Halal Tourism is a Booming Industry and Here’s Why

We are long away from the time where everyone stayed in their country. Planes, cars and ships made it easy and affordable for people to travel from one country to another. Also for Muslims (yes, because Muslims are humans too).

I’m sure that a lot of Muslims will agree that travelling to an unknown country isn’t always easy. Questions like food, prayer and activities can make you doubt before booking your trip. There is a new trend however: a lot of Muslims are more interested in travelling beyond the typical Hajj and Umrah trips to Saudi Arabia.

Last year, Muslims spent an estimated US$126.1 billion on international travel, making up 12.3% of all international travel, according to a report on Muslim travel released jointly by consultancy DinarStandard. The study also predicts that this number will be increasing in the next 4 years.

Some travel agencies understood this and made attempts to meet the needs of these observant Muslims and now provide ‘Halal tourism’.

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What is Halal tourism?

Halal tourism can be numerous things. For example Halal tourism is an alcohol free environment. But this can also mean that the hotels and the beaches are separated. Turkey is one of the first countries providing halal hotels for Muslims.
This looks like nothing special but a lot of Mvslim countries don’t even have this kind of hotels.

Only Muslim countries?

While Muslims engaging in international travel hail from both Muslim-majority and Muslim-minority countries, their top three destinations are Malaysia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. But not only Muslim countries are planning to provide halal tourism to Muslims. Japan for example saw that Muslims (mostly of Indonesia and Malaysia) played a big role in the booming economy of the country.

Japan has set as goal to provide a nice travel experience for Muslims in Japan.
For example, Aichi Prefecture in central Japan recently published a Japanese-language Muslim Hospitality Handbook to teach the Japanese how they should behave when Muslim customers enter their shops.

This book with cartoon illustrations covers a lot of ground in its 15 pages – outlining basic Muslim beliefs and global demographics, common difficulties that Muslims face when visiting Japan, the facilities that Muslims need in order to pray, the locations of the local mosques, the food Muslims can eat, and wi-fi services that Muslims visiting Japan might find helpful. Even a list of halal restaurants are made available for Muslims.

Even some Japanese travel agencies offer special programmes aimed specifically at Muslim travellers. They provide offers like a one-day Tokyo Tour for Muslim Tourists. Hashimoto designed this special tour package for Muslims, which includes the standard tourist venues, such as the Tsukiji fish market, the Hamarikyu gardens, and the trendy shopping districts of Harajuku and Shibuya, but also lunch at a halal restaurant and mosque visits for midday and early afternoon prayers.

London

London-based Islamic Travels specializes in immersion tours that include seeing historic and religious sites, as well as having a halal dinner with a local family. 

Other European countries are slowing emerging as halal tourism players, such as Spain and Bosnia. It is expected that in a few years, halal hotels in Europe will no longer be a paradox.

Written by Assia Loutfi

Assia Loutfi

Assia is a 21-year- old digital media student. She has a big passion for the Japanese culture and loves tea. In her spare time she likes to read books and watch television series.

  • Muhammad Heri

    There should be a clear distinction for Halal Holiday and Islamic Holiday, and to do so we must start form ground zero and look at the definition of ‘holiday’ itself or leisure for that matter. Holiday means people go to somewhere to have sometimes off and do things that are out of their daily lives or fun things that relax them.
    So when we talk about holiday, it refers to three aspects, one is the destination and two is the activities and three is the service. The next question is that which one, halal or islamic that can cover three aspects of holidays but still on the corridor of Islamic teachings ?
    Islamic Holiday can sometimes only refer to the destination and activities, but not the food or hotel, when people go to a non Moslem country to see and study the history of a mosque in that country, it means he is on islamic holiday because the destination and the activities are to seek the teachings of islam, but it does not say about the food and hotel he is staying. In the other hand, Halal, on my mind, is always referring to the services such as food, prayer facilities, restaurants etc. How can we set up a standard practice of halal holiday in a non-Moslem or mainstream destinations where you have to separate beach for men and women ?
    In my opinion, it is much easier to use the term ‘ a moslem-friendly holiday rather than halal holiday, as it is much clearer for the tourism industry to set up the standard based on islamic teachings. Do you take moslem traveler to public beach in non-moslem or mainstream destination where men and women are in one place together, and not to mention some of them are on bikinis but providing a halal hotel and take them to halal restaurants which can be considered as halal holiday ?
    So when we talk about halal holiday, we must remember the term of holiday and if you must, redefine the term holiday for specific purpose such as in wine-tasting travel for holiday based on interest or marine tourism etc.