Rapid increase in halal tourism
The world’s Muslim population will grow at 35 per cent over the next decade, bringing the Muslim population from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030, according to a study by Pew Research Centre. Reportedly, the Islamic tourism market is projected t
Thailand is named one of the Top 10 Muslim-friendly tourism destinations in the world by Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2015. The recent hosting of the first-ever Thailand Muslim Friendly Destination in Bangkok further strengthens Thailand’s position to cater to Muslim travellers by providing Arabic speaking staff, halal food options, prayer facilities in the airport and Muslim-friendly hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions throughout the country.
Recently, the Thai cabinet approved the Halal Development and Promotion Strategy for 2016-2020. The objective is to promote Thailand as a key manufacturing and export base for halal products and services, increase the country’s revenue, build awareness and trust in Thai halal products. The accompanying Action Plan is a three-pronged effort involving the Thai public and private sectors and various Islamic institutions in Thailand. Other than that, TAT has developed a long term Muslim-friendly destination campaign all over their networks worldwide to further attract Muslim visitors. Chalermsak Suranant Director – Dubai and Middle East office Tourism Authority of Thailand
Muslim travellers have increased from only 25 million in 2000 to 108 million in 2014, bringing in $145 million in value. In 2020, the number of Muslim travellers would reach 150 million, bringing in more than $200 million in tourism receipts.
The Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT) seeks to position the Philippines as the world’s newest Muslim-friendly destination by giving out a host of incentives to tourism and travel establishments that will seek halal certification and turn their facilities ‘Muslim-friendly,’ Under the Philippine Halal Tourism Program, DOT will cover all fees for halal accreditation and assist the establishments every step of the way if they commit to turn their facilities ‘Muslim-friendly’ at least 40 establishments — 20 in Manila; 10 in Cebu and Boracay; and 10 in Davao — the four pilot areas identified for the Philippine Halal Tourism Program, have been targeted for halal certification by April 7, in time for the gastronomic event, “Madrid Fusion” to be opened in Manila, where PDOT has reserved a section for the halal showcase. Director Verna C. Buensuceso Officer-in-Charge, Market Development Group DOT Philippines
As far as Islamic Tourism in Malaysia is concerned, the country is the best destination for Muslim travellers in the world. According to a Thomson Reuters report, Malaysia is recognised as the leading country with the most developed Islamic economy for Muslim travellers ahead of big names like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bahrain and Jordan.
The Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Malaysia through Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) will continue to carry out activities, conducting research and organise capacity building programmes as well as training courses that will help contribute to the Islamic tourism segment of Malaysia. Tourism Malaysia, the marketing and promotional arm of Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, has established 44 offices in various markets throughout the world to carry out marketing and promotional activities. These include offices in Dubai, Jeddah, Iran, Istanbul and Almaty. Zulkifly Md. Said Director General - Islamic Tourism Centre Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia
In 2014, the Maldives received 37,201 tourists from the Middle East region which increased by 14.7 per cent in 2015. Saudi Arabia remains a priority bringing 12,405 visitors to the Maldives in 2014, other GCC countries are also emerging as potential expanding markets including the UAE with 7,007 visitors and Kuwait with 5,248 visitors. Other Middle Eastern countries such as Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Jordan are accountable to 10,591 visitors to the Maldives.
To attract more of Muslim travellers, we are working very closely with our hotel partners to ensure that the hotels have the availability of Halal cuisine along with Muslim-friendly accommodations. We are also working closely with our industry partners to create a calendar of events that celebrates events such as Ramadan, Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr. Ibrahim Asim Director, Maldives Marketing and PR Corporation, Maldives
In the past years, there has been an increase in the number of halal food outlets all over Japan particularly in Kyoto. In order to cater to Muslim guests, Kyoto City has founded an independent halal certification system and provides information in four languages about restaurants and hotels that have received this certification.
We have a local base in the UAE that covers the entire Middle East region, we have introduced several campaigns and initiatives that are aimed at proactively attracting more and more tourists from the Middle East to Kyoto City, for many unique and memorable experiences. Local seminars are held regularly to educate the travel industry on the importance of providing Halal and Muslim-friendly cuisine and other services and amenities that would be appreciated by guests from the region. We have also have a special online Muslim-friendly Kyoto website www.kyoto. travel/muslim which is available in English, Arabic, Bahasa Malaysian and Turkish, where visitors can log on to gain detailed information on travelling to Kyoto city. Shuhei Akahoshi Managing Director Kyoto Convention & Visitors Bureau
As a US destination, Orange County, California, through the OCVA, continues to remain at the forefront of proactively reaching out to welcome guests from the Middle East. It is the first, and to date only, U.S. tourism association to have a permanent promotional office within the GCC.
In 2015 OCVA launched an online educational video in conjunction with the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding in Dubai, to train Orange County’s retail, hospitality, tourism and even police force on how to warmly welcome and effectively interact with guests from the Middle East. We hope businesses use this as training to encourage culturallyaware hospitality. Ensuring that we assist visitors by culturally providing for their needs will motivate Middle Eastern travellers to return to Orange County year on year. Ed Fuller President and CEO Orange County Visitors Association