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Taiwan a friendly stop for Muslims


KUALA LUMPUR: Taiwan’s bustling night markets, mouth-watering food and iconic Taipei 101 tower have long made it a favourite destination for non-Muslims in Malay-sia, particularly the Chinese community.

Muslims may have been deterred from visiting Taiwan in the past, viewing the country as not Muslim-friendly. But Taiwan is working hard towards shaking off that perception.

Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) president Datuk Hamzah Rahmat said all the necessary facilities such as halal food and prayer rooms in public places were now easily available there.

“Muslim travellers to Taiwan need not worry about food, as at least 93 hotels and restaurants in Taiwan have halal certification.

“Thirteen national scenic areas have facilities like prayer rooms and Muslim-friendly toilets – including the Taipei Main Station, Taoyuan Railway Station and Taiwan high speed rail’s Taichung Station,” he said at a press conference yesterday.

Hamzah also noted that Taiwan was listed as the “Top 10 first choice travel destinations for Muslim Travellers” by the Global Muslim Travel Index two years ago.

“There really is nothing to fear. Safety is not a concern when travelling there, and nowadays many tours are also being offered to specifically cater to Muslim groups at reasonable rates.

“Malaysians also no longer need a visa to visit Taiwan, so we hope this will encourage more people to visit the country for a taste of Chinese culture,” he added.

Apart from the world-class capital city of Taipei, Taiwan’s star appeal also lies in its natural landscapes, such as the Sun Moon Lake and the Taroko and Kenting National Parks.

Taiwan has been chosen by MATTA as “Asia’s Favourite Destination Partner” at the upcoming 2017 MATTA Fair, where, among others, will promote Muslim-friendly tour packages.

At the fair, visitors to the Taiwan Pavilion in Hall 1 can sample Taiwan’s tea eggs, try their hand at making red bean shaved ice and take photos with its tourism ambassador OhBear.

Among the highlights will be a performance by the Taiwan aboriginal Atayal tribe, as well as dough figurines making and tea ceremony performances.

The Taiwan Pavilion will also be giving out free gifts to those who purchase group tickets, a landing reception service and/or a Muslim package while stocks last.

The 2017 MATTA Fair will run from March 17 to 19 between 10am and 9pm at the Putra World Trade Centre.

The Star Online