MS2610 sets the benchmark for Islamic tourism

Standards are crucial to promoting growth, innovation, and competitiveness in industries.

As such, the Department of Standards Malaysia (JSM), the national standards and accreditation body in the country, is dedicated to developing and promoting Malaysian Standards (MS) and providing accreditation services for conformity assessment activities.

Standards Malaysia’s director-general Shaharul Sadri Alwi said standards provide a solid foundation for defining the characteristics and properties of a product or service, along with the applicable testing methods.

It also enables consumers to make informed decisions by allowing for reliable quality and price comparisons, and ensuring that products meet their intended or required performance standards.

“Standards set the benchmark for best practices and drive the growth of an industry,” said Shaharul.

“It is an important mechanism to boost the competitiveness of our industry, increase productivity and consumer trust, and enhance market access to export countries for our products.”

He said the halal certification was a fundamental instrument for Muslim-friendly services. It provides Muslim consumers with a peace of mind, assuring them there is no question about the quality of the products, food, and related services.

He added MS2610 is about Muslim-friendly hospitality and services. It identifies the requirements for tourism industry players to set up assurance systems for products and services that cater to Muslim tourists.

MS2610 has three main objectives, which are:

  •  To enhance the ability of organisations or individuals to produce and manage Muslim-friendly tourism products and services to meet Syariah requirements
  • To preserve and protect the integrity of Muslim-friendly tourism products through the effective application of this MS
  • To enhance customer satisfaction by meeting customer requirements

“The Malaysian standard provides guidelines and requirements on managing tourism facilities, products, and services for Muslim travellers in three aspects: accommodation, tour packages, and tour guides.

All the standard conditions are generic and is intended to apply to all organisations and individuals managing Muslim-friendly tourism products within these three areas.

“This standard however, does not apply to health and beauty facilities, such as spas and massage or any balneotherapy facilities, products and services. For the time being, it only covers those three sectors.”

Shaharul said the department considers Muslim-friendly tourism a sustainable sector that can significantly benefit the country’s economy, society, and the environment.

As Muslim-friendly tourism becomes more prevalent globally, the country has developed highly recognised standards to meet stakeholder expectations while adhering to Islamic principles and practices.

“The use of MS2610 enhances the ability of organisations or individuals to manage Muslim-friendly tourism that meets these
Islamic principles. This is the essence of halal and this MS preserves and protects the integrity of Muslim-friendly tourism,” said Shaharul.

He said that through the effective application of the standard, a direct positive effect of using this standard is enhancing customer satisfaction.

“Malaysia can attract more Muslim tourists, and in turn, generate more investment returns for the benefit of Malaysia’s socio-economy.”

He explained that the Muslim-friendly hospitality services working group, chaired by the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC), oversees MS2610. This technical working group focuses on standardising Muslim-friendly hospitality and services.

“The working group is responsible, not only for developing the MS, but also serves as the national mirror committee in the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) TC5 committee,” said Shaharul.

“As MS2610 is under revision, it is a good time for us to develop the standard further. For future development, we may include other tourism-related services, such as spas.”

He said that based on the industry input surrounding Islamic tourism, this MS needs to be based on a classification or rating system, rather than a certification activity. So, this standard will be used to rate the facility, and accommodation, among others.

He added the rating system must be based on the achievements or performance, and meet the minimum requirements for them to be
audited. — Rest & Rehlah (@Halal)

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