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More travelling far due to Muslim-friendly facilities

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IPOH: More Malaysian Muslims are now travelling abroad for their holidays due to better facilities at the countries that suit their needs.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) Perak Chapter deputy chairman Ken Chong said there had been higher demand for Muslim tour packages in the past few years.

“These packages include all-halal cuisine, prayer stops and Muslim tour guides who speak English. Apart from Middle Eastern countries and China, other favourite destinations include South Korea, Japan, Australia and Vietnam,” he said.

“Japan is the latest country to have improved facilities to cater to Muslim travellers,” he told a press conference to announce the 22nd Perak MATTA Fair to be held at Ipoh Parade shopping centre from Sept 2 to 4.

Fair committee member Mohamad Hisam Mohamad Yusof said many countries, including cities in Vietnam and Thailand, had halal restaurants now.

“Aside from China, which has one of the biggest Muslim populations in the world, many other countries have taken note of the needs of Muslim travellers.

“In Vietnam about six years ago, there weren’t any halal restaurants. There are now a handful of them, allowing travellers some options to choose from. Even Hong Kong has a substantial amount of halal eateries,” Mohamad Hisam said.

“Some hotels in Bangkok now have separate and certified halal kitchens while the airport in Japan has created a prayer room for Muslims,” he added.

Mohamad Hisam said the trend of Muslims travellers going abroad beyond the South-East Asian region was growing.

“Most Malaysian Muslims used to travel locally. They then began to travel within the South-East Asian region. They are now moving from one region to another,” he said

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