Beach resorts are an emerging market and a potential opportunity for halal travel
The awareness of Halal issues among Muslims has significantly increased among Muslim tourists. Therefore, halal tourism is a fast-growing industry. As a result, there is growing interest in halal options to satisfy Muslim travel needs and in halal tourism among tourists, researchers, policymakers, industry players, and destination marketers.
Halal travel and Muslim-friendly tourism are new segments in the halal service industry getting significant opportunities. The demand exists in terms of halal meals on flights and hotels, halal airlines, Muslim-friendly hotels and beaches, etc. Availability of halal food and beverages is vital for destinations that target Muslim travellers.
It is now common for Muslim tourists to request halal food and beverages when they visit non-Muslim destinations. Most Muslims are very concerned about in-flight halal meals when travelling on a long flight.
Middle East flight services are aware of serving halal meals onboard departing from all major airports in the world, which is different from the global trend. It has been continuously reported by the Centre for Aviation (CAPA), witnessing the growth and expansion rate of the halal industry not seen in any other global market.
The beach resorts are an emerging market and a potential opportunity for halal travel. Personal et al. 2009 reviewed the report “Salaam Gateway January 2016” and emphasises the significance of this market. These beach resorts target Muslim travellers by offering them halal foods, stay with no alcohol premises, dedicated prayer rooms, separate pools and fitness centres and other Muslim-friendly services addressing Muslim lifestyle needs.
The report mentions 32 beach resorts in countries like Turkey, Thailand, Maldives, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, and UAE that offer a wide range of price levels, from budget to luxury.
One of the apparent expenses by Muslim travellers is for Hajj or Umrah, which is the holy task performed by millions of Muslims every year. Potential opportunities prevail in the market of Hajj and Umrah. For example,
• launch of low-cost carriers by Malaysia Airlines in 2018,
• digital solution to perform Umrah al badal,
• introduction of hi-tech bracelets in Hajj safety push by Saudi Arabia,
• Many other market players.
Halal industry development and tourism industry
Three major factors are driving the rapidly growing global halal market.
• First, the sizable and growing Muslim population at 1.8 per cent per annum,
• Boosting economic development and hence increasing purchasing power among Muslims.
• The emergence of the potential halal market in non-Muslim nations and halal industry players.
As a way forward, industry players should deepen their knowledge and understanding of the Muslim market (pattern and behaviour), regularly update data, and exploit untapped market niches and product sales and promotion.
In the tourism industry context, studies show empirical evidence that tourist satisfaction is a primary reason for their decision to review and endorse the destination to others. The travellers most probably revisit the places and are keen on sharing their travelling experiences with friends and family.
Travellers’ happiness with all attributes they get at a destination also significantly affects their loyalty. The destination’s image and satisfaction were essential variables which affected tourist loyalty at the theme park.
Women travellers are now one of the fastest-growing segments for both general tourism and Muslim travel, making up 45 per cent of global Muslim arrivals. Under halal tourism development forecasting, the GMTI 2022 report expects Muslim travellers numbers to reach 140 million in 2023 and return to 2019 pre-Covid levels of 160 million in 2024.
Before the pandemic, we projected that Muslim visitors’ arrival would reach 230 million by 2026. Given the situation we had in the last two years, our estimation is that this figure will only be reached in 2028, along with an estimated expenditure of US$225 billion.
Enhancement in the implementation
Every destination offers a variety of choices to visitors.
• Given the potential mix of tourism products and services that can be made available,
• Must ensure that halal tourism products and services cater to Muslim travellers’ needs.
• Understanding some of the popular forms of Halal tourism products and services will help assess the profit potential of investments in halall tourism.
Innovation is vital to satisfy Muslim tourists.
• In developing new ideas and innovations, technology plays an important role.
• One of the best practices to make a destination Muslim-friendly is Muslim-friendly applications.
• Other technology options are also suggested.
Muslim tourists prefer to visit Islamic destinations due to the security and safety offered by a similar culture to an Islamic environment.
• Consequently, halal tourism becomes significant as countries begin to lure tourists using Muslim-friendly attractions while offering competitive prices, promotions and services.
• Halal tourism plays a crucial role as it allows Muslim tourists to enjoy their holiday without compromising their religious requirements and obligations throughout their travels.
• The availability of Muslim-friendly services at holiday destinations is imperatively attributable to their impact on the tourists’ intention to revisit the locations. However, achieving tourist satisfaction could be challenging for locations situated in rural regions.
The knowledge of halal tourism is pertinent to industry players developing halal tourism infrastructure and facilities, Muslim-friendly destinations, halal travel packages, and halal travel activities.
Muslim tourists concerned with halal issues will understand halal requirements related to tourism and help them choose suitable halal travel alternatives.
Although the past or future Muslim population size in the world does not reveal to what extent Muslims actively practise their faith or how religious they are or will be, Muslim customers are still one of the fastest-developing market segments.
As such, their needs cannot be ignored by destination marketers. There are around one and a half billion followers of Islam, making it a major global religion. Destination marketers must understand Muslim tourism motivations as a critical element that causes tourists to visit specific destinations.
BY DR AZMI ABD AZIZ, Chief Technical Officer, Global Haltech