Taiwan - fast becoming haven for Muslim travelers

Taiwan is the 7th highest non-IOC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) destinations in the world. Attracting over 30,000 Muslim visitors a year and growing, the island country is fast emerging as a ‘Halal Tourism’ destination.

It is estimated that by 2020, there will be as many as 168 million people traveling the world over, amongst which Muslims, which are the least exposed to travel (due to their stern Islamic doctrines) make up for 16 million of the total sum.

But Taiwan, looking to cater for these sensitive communities has inducted some welcoming measures such as; food monitor and regulation, Mosques for prayer and worship, information regarding prayer timings and schedule, halal eateries and much more. All of which to help Muslim feel right at home.  

Despite having a majority of Buddhist population, many of Taiwan’s major cities have mosques in them. Cities such as Taipei, Zhongli, Taichung, Tainam and Kaohsiung all have operational mosques and certified halal eateries. The Kuala Lumpur-based Taiwan Tourism Bureau (TTB) Director, Tony Wu said, that Taiwan now has more than 100 halal eateries and the nation is aiming to project 100,000 Muslim tourists by the end of this year.

Now, the question still arises; who monitors and administers these norms? And whether they are under a supervising authority, which is approved and recognized by the Islamic community?

To mitigate these fears there is in place a rating system, ‘The Crescent Rating System’; a globally recognized independent rating standard, and approved by the Taiwan Integrity Development Association, which is a member of the World Halal Food Council.

Also, the Chinese Muslim Association in Taipei certifies all halal products and eateries that are operating in Taiwan. There is a mobile app as well called Halal Taiwan that helps Muslims go about their ways.

How does the Crescent Rating System work?

The Crescent Rating System works on the overall halal-friendliness of hotels on a scale of 1 – 7. 1 being the lowest and 7 being the highest. Having the reputation of being one of the world’s great kitchens, halal foods are very much welcome.

Cuisines ranging from Middle Eastern-Arabian, Moroccan, Egyptian, Turkish, Indian to even Thai and Indonesian are served in them.

Here is how the rating works:

Hotels with 1 – 3 crescent rating are considered ‘helpful’. They provide prayer timings and direction as well as information on nearby halal eateries and Mosques.

Hotels with a 4 level rating, will additionally have a partial halal food service; either halal breakfast and/room service. A level 5 rating will have a halal certified kitchen or restaurant.

Hotels with a rating of 6 – 7 take into account most of the needs of a halal conscious traveler in their service and facilities. In general, they will be serving only halal food and beverages, along with other family-friendly facilities.