News From : DagangHalal.com (16 Sep 2010)
Halal travel is now gaining popularity globally as demand for products and services permitted by Islam extends beyond food and banking.
Affluent Muslim travellers are making their influence felt by opting to travel to destinations and staying in places that accommodate their needs, mainly that operate within the boundaries of their religious beliefs.
“There is demand for this kind of travel and it is gaining popularity,” said Mr Mohammed Jamaa of Sagal Travel.
Sagal Travel is one of the agents in the country, that offers travel options for Muslims in the country. It mainly arranges Islamic tours including the Hajj.
Halal is an Arabic term meaning ‘permissible’ and although frequently linked to butchery, it refers to anything that is permissible under Islam.
Kenya has yet to tap into this market as it does not have halal travel in the true sense but industry insiders say that some properties have been proposed in Maasai Mara and the Kenyan Coast.
Halal travel is a relatively new concept that has mainly been adapted in Asia, Middle East and some European destinations like Turkey as well as individual hotels.
The travel has been popularised by Mr Fazal Bahardeen, a former highflying corporate executive who after spending years of staying in hotels that did not cater to his religion started a rating company, Crescentrating.
The company rates hotels as halal, just like local tourist bodies rate hotels with stars, on their friendliness to Muslim travellers.
The Halal Friendly Rating for Travel and Tourism services was launched in October 2009 and looks at things like the separation of men and women as required by the religion.
Other things looked at is serving of halal food, markers in hotel rooms pointing to Mecca, staff being able to answer questions from Muslim guest about particular needs and alcohol policies among others.
The company’s highest ratings, six and seven, require a hotel to be free of alcohol, discos and TV channels showing movies unsuitable for families and children. In addition, all food and beverages must be halal.
Globally, only Dubai’s Al Jawhara Garden Hotel has a rating of seven, while three hotels in Saudi Arabia and one in South Africa are rated six.
In a recent interview with online travel website eturbonews.com Mr Bahardeen, said that Muslim travellers account for seven to eight per cent of global tourism expenditure, which totalled around $930 billion in 2009, up form just three to four per cent 10 years ago.
He expects this share to grow to ten per cent in the next two years.
– Business Daily