Brahim’s Dewina Group of Companies is busy assisting Japan in tapping the growing Muslim tourism market in that region. This is especially so, with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on the horizon, says Director of Marketing and Business Development, Ahmad Husaini Hassan.
By 2020, Japan hopes to increase the annual tourist numbers to 20 million. It is also expected that 35% of the athletes to the 2020 Olympics will be Muslims. But the number of restaurants catering for Muslim needs in Japan at present is very low.
Taking a first baby step, Japan’s third largest airport, the Central Japan International Airport (Centrair), has embarked on making it “Muslim-friendly”. Located in Nagoya, the Skytrax World Airport Award recipient for the fourth time since 2011, approached Brahim’s Dewina Group to assist in providing better services for Muslims.
“Centrair approached us earlier this year and ever since then, we have been helping in not only meeting the halal needs of Muslims landing there, but have also suggested other provisions, like a prayer room for them. The airport has fulfilled this,” Ahmad Husaini told Bernama. He said Muslim passengers can now look forward to halal meals at two of the airport-owned restaurants, which also sells Brahim’s products, including its nasi lemak, biryani rice and rendang ayam.
He said although the initial target was to provide sufficient meals for Muslims, the company is now aiming for a bigger market, by attracting non-Muslim passengers as well, alongside the locals who visit the airport on weekends.
“As this airport is one of the ‘hangout’ places in Nagoya, we would like to aim for a bigger market and promote not only the halal meals, but Malaysian cuisine to both Muslims and non-Muslims. “This can boost our business as we are planning to be less dependent on the inflight catering segment which currently provides 70% of revenue to the company,” Ahmad Husaini said.
He said almost 90% of customers dining at the two restaurants in Centrair are non-Muslims and they receive an average 30% growth in revenue on a monthly basis. “Due to this, we are receiving offers from other airports in Japan to help them service both Muslims and non-Muslims, by providing halal Malaysian cuisine. Besides operating at Centrair, Brahim’s Dewina Group is also present at Kansai Airport and is moving to Haneda in Japan,” he added.
George Hayashi, general manager of International Restaurant Service Co Ltd which handles four restaurants, including the two offering Brahim’s products at Centrair, said the airport would be able to increase the number of
Muslim passengers before 2020.
“Next year, Indonesia’s Garuda Airline is flying here six days a week and AirAsia X is also increasing its frequency. We see the tendency to increase the number of halal restaurants in the near future and in fact, some restaurants now are labelling their meals with pork and alcohol signs, making it easier for the Muslim tourists when ordering their meals, he added.
It was reported that the largest number of Muslim tourists came from Malaysia and Indonesia. Visa exemptions from 2013, made it easier for Malaysians to visit Japan, and exemptions for Indonesians are due to start from December 1 this year.
Originally published on www.themalaysianinsider.com