Halal Travel is one of the fastest-growing sectors in tourism and has high potential, with Muslim tourists seeking destinations which meet their needs, in terms of diet, dress or rituals. In fact, Muslim travellers are predicted to contribute US$300bn to the global economy in the next decade.
Translated from Arabic, ‘halal’ means permissible in accordance with Islamic teaching. Alcohol, pork, nudity and gambling are off-limits. While Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Turkey are among the leading Muslim destinations, the Maldives also has a high potential for being a leading halal travel destination.
Adapting to the needs of Muslim travellers
According to CrescentRating, hotels and restaurants should offer halal food at the very least. Nazirah Ashari, strategy director of TBWA Kuala Lumpur, said: “Muslim travel is the fastest growth segment, but it remains relatively underserved. The industry does not understand the needs of Muslim travellers. Three out of five respondents (of the TBWA survey) said that the term ‘halal travel’ is mostly used to refer to food.” More and more airports have a designated prayer room. Muslim-friendly washrooms in tourism facilities are also increasing.
Travel blogs for Muslim women
Blogs targeted especially for young Muslim female travellers are increasing. At Passport and Plates, the Los Angeles-based blogger Sally Elbassir chronicles her global foodie adventures where pork and alcohol are always off the menu; at Arabian Wanderess, Esra Alhamal writes about traveling as a female, Muslim millennial on a budget; and at the popular Muslim Travel Girl, run by the Bulgaria-born, Britain-based Elena Nikolova, readers can learn about Muslim-friendly honeymoon resorts with private pools and get tips for a D.I.Y. Umrah (Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca).
Muslim-friendly online platforms
Sure, booking.com and TripAdvisor are the most common booking platforms but Muslim-friendly travel platforms are also springing up. For instance, HalalBooking® is the world’s leading search and booking website for halal-friendly travel, allowing you to book hotels and villas online. It was founded in 2009 by a group of far-sighted Muslims, with senior management experience from travel and blue-chip companies, who came together to realise the HalalBooking® vision of international travel with an Islamic ethos. So whether you want to find accommodation for your family beach holiday, plan a business trip or a weekend away you are sure to find what you are looking for.
In the latest edition of the Halal in Travel Frontier Report, Mastercard and Crescent Rating outline that sustainability will become increasingly central to shaping both business and consumer decisions in the tourism sector. Future travellers will begin to reward destinations and companies that are able to provide quality services while being eco-friendly and culturally respectful.