What is Halal tourism? What do you need to know as a Muslim who plans to travel soon? What is the bare minimum you need to provide to your Muslim guests if you work in the hospitality industry? These and many other questions come to mind when thinking about what Halal tourism is.
Halal tourism has now become a huge industry. It had faced a major blow due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, now it is slowly recovering in different parts of the world, albeit, with varying degrees of restrictions still in place.
Today, we would like to list some of the basic information about the fastest segment of the global tourism industry. This guide will help tourism operators and hospitality industry players to get a better appreciation of what steps they need to take to be able to welcome Muslim tourists.
What is Halal Tourism?
The phrase refers to the specific traveling habits and expectations of Muslim tourists. Essentially Muslim clients are looking for services that help them adhere to their religious principles, such as restaurants serving Halal food, hotels with dedicated prayer areas, and, Qibla marks affixed in hotel guest rooms, etc.
According to Wikipedia, Halal tourism (sometimes called Halal travel or halal-friendly tourism) is a subcategory of tourism that is geared toward Muslim families who abide by the rules of Islam. The hotels in such destinations do not serve alcohol, have separate swimming pools and spa facilities for men and women, serve only Halal foods, and have prayer facilities in-room and in a common hall”.
Travel agents, while designing travel packages for Muslim guests, may want to follow Halal guidelines from Malaysia, Turkey, and many other countries which offer extensive Halal-friendly tourism services to Muslim guests in accordance with their religious beliefs. However, it may be noted that there exist no internationally recognized standards for Halal tourism. So, every country follows its own rules to create a Halal-friendly environment for Muslim visitors to these countries.
Who Are Halal Tourists?
Potentially, any one of the Muslim faith. In terms of nationality, demand for this type of tourism comes primarily from Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates: North African travelers also represent a considerable clientele base.
What Expectations are Specific to Them?
Notwithstanding the diversity of the global Muslim population, there are certain amenities and services that Muslim tourists everywhere are likely to expect. Generally, Halal tourists may seek out restaurants that serve certified halal food and do not serve alcohol and pork. They might also expect to find dedicated prayer rooms at their hotels, or at least be provided with a prayer rug for use in their room.
The Halal tourism industry also provides flights where no alcohol or pork products are served, prayer timings are announced, and religious programs are broadcast as part of the entertainment offered onboard. More advanced Muslims might also look for separate swimming pools or beaches for men and women. Finally, they may also tend to be interested in activities and excursions on the theme of Islamic religion and culture.
What are the Top Destinations for Muslim Tourists?
According to HTC’s Muslim Travel Index Europe, Muslim travelers most often listed France as their destination of choice, about 30% of them, on Earth. England and Italy tied close behind in second, being about 28 percent, followed by Germany and Turkey in third, being 26 percent. Naturally, however, there is higher availability of services catering to Halal travelers in countries where religion is prevalent, such as Turkey, Dubai, and Qatar.
Are There Tour Operators Specializing in Halal Tourism?
Travel agencies catering to Muslim clients have proliferated on the web in recent years. There’s Halal Booking, Muslim Tripper, Halal Trip, and Sun Sea & Halal, just to name a few. All of these companies have one thing in common: they sell vacations guaranteed to be in sync with Islamic religious principles.
How Big is the Halal Tourism Industry?
Last year, the global Halal tourism market was worth an estimated US$140 billion, according to HTC organizers. This represents around 13 percent of total tourist spending worldwide.