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Published on : Thursday, June 2, 2016
Turkey, world’s sixth-largest tourist destination, hosted the second International Halal Tourism Conference in May in Konya. With more than 1,000 participants and over 30 exhibitors from such countries as Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Mauritius, attendance at the Konya conference was up 40% from the inaugural event in Europe in 2014, in Granada, Spain — another city known for its Islamic heritage.
In a bid to cater to the rising number of Muslim tourists, Turkey has resorted to measures to make it a “Muslim-friendly” destination. Among these measures, easy access to halal food and prayer facilities are the foremost.
However, Turkey has only a dozen tourism facilities designed for strictly observant, halal-conscious Muslims, who insist on environments that are free of alcoholic beverages and have separate pools and beaches for men and women.
According to the Global Muslim Travel Index 2016, published in Jakarta in March by MasterCard and CrescentRating, Turkey occupies the third position in the sector after Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. Indonesia, whose population is 88% Muslim, climbed two spots to become the fourth-most popular destination.