Halal travel is a market that offers huge prospects for the global tourism industry. Only recently ITB Berlin announced its partnership with International Travel Week (ITW) in Abu Dhabi, the world’s leading trade show with a focus on Muslim majority tourism.
ITW Abu Dhabi takes place from November 25 to 26, 2017, at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. It offers insight and solutions and brings together tourism leaders, innovators, investors and stakeholders who all share one common aim of understanding and driving Muslim majority tourism through targeted sectors; Halal, medical, shopping and family friendly travel.
Muslim majority tourism is one of the fastest growing areas of global tourism and excluding Hajj and Umrah, is set to surpass +$238 billion by 2019.
The global medical and wellness tourism market is valued at US$50 billion and is growing at a rate of 25% per year.
Hotels have increasingly adapted to Halal tourism
In Germany luxury hotels in particular, such as Breidenbacher Hof in Düsseldorf, have adapted to their audience’s demands. Arrows on the ceiling point to Mecca, and next to the bible room guests can find the Quran. Hotel buffets feature customary Muslim dishes.
This special service is offered mainly in European cities such as Munich, Düsseldorf, Zurich and London, which are visited by Muslim tourists particularly in the summer. Faraway destinations such as Thailand are also adapting to this customer group. One important service is to be able to offer a swimming pool for women only. The Crescent Rating rankings, published annually, show how individual countries have adapted. This institution forecasts that by 2020 the industry will achieve an annual turnover of about 200 billion dollars and cater for around 168 million tourists.
Annual Halal destination rankings
The latest rankings are divided into Muslim and non-Muslim countries. Topping the first category are Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Turkey. In the non-Muslim category the leaders are Singapore and Thailand. In Europe, according to the rankings, the UK has adapted best to its visitors’ demands. South Africa, Hong Kong and Japan are also ahead in the rankings. The survey lists Germany in eleventh place.
Tour operators and travel agencies have recognised Halal tourism’s importance
In addition to hotels and destinations tour operators have also recognised the potential of Halal tourism. Germany is home to around four to five million Muslims who often have special requests at their hotels when they travel abroad. HalalBooking for example has been organising tours for this customer group since 2009.
Hajj tourism – a mainstay of this travel market
Hajj tourism also makes up a large share of overall business in this travel market. Many Muslims feel it is their duty to take a pilgrimage to Mecca or Media at least once in their lifetime. In particular after Ramadan, the month of fasting, recently ended airlines massively increased their seating capacity. Providers such as Muslime Reisen are among those companies specialising in this type of travel in Germany.
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