Muslim-friendly hotel classification specialist and leading Middle East destination stage halal tourism workshop for emirate’s top hotels, attractions and industry stakeholders
Salam Standard has partnered with the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) to educate the emirate’s hotels, attractions and other key industry stakeholders about halal travel trends and the sector’s growth potential.
The Muslim-friendly hotel classification specialist, which is based in Malaysia, and Abu Dhabi’s tourism promotion agency staged a halal tourism workshop, which provided insight into how the emirate’s hospitality industry can best capitalise on this global market, which is set to be worth US$243 billion (11% of total travel and tourism industry receipts) by 2021, according to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Joining the destination’s top hotels at the one-day event, which took place at Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana on Monday July 10th, were UAE flag carrier Etihad Airways and other influential industry stakeholders including Farah Experiences, which manages and operates two of the region’s most popular attractions — Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld, both located on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island.
Workshop participants learned about the needs and preferences of Muslim travellers from around the world, including those from Abu Dhabi’s key tourism source markets, discovering what they sought from destinations to enable them to practice their faith while exploring the globe.
Salam Standard Co-Founder and CEO, Faeez Fadhlillah, who led the workshop that was based on the company’s wide-ranging research, focused on the importance of providing — and promoting — adequate prayer facilities, halal food and refreshments and other Muslim-friendly amenities.
“By making a few simple adjustments and enhancements and communicating their availability to the right audience, destinations such as Abu Dhabi, which is already deemed a leading halal-friendly destination, can make Muslim travellers from all over the world feel at home,” said Fadhlillah.
“Given the growth potential of the Muslim travel market, which generates US$139 billion in GDP and accounts for 4.5 million jobs worldwide each year, promoting halal friendliness as a key selling point not only makes good business sense for individual tourism industry providers, but has a wider economic impact for destinations that ‘buy-in’ to the concept.”
TCA Abu Dhabi is already on board having stated its intention to become a leading halal tourism destination back in 2015.
Since then, the tourism body has been working closely with global experts in the field, including Salam Standard, to help industry stakeholders understand the nuances of the sector and encourage them to promote their Muslim-friendly products and services.
Earlier this year, TCA Abu Dhabi broadened its strategy, announcing plans to trailblaze the halal-friendly cruise concept as more ships home port or make calls in the emirate.
It comes as Abu Dhabi witnesses a surge in tourism business from Muslim-majority countries such as Saudi Arabia, which posted a 9% year-on-year increase in guest arrivals to the emirate in 2016, according to the authority.
At the same time, countries with growing outbound Muslim travel sectors such as India and China are two of the fastest-growing source markets for Abu Dhabi, posting arrivals growth of 15% and 31% respectively in 2016 versus 2015.
Some of Abu Dhabi’s hotels are already on board with Salam Standard, an industry-leading initiative that aims to improve quality standards and transparency for Muslim travellers and boost the global visibility of accommodation that meets this demographic’s faith-based needs.
The online information tool rates accommodation according to the halal-friendly services and amenities offered. Hotels are categorised across four tiers – Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum – considering the number and standard of those facilities.
Salam Standard launched in 2015, based on an exclusive survey of 50,000 Muslim travellers from around the world who were asked what services and amenities were most important to them when travelling.
Sister company Tripfez was launched by Fadhlillah shortly after – a travel review and booking site for Muslim travellers with Salam Standard listed properties amongst the content featured.
Fadhlillah, who was recently named 2017 PATA Face of the Future and also featured in the Forbes ‘30 Under 30’ list of up-and-coming Asian business identities in the retail and e-commerce sector in 2016, is considered a leading authority on the global halal tourism sector.
Last year he released a first-of-its-kind research paper – the Global Economic Impact of Muslim Tourism report by Salam Standard — which found Middle East nations accrue the largest share of their tourism GDP from Muslim travellers (28%).
Middle East travellers are also the biggest spenders, accounting for 60% of total global outbound Muslim tourism expenditure, worth some $60 billion.
For more information on Salam Standard and to view the report, click here or visit salamstandard.org