Writing engaging and exciting content should not get in the way of putting the correct narrative of a story, including stories on Islamic Tourism. As an initiative to introduce Islamic Tourism to journalists and travel writers, Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) came up with the Islamic Tourism Writers Workshop (ITWW), encouraging participants to create strong and positive narratives on the Islamic Tourism subject in their writings and publications.
The first ITWW, themed “Stories of Sustainability”, discussed the agenda of sustainability in the Islamic Tourism context. The workshop intended to acquaint participants with Malaysia’s Islamic Tourism and Muslim-Friendly Tourism and Hospitality (MFTH) ecosystem through technical tours, hands-on activities, experience-sharing and lecture sessions.
The first workshop, held on Oct 25-27, 2022, witnessed the participation of various Islamic Tourism stakeholders – Islamic Arts Museum, Sunway Resort Hotel, Yayasan Restu, Mardhiyyah Hotel & Suites and many more. A total of 20 bloggers, social media influencers and feature writers, including tourism students and public relations officers from government agencies, participated in the workshop.
• To expose existing and aspiring media and travel writers to Islamic tourism and the MFTH sector along with its potential and benefits;
• To nurture quality writers to cover Islamic tourism development in the media;
• To inform participants of the connection between Islamic tourism and sustainability;
• To establish collaboration with digital and printed media that have a local and international presence and create more media exposure opportunities for Islamic tourism and MFTH; and
• To provide a platform for local MFTH entrepreneurs to market their products and businesses.
According to the Director-General of ITC, Dato’ Dr Mohmed Razip Hasan, there is an increasing number of news published about destinations moving towards the Muslim tourist market and the products and services they’re developing for the segment.
“It reflects the new demand we see in the tourism industry. As such, it is highly relevant and timely to write about it. With this new wave of interest, the media can play a significant role in developing awareness and developing this tourism space in Malaysia.
“This is where ITC is stepping in to engage with media, writers, content creators and PR officers within the government. By building this relationship with you through this workshop, we hope to share about Malaysia’s development as a Muslim tourist destination.
“Ultimately, this sharing will hopefully enable and encourage you to create more engaging stories and positive narratives about what Malaysia and our tourism industry players are doing to step up efforts to attract more Muslim tourists to our shores.
“Truly, Islamic principles are founded upon the values of sustainability, which is a key focus driving travel decisions, especially in these recent years. And the more that we make this known to our public and readers, the more likely it will drive travel decisions that favour Malaysia,” said Razip.
Sustainability at the core of narratives
Emphasising sustainability in the stories and contents, ITWW exposed participants to some exciting topics, including Islamic Tourism/Muslim-friendly Tourism: An Introduction, Islamic Tourism Writing for Traditional Media, Sustainability and its Role in Islamic Tourism and Curating Islamic Tourism Content for the Online Media.
It also featured Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia tour, presentations on Sunway Hotels’ halal and sustainability practices, Rehlah Nabawiyyah walks at Yayasan Restu, sharing session on halal Chinese food by Mardhiyyah Hotel’s Tung Yuen Chinese Restaurant, a heritage walk in the old quarter of Kuala Lumpur, Mosque Tourism sharing session with Masjid Jamek Sultan Abdul Samad and Muslim-friendly spa experience with Teratak Spa.
Following the overwhelming response to the first edition of ITWW, the second workshop was held on Dec 12-14, 2022, in Kuala Lumpur and Pahang.