10/06/2024 10:43 AM
Opinions on topical issues from thought leaders, columnists and editors.

By: Dr Azian Mohd Adzmi & Dr Nurul Wahidah Mahmud Zuhudi

Over the last few years, Malaysia has become one of the top destinations for Muslim-friendly travel, celebrated for our vibrant and diverse cultures and adherence to Syariah tenets, positioning the country as a leader in the halal tourism sector.

Despite the steps taken to address the needs of Muslim travellers, stereotypes associated with the ‘halal tourism’ approach in Malaysia remain and complicates the integration of AI technology in tourism.

Regardless of the use of AI-generated tools, misconceptions about ‘halal’ spread through various communication channels, leading to challenges for those adhering to halal principles. One of the most pressing challenges in the hospitality and tourism industries revolves around safeguarding and honouring travellers’ religious and cultural preferences, encompassing modesty traditions and dietary needs.

By prioritising these considerations, we not only showcase our unwavering dedication to tolerance and diversity but also cultivate an environment where every traveller feels valued, respected, and empowered to fully relish in their travel experiences.

Global Halal Summit 2023 a boost

The Global Halal Summit (GHaS) 2023 has proven to be a remarkable initiative to facilitate discussions and progress in addressing halal concerns in the global market, surpassing expectations as a pivotal platform for engaging in meaningful discussions on halal issues and exploring current trends in the global market. Since its inauguration last September, the summit has become a catalyst for constructive development in handling various aspects of halal concerns.

To sustain the positive momentum of the country’s halal tourism surge, the initiatives of GHaS aimed at reinforcing halal certification have been meticulously integrated with cutting-edge technological innovations, specifically the rise of AI-generated tools. These advancements serve as powerful mechanisms to enhance the halal certification process, guaranteeing its effectiveness, reliability and alignment with rigorous standards.

AI-driven personalised services offer a solution, aligning with Islamic hospitality principles. Using AI-powered visual communication platforms, Malaysia’s halal tourism industry can now merge technology with tradition, providing personalised and culturally appropriate experiences to Muslim travellers. AI technologies can range from real-time information on halal amenities to visual content that is immersive and showcases the culture, hence improving the authenticity and inclusivity of the travel experience.

However, a great deal of stigmatisation persists, limiting the perception of halal tourism among Muslim travellers themselves as ‘narrow and strict’ religious requirements rather than its broader cultural, social and ethical aspects. This limited view restricts the diverse range of experiences halal tourism caters to, such as great cuisine, meaningful cultural encounters, and religion-inspired spirituality.

Numerous scholars perceive halal tourism as inherently inclusive, catering to the diverse needs and preferences of all travellers, regardless of their religious beliefs or cultural backgrounds.

Strategic plans

Both the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and non-OIC organisations have developed strategic plans to capture the essence of halal tourism, leveraging their respective capabilities and capacities. While they do incorporate elements that adhere to Islamic principles, such as offering halal food options and prayer facilities, their overarching goal of halal tourism is to create an atmosphere of hospitality and acceptance that resonates with travellers from diverse backgrounds.

Pahang exemplifies this with its aim to excel as a Muslim-friendly destination, famous for its natural beauty and cultural properties, aspiring to be a prime travel destination globally. Through the enhancement of the Muslim-friendly experience, the state is going through several developments to serve the diverse requirements of Muslim tourists, combining both traditional hospitality with the latest technologies.

According to Leong Yu Man, Chairman of the Pahang Unity, Tourism and Culture Committee, reiterated the state’s commitment to offering world-class experiences for Muslim visitors. Pahang intends to position itself as a leading Islamic tourism-friendly hub, by providing facilities and services that follow Islamic principles. Ranging from unique cultural experiences to delicious halal cuisine, AI visual communication delivers the message to the target audience or tourists to suit their tastes and needs in a way that is engaging, and customised, hence offering a special and genuine travel adventure for the customers.

Enhancing travel experiences

Beyond communication, education and empowerment efforts help to combat stigma surrounding AI in halal tourism, showcasing its potential for enhancing travel experiences.

By means of training programmes and workshops, local communities can teach themselves how AI visual communication can bring their businesses to new levels and foster cultural exchange.

With the development of the Malaysia’s halal tourism industry, we must consider AI visual communication as a driving force for the positive change and a major factor in erasing community misconception about digitalisation.

Through connecting communities and fostering mutual understanding, Malaysia can make use of technology in providing authentic, inclusive, and enriching travels, and a tourism landscape that is more inclusive and inviting to all travellers, regardless of their religious or cultural backgrounds.


Dr Azian Mohd Adzmi is Lecturer, Master of Communication Programme, School of Media and Communication, Taylor’s University.

Dr Nurul Wahidah Mahmud Zuhudi is Programme Director, Master of Communication Programme, School of Media and Communication, Taylor’s University.

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy or position of BERNAMA)