Halal tourism to make strides amid pandemic
With the pandemic looming over vacationers, there has been growing interest in halal tourism which offers greater privacy, an international tour operator said.
In an interview with state-run Anadolu Agency, Emrullah Ahmet Turhan, secretary-general of the Halal International Tourism Organization, said this sub-category of tourism understands the need for privacy which gives it an edge in these uncertain times.
Halal tourism offers tailor-made packages for holidaymakers who abide by Muslim law, offering among other things stay in hotels which do not serve alcohol and separate spa and pool facilities for men and women.
Turhan said people can enjoy the summer holiday season following social distancing rules, which halal tourism offers.
Speaking about Turkey, he said nearly 30 hotels have converted their facilities to halal tourism.
“The interest in halal tourism has gained momentum after the number of international travelers declined amid the pandemic. The owners of accommodation facilities are increasingly turning to domestic tourists to compensate for losses from the lack of foreign holidaymakers. Thus, there has been an increase in the number of hotels offering halal tourism services,” he said.
He added that all hotels are taking necessary measures against the COVID-19 to ensure a safe stay for their customers.
Noting that globally halal tourism is “serious business,” he said in 2018 it reached a volume of $171 billion.
Sharing some more figures, he said 121 million Muslims worldwide travel to another country every year.
“Some 8.5 million Muslims came to Turkey for vacations every year,” he said, noting it made up 10 percent of global Muslim vacationers.
He went on to say every “halal” tourist on an average spends at least $1,296 in Turkey.
Turkey has potential to capture a larger share in the global halal tourism market, he added.
After first emerging in China last year, COVID-19 has spread to 188 countries and territories triggering global fear and economic fallout as countries limit air travel and impose lockdowns to curtail its spread.
Tourism and air travel are among the worst hit industries due to the pandemic.