KUALA LUMPUR: Tourist arrivals as well as those travelling out have fallen significantly.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Ham­zah Rahmat (pic) said there had been a 30% drop in the last six months.

“This is very rare in the Malaysian tourism industry. We hope the situation will stabilise soon,” he said at a press conference promoting Hong Kong halal travel here yesterday.

Hamzah said there were many factors that influenced the drop, including the in­­troduction of Goods and Service Tax (GST), the soft world and local economy, and the current uncertain political situation.

Speaking on the promotion, he said the target market was Muslim families who want to visit tourist attractions such as the Hong Kong Disneyland.

“Families can move with ease in Hong Kong and food is not a major problem. Even the theme parks offer halal food options and with Internet, it is easy to find halal restaurants,” he said.

Hong Kong chief imam Muhammad Arshad said although Hong Kong was not a Muslim country, it was Muslim-friendly.

“I have been living in Hong Kong for a long time and we always welcome our Muslim brothers.

“There are facilities everywhere- from the airport to downtown – and many hotels and restaurants have been certified halal,” he said.

There are over 60 restaurants in Hong Kong that have been certified halal, with many more in the process of obtaining the certification.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board will have a promotional booth at the MATTA fair, scheduled to be held from Sept 4 to Sept 6 at Putra World Trade Centre.

source: thestar