Published on : Saturday, March 25, 2017
An elderly man recites the Koran in a bit nervous way inside the dining hall of the five-star Al Meroz hotel in Bangkok as a groom waits outside for the arrival of his bride. The would-be wife appears in a white dress with a befitting headscarf. It was one of the many ceremonies that took place last month at Al Meroz, the first Halal hotel of Bangkok.
For long, Bangkok has been a major crowd puller for the sun-seekers and hedonists across the globe enjoying the parties, cheap liquor, red-light areas and tropical beaches.
But the city also witnesses huge number of Muslim tourists, a kind of a deliberate strategy of south East Asian countries in order to diversify their visitor profile. To quote Sanya Saenboon, the general manager of the hotel, ‘’ considering there are 1.5 billion Muslims around the world, I think this is a very good market.’’
Initially, alcohol was barred in the hotel and the swimming pool and gym areas were allotted men and women on specific times. Almost everything in the hotel is at par with the Muslim practice like washing bed linen in a specific way, alcohol and animal fat free toiletries etc. giving a peaceful stay to the visitors without doubt and apprehension like ‘can I eat this?’