The Tourism Bureau has chosen Muslim actress Mira Filzah as the nation’s tourism ambassador to Malaysia and Brunei.
This was the first time that a tourism ambassador was chosen to represent Taiwan in the two Southeast Asian countries, which have large Muslim travel markets, the bureau said yesterday, adding that it aims to attract young Muslim travelers to Taiwan.
Filzah has more than 3 million followers on Instagram, the bureau said, adding that she and three other Internet celebrities in the fashion and cosmetics industries were invited to shoot a short tourism film in which they introduce some of Taiwan’s tourist attractions.
The film’s theme is “Salam Taiwan,” conveying that Taiwan welcomes Muslim tourists, it said.
In the film, Filzah and the other celebrities view a sunset from Taipei 101 and visit Yangmingshan during the hydrangea blossom season, the bureau said, adding that the film also shows them visiting Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) and the Shilin Night Market, as well as theme parks and leisure farms.
The four have shared photographs of the tourist attractions on social media platforms, it added.
They also visited the Taipei Grand Mosque and halal restaurants, assuring their fans that Taiwan is friendly to Muslims, it said.
The premiere of the film featuring Filzah’s visit to Taiwan is to be held in Malaysia at the end of next month, the bureau said, adding that it is to be aired later on TV, in movie theaters, on electronic billboards and online.
Apart from shooting the film, Filzah is to represent Taiwan at a Malaysian travel expo and the MATTA Fair, and is scheduled to visit Taiwan again next year, the bureau said.
The nation has 176 restaurants with halal certification, the bureau added.
Last year, Malaysia was Taiwan’s sixth-largest source of international tourists — and the No. 1 source among ASEAN members — with the number of Malaysian tourists totaling 528,019, an 11.3 percent increase from a year earlier, the bureau said.
Malaysia has a population of about 30 million, of which 16 million are Muslims, while Brunei has a population of about 400,000, of which Muslims account for 66 percent, bureau data showed.
According to MasterCard Inc, Muslims make up about 10 percent of the global tourism market, with the number of Muslim tourists expected to grow from 131 million last year to 158 million by 2020.
The median age of Muslims was 24 in 2015, showing that Islam has a younger population than other religions, the company said.
Young Muslims’ disposable incomes have been increasing and they are active users of social media, it said, adding that their travel demands would become a dominant force in global tourism.
Taiwan was this year ranked the fifth best travel destination among non-Muslim nations by MasterCard’s global Muslim travel index.
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