People, Travel

Iran Could Become Top Halal Tourism Spot

Iran Could Become Top Halal Tourism SpotIran Could Become Top Halal Tourism Spot

Iran is well known for its Islamic traditions and ancient history, which can be tapped to transform the country into a top halal destination for both Muslim and non-Muslim tourists, for different reasons.

Halal tourism is a relatively new branch of tourism officially recognized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, which provides Muslims with special tourism programs.

It is geared toward Muslims who would like products and services to conform to their religious values while on vacation, including restaurants with a halal menu and an alcohol-free environment. Other services include segregated swimming pools, prayer rooms and regular announcement of prayer times.

Annually, millions of foreign and domestic travelers and pilgrims visit Iran’s attractions and religious sites, such as Mashhad, the capital of Khorasan Razavi Province, famous for housing the mausoleum of Imam Reza (PBUH), the eighth Shia Imam.

“This is an opportunity to use Iran’s huge capacity for halal tourism development,” Aftab News quoted Nassrollah Pejman, chairman of Majlis Cultural Commission, as saying.

Iran bears all the hallmarks of a halal destination: Halal meat is served on airplanes and across the country, sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks are prohibited and recreational facilities are exclusively designed for both women and men.

Most Muslim tourists like to visit religious sites during their vacation and because of its wealth of religious sites and abundance of such sites, Iran is well placed to flourish as a halal tourism hub.

Pejman noted that non-Muslim travelers visit halal destinations to learn more about Islamic culture, which helps bring people closer and do away with misunderstandings.

According to Masoud Soltanifar, the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, more than 90% of Iran’s infrastructures are geared toward halal tourism.

A $142-billion industry, halal tourism could help jumpstart Iran’s economy by tapping into the massive global Muslim community. With more than 1.6 billion Muslims in over 100 countries and the fact that Muslims are increasingly taking up traveling, halal tourism offers huge prospects.

Moreover, peace and stability in Iran, especially given the unrest in the surrounding region, help burnish the country’s potential as a popular halal destination.