Travel portal taps into halal tourism

Two years ago, halal tourism was marked as an emerging trend. (EB FILE)

A website dedicated to Muslim travellers is the new buzz about town, as attempts to tap into this $100 million (Dh367m) niche market, marked as a growing money-spinner by industry forecasters.

The website, launched last month, will provide the skinny on hotels across the globe termed "halal friendly", providing deals and reviews by fellow travellers.

Website founder Karim Saad told Emirates Business: "We inform our users with details on halal facilities offered at our listed hotels – a no alcohol policy, availability of halal food, women-only pools and prayer facilities."

He said the website includes hotels, which meet at least two halal criteria in Muslim majority countries, and one criterion in non-Muslim ones.

The website is aimed at Muslims across the globe, yet, surprisingly most of its users come "from the United Kingdom and the United States", said Saad.

Nearly two years ago, halal tourism was marked as an emerging trend through the World Travel Market Global Trends Report, mentioning the possibility of a halal airline.

"Such an airline could provide Halal food, calls for prayer, Holy Quran, religious programmes, and separate sections for male and female passengers," the report had stated.

While the Middle East appears to be the obvious target market, the Euromonitor report also stated that key target groups could include religious tourists from outside the Middle East, such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan," adding that the sector represented "a promising niche for travel and tourism companies to investigate."

Saad said: "If you take Malaysia as example, the country has increased its inbound tourists from Middle East within a year from 150,000 to 250,000 only by focussing on halal kitchens within hotels."

He believes this segment can only grow in future.


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