“A common misconception is that ‘Muslim tourism’ means people going to do Muslim things. But in reality, they go to do the same things – they may want a shopping experience, or a beach experience, or a local cultural experience. They want to have fun like anyone else, but they just want to know they don’t have to worry about their basic faith-based needs.”
The influx of Muslim tourists has transformed parts of Kuala Lumpur. Ain Arabia now feels almost humble compared to the much larger and more lucrative businesses catering to Muslim tourists. The main strip on Bukit Bintang street offers almost entirely Arab and Middle Eastern food; and there are designer fashion boutiques, luxury hotels and the Pavilion Mall, where families from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and many other countries spend hours shopping.