Hong Kong Special Region Government secretary justice Rimsky Yuen (third from left), Hong Kong Tourism Board chairman Peter Lam (fourth from left), Hong Kong Tourism Board executive director Anthony Lau (centre) and local celebrities Awal Ashaari (second from right), Lara Alana (third from right) and Scha Alyahya (right) at the launch of Hong Kong Live in Kuala Lumpur. NST photo by ROSELA ISMAIL

KUALA LUMPUR: Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) is targeting to expand Malaysian tourists arrivals in the country particularly among the Muslims community.

Regional director of Southeast Asia Simon Wong said Hong Kong is listed as the fifth best Non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) country for Muslim travellers.

He said HKTB is working with both travel agents and airlines to further promote Hong Kong as tourist destinations, spurred by over 500,000 tourists from Malaysia.

"Hong Kong has a size of 200,000 Muslim population. The city offers plenty of Halal-certified dining options, easy access to prayer spaces, and accommodation options with Halal-certified kitchens," he said in a group interview on the sidelines of Hong Kong Live in Kuala Lumpur, today.

The Hong Kong Live in Kuala Lumpur is a large scale consumer event designed to promote Hong Kong's latest offerings and to bring interactive activities as well as special travel deals to consumers.

Wong said Muslim tourists would get easy access to prayer spaces and halal-certified outlets due to burgeoning influx of Muslim travellers in Hong Kong.

"We also launched the Muslim guidebook - Warna-Warni Destination Hong Kong - featuring the latest happenings, festivals, must-visit attractions, restaurants and Muslim-friendly facilities in Hong Kong," he added.

Wong said there is also a dedicated page on DiscoverHongKong.com highlighting Muslim offerings on destinations.

"We want to cultivate the Muslim tourist segment in Hong Kong, while providing more services and facilities.

"Currently, Hong Kong has over 60 halal-certified food outlets and 30 prayer spaces, catering to Muslim tourists," he said.

He said Muslim travellers would be able to have access to prayer and halal requirements, by simply download or pick up a copy of Warna-Warni Hong Kong.

Wong added Hong Kong has many facets of appeal from its living traditions and culture, the arts, entertainment and many other things that Malaysian travellers are familiar with.

"For example, our TVB dramas, wonton noodles, dim sum, theme parks, star ferry, mass transit railway (MTR) but perhaps lesser known are our outlaying islands and country parks, which are easily accessible," he said.

Wong said it is important for HKTB to develop a hospitable environment for Muslim travellers and provide them with facilities and guidance.

Among attractive destinations in Hong Kong include the Big Bus Tours Hong Kong, Dukling, Hong Kong Disneyland, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, Ngong Ping 360, Ocean Park Hong Kong, Peak Tramways and sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck.