South Africa has realized the need to appeal to the Muslim traveller, with Cape Town making it possible for such an individual to enjoy a visit while still observing the cultural and religious practices. Cape Town, like many African cities, has a long history of Islam, which has influenced the local culture to some extent, African Exponent reported.
Africa was the first continent into which Islam spread from Asia in the early 7th century. In 2002, Muslims constituted 48% of the population of Africa. A majority of Muslims can be found in North Africa, Horn of Africa, Swahili Coast and much of West Africa. A number of them can also be found in South Africa.
South Africa is a top tourist destination in the continent, bringing in 1.52 million tourists in 2016. Now, Cape Town is exploring the untapped market to attract Muslim travelers.
South Africa is rated fourth most popular non-Islamic destinations for Muslim tourists, Crescent Rating reported.
Speaking to CNN’s Market Place Africa, Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, said although traditionally Cape Town was perceived a European city with a bit of Africanism to it, the narrative is now changing to accommodate the history of many Muslims living in the city. “We need to understand the market first of all—understand what its wants and needs are, then make sure we deliver that in a more professional way, and also in a more respectful way, by firstly understanding the culture,” he adds.
Hilton Cape Town City Center has diversified its services to meet the expectations of Muslim travelers.
In addition to availing prayer mats and Holy Qur’an upon request, the rooms are marked with qibla, which indicates the direction of Kaaba, in Mecca, which Muslims face when praying. The bathrooms are also specially designed to accommodate the needs of the visitors. When it comes to meals and drinks, pork and alcoholic drinks are not served at halal-qualified hotels.
Originally published on www.financialtribune.com