Government Markets Religious Diversity to Attract "Spiritual Tourism"

February 20, 2006

Source: Hindustan Times

Wire Service: PTI,0011.htm

On February 20, 2006 the Press Trust of India reported, "Malaysia is all set to cash in on its multi-ethnic culture by featuring several Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Sikh and Buddhist houses of worship as the country's premier 'spiritual tourism' destinations. Tourism Minister Adnan Tengku Mansor also plans to showcase religious and cultural celebrations in the country as part of the package, a media report said today. 'We have different faiths, beliefs, celebrations and places of worship which we can proudly show,' the minister was quoted as saying by New Straits Times. Mansor considers the Masjid Kampung Hulu, one of the oldest mosques in the country, and Batu Caves, where the world's tallest statue of Lord Muruga stands, as potential tourist spots. Other houses of worship that could feature in Mansor's list are the Mantin Gurdwara - whose well water is reputed to have healing powers - and the Labuan Gurdwara, which is modelled on the Golden Temple in Amritsar. 'An example that could be considered is Brickfields, which has numerous mosques, Buddhist temples, Hindu temples, churches and gurdwaras all concentrated in one place,' the minister said. Tourism Malaysia has already embarked on an intensive marketing campaign to promote religious festivals in Malaysia."