DOT 11 sees in­crease in Mus­lim tourists

Sun.Star Davao - - BUSINESS - By Ace June Rell S. Perez

THE re­gional of­fice of the De­part­ment of Tourism (DOT 11) is ex­pect­ing a surge of Mus­lim trav­el­ers com­ing to Davao City fol­low­ing AirAsia’s Davao – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia di­rect flight set on De­cem­ber 21.

DOT 11 re­gional di­rec­tor Roberto Alabado III in an in­ter­view on Wed­nes­day said that for­eign Mus­lim trav­el­ers, un­like usual for­eign tourists have dif­fer­ent tourism needs and re­quire­ments.

The Davao-Kuala Lumpur in­au­gu­ral flight is al­ready fully-booked.

“We are mak­ing our­selves ready. Davao has made a lot of Ha­lal-re­lated ini­tia­tives. We are mak­ing our tourism sites Mus­lim-friendly,” Alabado said.

At present, they are in talks with Davao restau­rants and ho­tels urg­ing these es­tab­lish­ments to be, if not Ha­lal-cer­ti­fied, at least Mus­lim-friendly.

DOT 11 tourism op­er­a­tions chief Zuhairah Abas-Di­amla, for her part said, that busi­ness own­ers here are also ex­cited with the up­com­ing tourists and mak­ing Davao Mus­lim­friendly hub.

“We are very positive with the Ha­lal in­dus­try be­cause the city gov­ern­ment is very sup­port­ive and Mayor Sara DuterteCar­pio knows how big the mar­ket is,” she said.

Also she said that the flight will not only bring in tourists but also in­vestors who are see­ing much po­ten­tial in Davao City as an in­vest­ment hub.

“Ac­tu­ally there are al­ready ini­tial talks be-

tween Davao City In­vest­ment Pro­mo­tions Cen­ter (DCIPC), DOT and Malaysian in­vestors, around 2-3 in­vestors who are in­ter­ested to build in a restau­rant and sup­ply Ha­lal prod­ucts here be­cause we are chal­lenged with the lack of Ha­lal fa­cil­i­ties and prod­ucts here,” she said.

Also, two Filipino com­pa­nies are in­vest­ing for a slaugh­ter­house in To­ril and Cali­nan, Davao City.

The Davao City Ha­lal In­dus­try De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil, she said, has on­go­ing dis­cus­sions on how to im­prove Davao es­tab­lish­ments to be Mus­lim­friendly.

“The Ha­lal re­quire­ment for the Mus­lim trav­el­ers would be food and the place. For ho­tel rooms, for ex­am­ple, there should be a qi­bla, the di­rec­tion of the Kaaba (the sa­cred build­ing at Mecca), the ho­tels should put a sign in­side the room,” Abas-Di­amla said.

She also said that the city and the lo­cal Ula­mas should work to­gether to en­hance lo­cal masjids (mosques) as it is also part of where the tourists go.

“In mar­ket­ing the DVO-KL flight, we do not only fo­cus on Davao but we cover other parts of Min­danao,” she said.

On Jan­uary 19 to 21, 2018 DOT 11 will be par­tic­i­pat­ing for the Malaysian In­ter­na­tional Travel Mart, Malyasias big­gest travel fair, to pro­mote the di­rect flight be­tween Davao and Kuala Lumpur.

“We will be high­light­ing in the fair our Davao des­ti­na­tions par­tic­u­larly those in Com­postela Val­ley, Davao Ori­en­tal and Davao Oc­ci­den­tal,” AbasDi­amla said.

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