SHAFAQNA- Halal tourism has recently been gaining popularity, and is one of the fastest-growing facets of the global travel industry. Muslim travellers around the world are eager for travel experiences and this is driving the sector’s phenomenal growth.
According to Shafaqna, there is no pork on the hotel dinner menus. There are flights with no alcohol on the drink carts, resorts with separate swimming pools for men and women, and daily itineraries with built-in break times for the five daily calls to prayer.
Halal consists of anything that is free from any component that Muslims are prohibited from consuming.
In 2019, the number of Muslim travelers will continue to rise, driving demand for new travel products and services. Since 2016, the number of Muslim travelers has grown nearly 30 percent, nytimes reported.
According to the State of the Islamic Economy Report 2018/2019, Muslim spend on travel will grow to US$ 274 billion by 2023, up from US$ 177 billion in 2017, so the future is bright for savvy brands and businesses that cater well to this market.
Halal tourism, or tourism that’s in accordance with Islamic rules, is a burgeoning global trend, addressing the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims who are looking for products and services that match their values according to kr-asia.
Many countries are looking to attract Muslims travelers
With a burgeoning middle class and increasing disposable income, many countries – whether Muslim or not – are looking to attract these travelers. Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Turkey are among the leading Muslim destinations.
Turkey has ranked second in halal tourism among the members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), dailysabah told.
Singapore, Thailand and the United Kingdom are among the top non-Islamic or OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) destinations.
The most promising halal markets are the fast-growing economies of the Asia, Middle East, Europe and the Americas.
Halal hotels springing-up to cater for an expanding millennial market
Given the potential of this sector, it’s important for the hospitality industry to adapt to changing halal requirements to meet the needs of Muslim tourists. According to CrescentRating, hotels and restaurants should offer halal food at the very least. Halal tourism has grown at almost double the rate of the wider industry in recent years, with halal hotels springing-up to cater for an expanding millennial market. Muslims now make up one of the fastest-growing segments of the global travel industry. In response, hotels and tour operators are increasingly trying to meet their dietary and religious needs.
Now, many hotels, airports are now offering halal food and prayer rooms.
The numbers of Sharia compliant hotels is growing
In recent years, it has been observed that the numbers of Sharia compliant hotels is growing in some Muslim and non-Muslim destinations. Some destinations promote these hotels and claim to be ‘Sharia compliant’ as ‘Muslim-friendly’. For example, Al Meroz Hotel is a fully Halal hotel located in Thailand.
Muslim-friendly hotels deliver Muslim guests with all services that compliant with Islamic teachings such as Qibla direction, Halal food, alcohol-free beverages and prayer room with call for prayers.
Japan is one of the non-Muslim countries that take initiatives towards training the hospitality staff by launching Muslim-Friendly Project. The objective of this project is to offer training for hospitality industry employees in Japan to improve understanding of needs and concerns of Muslim tourists visiting Japan. Halal food will also be provided for Muslims at the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020. Another best practice in Halal tourism is Kyoto city which is located in the central part of the island of Honshu, Japan. Travel guide in Kyoto city website is provided for Muslims in four languages: Arabic, English, Turkish and Malay. The website provides list with Muslim-friendly hotels. These hotels and inns provide Muslim visitors with a Qibla compass, a map for Kyoto Mosque and prayer mats and serve Halal food.
Aerostar Hotel in Moscow is Muslim friendly as one of the hotel’s kitchens is certified Halal. The hotel provides a copy of the Quran, a prayer mat and the Qibla direction in 20 of their rooms. The shampoo and soap provided in the rooms are certified Halal. Two prayer rooms are available: one for men and one for women.
Fairmont Makati and Raffles Makati hotels in the Philippines become Muslim-friendly by providing Quran copy, prayer room and Arabic-language TV channels.
Halal food market will be grown due to the growth of Halal tourism
Availability of Halal food and beverages is vital for destinations that target Muslim travelers. It is now common for Muslim tourists to request Halal food and beverages when they visit non-Muslim destinations.
Based on Islamic law, it is not allowed for Muslim followers to eat pork or pork by-products, animals that were dead prior to slaughtering, animals not slaughtered properly or not slaughtered with pronouncing the name of Allah, blood and blood by-products, alcohol, carnivorous animals and birds of prey.
According to Euromonitor International report, the sales of Halal food is increased in Europe, particularly in consumer food service outlets because of inbound Muslim tourists visiting Europe.
Therefore, it is expected that the investments in Halal food market will be grown in non-Muslim destinations due to the growth of Halal tourism.
Smartphone helps Muslim travelers find halal products and services
One of the recent practices in Halal tourism industry is providing smartphone application that make the holiday enjoyable and Muslim friendly.
Smartphone apps are also being developed. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has launched an app that helps Muslim travelers find halal products and services. It provides information about prayer times, food options and sightseeing tours. Another app, HalalTrip, offers information related to more than 65 destinations worldwide, hospitalityinsights told.
Muslim-friendly airport is recently one of the best practices to satisfy Muslim travelers. It was reported that the numbers of visitors from the Southeast Asian Muslim countries of Malaysia and Indonesia in recent year increased in Osaka. Therefore, Kansai international airport (KIX) has taken initiative to satisfy Muslims. The airport allocates three prayer rooms for use of travelers and visitors. One room is located on the third floor on terminal one, and another two rooms are located at the international departure gate. The prayer rooms are segregated by gender.
Washing space is provided to perform ablution for praying.
The prayer rooms are opened for 24 hours a day for Muslim travelers with rental prayer tools and display Qibla direction.
Fifteen restaurants prepare Halal food promoted as ‘pork-free and alcohol-free menus’, and three restaurants are ‘Halal certified’. Moreover, Narita Airport and Haneda International Airport in Tokyo opened a prayer room in 2014.
Using availability of Muslim-friendly airport as promotion tools to attract Muslim travelers is the best choice to increase inbound Muslim tourists and make the destination Muslim friendly.
A new travel package in the tourism industry which provided full holiday services in accordance with Islamic beliefs and practices is called ‘Halal holiday’.
These include Halal resorts and hotels which serve only Halal foods and non-alcoholic drinks. Other services offered may include separate pools, spa and leisure facilities for men and women, an open beach which separates males from females, private female-only beach, family-oriented facilities such as mixed beach areas for families with Islamic swimming dress code and Muslim prayer facilities, according to researchgate.
Millennials are key growth drivers of the halal travel market
Millennials are key growth drivers of the halal travel market, in particularly travelers who are active on social media, locating new halal hot dining spots and sharing their adventures on platforms like Instagram. Over the past couple of years, we have seen a big increase in Muslim female-solo travelers.
Muslim women are increasingly seeking independent travel for many reasons. They are well educated, have disposable income to spend and are marrying later in life, giving them time to embark on fun global travel adventures.
However, the potential of Halal tourism is still untouched. With a growing consumer base, and increasing growth in many parts of the world, the industry is set to become a competitive force in world international trade.
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