With 1.8 billion Muslim travelers across the globe, the need for Muslim friendly holiday accommodations is increasing. Despite the high amount of Muslim travelers, there is still a huge gap in the halal tourism market as finding Muslim friendly accommodation online could be a hassle. Having a hijabi profile picture or an Islamic sounding name should not be a problem when searching for accommodation online, but in reality there are incidents of people being discriminated against on, especially on Airbnb. Airbnb, the most popular online marketplace for the rental and booking of private accommodation has been under fire lately. The platform copes with racism issues towards non-Christian and non-white ethnic groups. Hosts can reject potential renters based on race, age, gender or other factors. Islamophobia is a problem that Muslims could face which makes it hard to stay in a comfortable and friendly environment when traveling.
The Future Of Muslim Travel: Muzbnb
But fear not! There is a bright future ahead for Muslim travelers. The start-up ‘Muzbnb’ presents itself as the solution and the beacon of light and hope for the Muslim community. Muzbnb is a faith-based online marketplace & homestay network and allows Muslims to host and book halal accommodations for travel around the world. This start-up was founded by Hadi Shakuur, Irfan Aziz & Muhammad Oda with the aim to build a global community where Muslims feel comfortable and accepted while traveling. “We hope we will alleviate the undue discrimination Muslims have faced when traveling, to allow Muslims to travel and explore freely like the legendary Ibn Battuta, whose curiosity led him to travel during a time when few had the means or the courage” says the CEO Hadi Shakuur to The Memo.
The search filter on Muzbnb.com highlights homes that are near mosques, halal restaurants and religiously acceptable activities. Additionally, there are homes equipped with prayer spaces that are stocked with Qurans or Islamic literature which stand out from typical amenities. Alcohol & drug free and child & women friendly homes are also provided. Further, a variety of spaces ranging from houses, apartments, single rooms and shared rooms are available. This gives Muslims the blessing of travel while ensuring that the accommodations conform to Muslim needs. However, it’s not just limited to Muslims, but for everyone who support Islamic values. Muzbnb will expand to more communities in the future.
The platform has yet to launch, but already received over 1,000 sign-ups for listings and rentals from hosts of houses, apartments and villas in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Muzbnb plans to fully launch in April 2017.
Book Halal Homes
Not only Muzbnb is a change maker in the halal tourism market, but also its predecessor Book Halal Homes, founded in 2015 by Karima Bihaki, provides a Muslim friendly alternative to Airbnb and was the first platform of its kind. Book Halal Homes wants to serve as the solution for the dissatisfaction towards Muslim-friendly hotels. “A lot of Muslims go to hotels with the expectation that it is all Islamic. But there is often a lot of privacy issues – places were very noisy and very crowded. I wasn’t feeling comfortable that much myself when I stayed in such hotels. However, segregation is also a problem – the leisure facilities are all apart, such as swimming and beach. So there are a lot of needs that are not addressed” said Bihaki to Salaam Gateway. The accommodations of Book Halal Homes all offer halal food, non-alcoholic drinks, non smoking areas, private pools and spa’s, prayer facilities on site and leisure facilities for men, women and families. “As a Muslim woman, I feel safer, more myself, and enjoy my time away more when staying in a private home as opposed to a packed noisy hotel” notes Bihaki.
The demand for Muslim-friendly holiday accommodations grows and the halal tourism market slowly grows along. Thanks to start-ups and companies such as Muzbnb and Book Halal Homes traveling as a Muslim will become easier than ever. So, thinking about travelling? Now is the perfect time! Are you planning to use Muzbnb and Book Halal Homes for you future travels?