sector further.
In conclusion, WITM 2012 is the next big event happening in Malaysia that is not to be missed! I wish MATTA all the very best and hope to see this event grow in stature over the coming years. I hope to see you soon Insha’Allah.
And with that I officially launch the World Islamic Tourism Mart 2012.