Nowadays, we live in an era when globalization and traveling have become major parts of daily life. Every year many people travel across different countries to spend and enjoy their holidays. This has made tourism an important source of generating revenue for many countries. A new type of tourism has emerged on the horizon which is known as “Halal tourism”. It is a new product in the industry of tourism. Therefore, the need is there to develop custom halal tourism commodities and services to serve this actively developing market.
Halal is actually an Arabic word that means “allowable”. This ideology of being allowable or lawful doesn’t apply to food only. It is a complete lifestyle in which one must comply with the scope of different items permitted by the Shari’ah. These items range from cosmetics, food, medication, dressing, and bank and business dealings and in this case tourism. Hence, it means providing package offers specifically designed to focus touring Muslims and their religious needs.
It is a type of religious tourism and is normally related with the Middle Eastern countries, especially in times of Hajj and Umrah when packages are offered to the touring pilgrims. There is huge potential for halal tourism in this niche because it has a strong demand for halal commodities and services and has durability as every year millions of Muslim pilgrims tour Makkah and Madina. These days, the new pilgrimage packages are offered to these religious tourists which include an extended stay and even travel to religious cities other than Makkah and Madina. The pilgrims after performing the pilgrimage visit other cities and explore more about the culture and heritage of the localities and trailing on the routes taken by the Prophets of Islam.
However, halal tourism is not limited to the Middle East countries. Almulla Hospitality of Dubai has announced to open 150 hotels by 2015 in Europe and North America. In the States, IFANCA is working since 1982 in this cause. The Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) is a non-profit Islamic organization dedicated for the establishment of halal foods. The American Halal Association (AHA) is another non-profit association that was formed with the same cause.
About 25% of the world population is the Muslim population. Only in the United States, the population of Muslims will grow to 6.2 million in the year of 2030 from 2.6 million in 2010. To cater this market, the United States Halal Association (USHA) is also working in Illinois, US. USHA is dedicated in creating awareness among consumers and gives guidelines to the particular businesses to follow the halal lifestyle.
Halal Tourism has a great potential; however, this needs to be focused a bit more in the States as well because Muslims are growing in this country rapidly. The halal lifestyle in the US is currently somewhat limited to food products only. On the other hand, many international investors are looking to serve this segment in the demographics of United Sates, which is a positive sign.
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