TOURISM > ‘Halal hotels’ lure Turks, not Arabs

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

Turkey’s ‘Muslim-friendly’ or ‘halal’ hotels that offer visitors an alcohol-free environment along with separate swimming pools for women and men are drawing Turkish tourists, not Arabs, say sector players

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Turkey has around 50 Muslim-friendly hotels. The prices per person, per night range between 25- 220 euros.

Turkey has around 50 Muslim-friendly hotels. The prices per person, per night range between 25- 220 euros.

Zehra Aydoğan Zehra Aydoğan zehra.aydogan@hdn.com.tr

Alternative holidays in halal hotels in Turkey have been drawing the attention of Turkish people, rather than Arab tourists, according to sector professionals.

Local tourists make up a major proportion of visitors who prefer alternative holidays, Seval Tur General Manager Ömer Solmaz said in a telephone interview with the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday. Solmaz said Turks living abroad were the second largest group choosing these hotels, while other Muslims in European countries and Russia were interested in alternative holidays despite their share in total visitor numbers in Turkey being relatively low.

The hotels offer their visitors separate swimming pools and beaches for women and men, along with halal food and non-alcoholic drinks. 

Solmaz said people who generally want to have a holiday with their family in an alcohol-free environment prefer such Muslim-friendly hotels, particularly adding that women tend to feel “more comfortable” there. “Veiled women are able to wear swimsuits or bikinis while they swim in separate pools, or in the sea off separate beaches. In addition, some unveiled women prefer these hotels, in order to avoid being disturbed by the attitude of some men,” he said.

A representative from Yörünge Turizm told the Daily News that Arab tourists generally preferred normal hotels in the southern provinces in summer. “This is because they are already living in conservative countries. When they come to Turkey, they’re looking for something different,” he said.

The hotels serve at almost full capacity in the summer season, except during the month of Ramadan, when the capacity falls to around 50 percent. “The people who prefer alternative holidays are usually prayerful. They can’t swim while they’re fasting. That’s why the occupancy rates fall during Ramadan,” Solmaz said, adding that some hotels were lighting the beaches at nights for their Ramadan visitors, who sometimes wanted to swim after the fasting breaking iftar meal.

Alternative holidays rise under AKP rule

The alternative holiday has been a rising trend over the last decade of Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule, according to sector players. While there are currently only around 50 hotels for alternative holidays in Turkey (approximately 30 halal hotels and 20 thermal hotels), it seems like their number will increase.

Muslim-friendly hotels are particularly located in the southern, Aegean, northwestern and Black Sea regions, while thermal hotels are generally in interior provinces. 

“Thermal hotels are for health tourism. They don’t have alcohol drinks for health reasons, but they have become a part of alternative holidays over time,” Seçim Aydın, the president of Anatolia Tourism Enterprises Association, told the Daily News. 

He also added that some places in plateaus in the Black Sea region had started to offer alternative holidays. 

“Alternative holidays are appropriate for Islamic tendencies,” Aydın said. “These hotels’ profit margins and occupancy rates are higher than the others. As long as this profitability continues, investments in this sector will continue under this government’s rule.”

The prices per person, per night range between 25 euros and 220 euros in alternative holiday hotels.


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Notice on comments

mara mcglothin

9/11/2013 8:07:11 PM

Arabs don't want to live "halally" on vacation. They have a firm policy like Las Vegas. Whatever happens on vacation, stays on vacation.

Harry Foundalis

9/9/2013 7:56:15 PM

Anatolian, as you wish (“I am not in the habit of holding online personal correspondence with people I don’t know”), although I’m not the Bad Wolf. (Not even a Grey one.) As for combating bigotry in Greece, I do my best, but Greece is a tiny country with only 10 million people. The other, “the scourge of the world”, has already infected *billions*. No, I don’t have “irrational prejudices” against Islam. My disgust for fascism is very-very rational and well-supported by facts.

Thracian Anatolian

9/9/2013 5:15:42 PM

...that you busy yourself more with combating bigotry in Greece, a country and religious outlook that you are no doubt comparatively more familiar with (just today I read ridiculous reactions on “Ta Nea” given to Repousi’s comments on religious education in Greek high schools). In the end, I also hope you will eventually be cured of your irrational prejudices against Islam. Cheers.

Thracian Anatolian

9/9/2013 5:14:51 PM

Mr. Foundalis, I am not in the habit of holding online personal correspondence with people I don’t know. So I won’t be googling you and sending you an e-mail. My sympathy for the HDN staff played no small role in my various attempts to pull out of the argument, which, for some reason, made you even more provocative. I have answers to all of the below but ultimately I really do not think it matters. On the greater picture, I recommend...

Harry Foundalis

9/9/2013 2:31:32 PM

…(and I put “public” in quotes because by now I doubt anyone has the patience to go and read all that we’ve written) — so, if you have a genuine interest in hearing my opinion on why “free will” should be context sensitive and not context free, Google says I’m the only person with my name, so you can contact me directly. I’ll be waiting.

Harry Foundalis

9/9/2013 2:29:08 PM

Finally, you wrote: “You claim from G’s *perspective* X has free will. It does not *matter*. Free will is not a relative concept. X [has] free will, no matter what G thinks...” So that’s where we differ. For you, free will is “context free”. For me, it’s “context sensitive”, and I could explain why. But we should give a break to the poor HDN staff, who put up with us for more than 10 pages now. If you’re *really* interested in this issue, and not merely in showing off in a “public” discussion…

Harry Foundalis

9/9/2013 2:27:23 PM

…Back to the real discussion. You wrote: “X may be controlled by an ‘eminence grise’ […] but could still surprise G (who doesn’t know Y’s influence).” But G is a variable that can be substituted by the constant “God” who, being omniscient, cannot be surprised. So with “God” substituting for G this whole statement of yours becomes self-contradictory. (That’s elementary in mathematical logic, I hope you get it.) So I discard it as if not said and proceed to your next statement.

Harry Foundalis

9/9/2013 2:24:54 PM

…Now you added a new gem: “on the ad hominem issue, you are basically said ‘You started it’. I dropped that routine when I was 15, you are a liiiittle behind schedule I see.” And what does this “you are a liiiittle behind schedule” imply, Anatolian? Isn’t it another attack on my person? Don’t you feel any shame for resorting to this pathetic and lowly mode of “discussion”?

Harry Foundalis

9/9/2013 2:23:14 PM

Anatolian, you wrote: “The last ‘I am talking to you about a domain you are unfamiliar with (metaphysics)’ was an almost ad verbatim copy of what you had written to me before.” Did you forget that you yourself admitted you have no programming knowledge? I simply observed that fact. In contrast, since I didn’t state anything about my knowledge of metaphysics, you expressed an unjustified derision with the above phrase. Is it so hard for you to see the difference?

Thracian Anatolian

9/9/2013 8:49:40 AM

So X has free will only if X’s decisions and choices result from X’s *own* judgments in reaction to his psychological state and external environment.
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