KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Tourism Agency Association (MATA) is making efforts to attract haj and umrah pilgrims from China to visit or transit in Malaysia before continuing their journey to Saudi Arabia.

Its president, Datuk Dr Mohd Khalid Harun said in a statement today that his team and several local haj and umrah industry players will leave for China soon to establish tourism business relations there.

“We have lined up several transit programmes to welcome umrah pilgrims from China with five-night packages in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

“These transit packages emphasise aspects from the point of view of Islamic tourism in Malaysia by including visits to mosques around Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. We have identified some Muslim tour guides who can speak Mandarin and will work with the Kuala Lumpur tour guide associations,“ he said.

Mohd Khalid said MATA will also establish cooperation with agencies such as Pertubuhan Kebajikan Islam Malaysia (PERKIM) and the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) to hold umrah or haj preparation classes for pilgrims from China that can provide added value for them to help choose a transit package in Malaysia.

“MATA hopes that this trade mission and the cooperation of strategic partners from China will help the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry (MOTAC) to achieve a target of five million tourists from China to Malaysia,” he added.-Bernama