Ha­lal tourism sees grow­ing in­ter­est

The Jakarta Post - - ARCHIPELAGO - Panca Nu­graha

Ha­lal tourism event sees ma­jor in­crease in par­tic­i­pants More tourist lo­ca­tions, ser­vice providers in NTB com­ply­ing with sharia law to serve ha­lal tourism in­dus­try

Hun­dreds of in­ter­na­tional buy­ers and sell­ers par­tic­i­pated in the In­ter­na­tional Ha­lal Travel Fair (IHTF) 2017 in Mataram, West Nusa Teng­gara (NTB) on Fri­day, demon­strat­ing the promis­ing fu­ture of In­done­sia’s ha­lal tourism in­dus­try, es­pe­cially in the prov­ince.

The event was held at the NTB Is­lamic Cen­ter and was or­ga­nized by the NTB Tourism Agency in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the In­done­sian As­so­ci­a­tion of Tourism Pro­fes­sion­als (ASPPI) NTB.

“We have seen a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease, es­pe­cially on the buy­ers side. There are 260 buy­ers from 18 coun­tries this year, as op­posed to 90 last year,” Tourism Agency head Lalu Mo­ham­mad Faozal said at the venue.

The buy­ers were mostly travel agents from Malaysia, Brunei Darus­salam, Sin­ga­pore, In­dia, Saudi Ara­bia and some other Mid­dle East­ern na­tions, he said.

IHTF was es­tab­lished as an an­nual NTB event in 2016. It aims to pro­mote and mar­ket Mus­lim­friendly tourist des­ti­na­tions in NTB.

Since 2016, NTB, West Su­ma­tra and Aceh, have been named as cen­ters of ha­lal tourism by the Tourism Min­istry.

NTB had seen a ma­jor in­crease in ar­rivals of tourists from Malaysia, Brunei Darus­salam, Sin­ga­pore and Mid­dle East­ern na­tions since then, Faozal said.

“The 2016 IHTF recorded a to­tal trans­ac­tion value of Rp 3 bil­lion [US$230,000]. We aim to in­crease that fig­ure to be­tween Rp 7.5 bil­lion and Rp 10 bil­lion,” he said.

Ha­lal tourism is de­signed to at­tract Mus­lims who abide by the rules of Is­lam. The ho­tels, for ex­am­ple, do not serve al­co­holic or pork prod­ucts and have sep­a­rate swim­ming pools and spa fa­cil­i­ties for men and women.

In NTB, ha­lal tourism has been reg­u­lated un­der NTB pro­vin­cial by­law No. 2/2016 on NTB ha­lal tourism.

Un­der the reg­u­la­tion, tourism ser­vice providers and tourist des­ti­na­tions in the prov­ince that are cat­e­go­rized as ha­lal tourism are re­quired to pro­vide fa­cil­i­ties, prod­ucts, ser­vices and man­age­ment that abide by sharia law.

How­ever, Faozal said, ha­lal tourism in NTB did not only fo­cus on re­li­gious as­pects, but also on com­fort. Ev­ery­one was wel­come to en­joy ha­lal tourism in the prov­ince re­gard­less of his or her re­li­gion, he said.

Ho­tels, restau­rants, food prod­ucts and other tourism ser­vice providers in NTB have also been ha­lal-cer­ti­fied by the In­done­sian Ulema Coun­cil (MUI).

More than 600 tra­di­tional food prod­ucts from NTB, for in­stance, have been cer­ti­fied as ha­lal by the MUI, Faozal said.

De­spite NTB be­ing one of the coun­try’s top ha­lal tourism des­ti­na­tions, con­ven­tional tourist spots in the prov­ince have been re­tained.

Pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions such as Gili Trawan­gan, Air and Meno, for ex­am­ple, are not cat­e­go­rized un­der the ha­lal tourism cat­e­gory although Is­lamic wor­ship places are avail­able. In th­ese places, al­co­holic drinks are avail­able.

Mubarok Mus­lim Tour and Travel Di­rec­tor Inne Hil­fi­ana said NTB, es­pe­cially Lom­bok, had grown in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar as a ha­lal tourist des­ti­na­tion for Mid­dle East­ern tourists.

“In the past, tourists from Saudi Ara­bia and other Mid­dle East­ern na­tions opted to visit places such as Ban­dung or Bo­gor [in West Java]. In the last two years, how­ever, vis­i­tor num­bers to Lom­bok have seen a sig­nif­i­cant jump,” she said.

Arista In­done­sia Avi­a­tion Cen­ter (AIAC) CEO Arista At­mad­jati said Lom­bok and Sum­bawa should con­tinue brand­ing them­selves as ha­lal tourism icons.

“Lom­bok has scenic beaches and beau­ti­ful cul­tures. But many as­pects still need to be im­proved, in­clud­ing ac­ces­si­bil­ity,” she said.

Arista sug­gested that the Lom­bok In­ter­na­tional Air­port needed to of­fer more di­rect in­ter­na­tional flights. At the mo­ment, reg­u­lar in­ter­na­tional flights to the air­port ar­rive from Kuala Lumpur and Sin­ga­pore only.

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