Halal Certification and the Hospitality Industry
Muslim consumers often look for ways to observe principles of their faith in all aspects of life, from diet to daily conduct to leisure activities, including travel. More travel by Muslim consumers has spurred the growth of the Halal travel and hospitality industry. In fact, they represent one of the fastest growing segments of the industry.
According to a 2018 study by Crescent Rating and Mastercard, the Halal travel sector will be worth $300 billion over the next decade. Increasingly, young middle-class Muslims are looking outside of traditional trips – visits to their parents’ or grandparents’ country of origin or well-known Halal-friendly destinations like Morocco and Turkey – to destinations like Japan, Korea, and beyond. This presents an exciting opportunity to meet the needs of this demographic. Already, travel services and online Halal travel guides are springing up, offering information and travel planning for globe-trotting Muslims looking to experience the world while following their faith. HalalTravelGuide.net, for example, offers tours in Bosnia, Turkey, and Uzbekistan, as well as information on traveling in non-Muslim regions from the Cotswolds to the Caribbean.
What does Halal look like in the hospitality industry? Typically, a Halal-certified hotel would offer services and amenities that allow Muslim consumers to travel comfortably. According to HalalBooking.com, there are four key aspects of Halal hotels and resorts. Certified Halal food is available in on-site restaurants or for room service, so guests can easily enjoy delicious meals that meet their needs. They offer an alcohol-free environment, with no bars, no alcohol served in the restaurant, and no alcohol in the rooms. If there are pools or beaches, some will be designated “women-only” or “family” areas, so Muslim travelers can relax and swim while observing religious and cultural standards of modesty. Finally, they typically have a family-friendly environment and might offer amenities specifically for children to welcome travelers of all ages.
Availability of Halal food is often one of the most important requests from travelers, who want to try local food made with Halal ingredients. Access to prayer spaces and alcohol-free activities are also high on the list, according to interviews with Halal travel bloggers in The New York Times.
Popular travel destinations are taking note. Japan, hoping to draw millions of tourists for the now-postponed 2020 Tokyo Winter Olympics, made great efforts to ensure that Halal food would be available for Muslim athletes and visitors. In an article on their website, the Muslim Council of Hong Kong reported that Tokyo had reached a deal with Malaysian companies to supply food for the games. With its rigorous standards, Malaysia is a trusted source for Halal products. Relying on them would ensure that Muslim tourists feel comfortable planning trips to the Olympics, knowing that one of the biggest concerns, finding trustworthy Halal food, has been addressed.
While travel is greatly reduced during the pandemic, many people will still need to travel for essential business or personal needs, and some will also travel for pleasure when they feel it is safe to do so. With many hotels at low capacity, Halal certification can make yours stand out to consumers among the hundreds vying for their business. In addition, certification can provide some peace of mind in the midst of a period fraught with anxiety about personal health and safety.
Eventually, things will return to normal, and people all over the world will be more excited than ever to travel. More people will be traveling for business needs as well. Increasingly, consumers in Muslim-majority areas of the world have higher disposable incomes and are interested in international travel. They will be looking for ways to vacation that are family-friendly and consistent with their faith and values. We will travel again, and Halal certification will ensure that your hotel, resort, or spa is ready to welcome excited travelers.
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