Through its built-in video call feature, Masjid Negara (Malaysian National Mosque) is launching a 360-degree virtual tour accompanied by trained Masjid tour operators.
Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM), Masjid Negara Malaysia, Islamic Outreach ABIM Centre Masjid Tour Guide Program (IOAC-MTGP), and technology platform LokaLocal collaborated on the VR-powered mosque tour. Visitors can explore 10 main places of Masjid Negara, including the Main Prayer Hall, Main Speech Hall, Warrior Mausoleum, Sundial, and Gallery, in a replica of the in-person walking tour available on regular days.
The tour includes 360-degree imagery, movies, and anecdotes that provide visitors a unique perspective on the mosque's characteristics, design, history, and purpose. People can, for example, view a film on the call to prayer and listen to an audio explanation while watching the Main Prayer Hall light up gorgeously in a time-lapse sequence. It may be seen on the web and on mobile devices, as well as through VR headsets. The live guided tours are available for booking on the IOA Centre website in English, Chinese, and Malaysian. Self-guided tours with a 60-minute time constraint are also offered.
Social media, blogs, LokaLocal's VR streaming platform, traditional and online media, and word of mouth will all be used to promote the excursions. LokaLocal has had roughly 120 sign-ups and group requests to hold the live guided session since its introduction.
Masjid Negara is one of the few tourist attractions in Malaysia that has implemented virtual tours. Virtual tours of Monemvasia in Greece, Caesarea in Israel, Banias National Park in Syria, and Lyon in France are available through TourHQ, an internet platform that connects travellers with tourism service providers.
Separately, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Nancy Shukri stated that when Malaysia recovers from COVID-19, the government will encourage family-oriented natural tourism. Malaysia will "set itself apart" from its neighbours, by becoming a "nature-based resort" aimed towards families. She also stated that the government intends to capitalise on its natural beauty and promote "clean, healthy, family-oriented tourism."
According to Nancy, Malaysia is prepared for the growing trend of nature-based tourism. The next Escape Cameron Highlands, she claims, would "play a catalytic role" in attracting new tourism investments and revitalising interest in the country's eco-tourism sector.