People, Travel

Istanbul to Host Halal Tourism Confab

Istanbul to Host Halal Tourism ConfabIstanbul to Host Halal Tourism Confab

The Second International Halal Tourism Conference, a three-day annual event initiated by CM Media under the sponsorship of Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry and Turkish Airlines, will be held from Dec. 1-3.

The concept of halal tourism, which concerns nearly 1.5 billion Muslims all over the world, is the fastest growing trend of global tourism. Many conferences have been organized in different countries to better introduce the concept of halal tourism and attract more people, reported.

The event is expected to bring together the global tourism industry and sectoral professionals to discuss strategies on how to tap into this niche market. It will be crucial for professionals actively engaged in the sector or seeking ways to operate in this market.

More than 1,000 international delegates from 30 countries, including industry experts, international speakers, specialists and tourism suppliers, are expected to attend the International Halal Tourism Conference.

According to MasterCard-Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel Index 2015 data, the global halal tourism market totaled $150 billion and experienced 14-percent growth last year with 108 million Muslim travelers representing 10 percent of the global travel economy. This number is predicted to grow to $200 billion by 2020.

While Malaysia, Turkey and the UAE are prominent actors in this sector, many more countries, regardless of their religious majority, are trying to attract Muslim tourists from all over the world by offering them facilities in accordance with their religious beliefs.

A Muslim majority country and home to shrines of prominent Islamic figures, Iran is vying for Muslim tourists and efforts are being made to turn the country into a top halal tourism destination.

However, some segments believe the country does not need to advertise its tourism as halal, saying Iran’s laws are all based on Islamic laws that make tourism halal anyway, foregoing the need to slap the halal brand on products.

Secretary-General of Halal World Institute Abdolhossein Fakhari believes the halal brand is necessary if Iran is to become a hotspot for Muslim travelers, the Persian daily Hamshahri reported in July.

“When people see countries like Turkey, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia use the halal brand, they might wonder why Iran doesn’t,” he said. “Last year, President [Hassan] Rouhani emphasized that Iran has to become a major halal destination, so things need to change to make that happen.”

Fakhari said when tourists know, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the services offered are halal, they will travel to Iran.

“An international, independent organization, and not domestic entities, has to issue certificates for halal services and products,” he said.