News From : DagangHalal.com (01 Jun 2009)
The six-star Emirates Palace Hotel and the seven-star all-suite Burj Al Arab in Dubai attest to the great spending power of Muslims from the Middle East. The Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is set to target tourists from this region in next half of this year, with the hope that it can attract at least 2,000 Muslim tourists per year to come to Taiwan for sightseeing tours.
The agency estimated the tourism market for Muslim visitors to be worth as much as NT$1.4 billion (US$40 million) annually.
Muslims do not eat pork, and before eating other kinds of meat, they have to follow a strict ritual: when the blade falls, the name of Allah is called out; and the knife must make sever the jugular veins swiftly, so that the animal is killed instantly and its blood can be properly drained.
Wayne Liu, director of the bureau’s international division, said that Islamic law has clear prescriptions for preparing foods, which can only be consumed if processed in accordance with the provisions of Sharia law. Even the ingredients in a soup stock must be certified by a Muslim mosque as conforming to Halal food standards, he added.
In Taiwan there are currently only 40 Halal-certified restaurants, with most of them confined to the Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung and Kaohsiung metropolitan areas. When the bureau invited tour guides from Muslim areas to come to Taiwan for an exploratory tour, it became awkwardly apparent that there are no Halal restaurants in the Hualien and Taitung regions.
“Before we can attract more Muslim visitors, the most urgent problem to solve is that we need to have more Halal food restaurants,” Liu pointed out.
The Tourism Bureau has also started to improve accommodation facilities. It is helping hotels to set up prayer rooms, to install bidets, and to provide signs pointing in the direction of Mecca, for the convenience of Muslim visitors.