MALAYSIA and South Korea are set to make waves in the halal food industry with the introduction of halal-certified restaurants in the republic soon. In announcing it at the 2014 World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation Roundtable recently, Korea Tourism Organisation (KTO) president Choo Suk Byun said with the collaboration and facilitation from WIEF, tourists could expect to walk into Muslim-friendly restaurants in the country.
“We are working hard to boost the number of halal-approved restaurants as well prayer rooms in South Korea as well as educational programmes to help better understand the Muslim culture. “My understanding of WIEF is that the forum explores the potential of the Muslim community as a business hub and assist to create a business community with Muslim countries.
“I believe the forum’s pursuit to facilitate economic development and inter-regional financial cooperation will eventually widen the scope of tourist exchange and that the forum’s growth and success will act as a trigger to help South Korea’s tourism industry to succeed and develop further,” said Choo. WIEF secretary-general Tan Sri Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak said it hoped with the success of the roundtable, a centralised body led by Malaysia would be set up to govern the certification process for all halal products and, thus, boosting the market for halal tourism and industry worldwide.
The Gangwon province governor Moon Soon Choi had also pledged his support for the halal industry in terms of administrative authority as well as providing a guide on how to get halal certification. “Governor Moon had also revealed his plans to set up a Muslim village with relevant facilities for the Muslim community. Our role is to create an awareness and bring together producers of halal products in South Korea, linking them with Jakim to get halal-certification as well as provide an avenue for Jakim to be internationally recognised.
“Wetry to provide a trigger point for synergy possibilities such halal hubs, Islamic financing as well as property development in South Korea,” Ahmad Fuzi explained. Moon said the expansion of halal-ceritifed restaurants and halal tourism would be the next stage of its tourism promotion calendar, too.
KTO deputy director for Asia and Middle East, Han Yeo Ok, said it had published a guide titled “Muslim-Friendly Restaurants in Korea” as a guide to help Muslim tourists enjoy the culture and food of South Korea without worrying about the halal status of the food. Among South Korean companies that have obtained the halal certification are Korean food giants CJ CheilJedang, Namyang Dairy Products, Nongshim, Pulmuone, Orion and Lotte Confectionary.
With nearly 1.6 billion Muslims in 140 countries, including about 140,000 in South Korea, halal food and tourism industry is set to become the next big thing of the Islamic financial industry. A memorandum of understanding was also inked on Monday between the Emirati Entrepreneur Association, Korean-Emirati Entrepreneur Association and Gangwon in promoting economic collaboration and exchanges in various areas.
Originally published on www.nst.com.my