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Published on : Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Soraya Homchuen, director, TAT Mumbai accompanied the group through Chiang Mai in northern Thailand showcasing hotels capable of delivering halal food. The idea was to create exposure for Thailand beyond its beach destinations and bring to the fore destinations and attractions that might appeal to their sentiments, rather than make them uncomfortable.
The group included two travel agents from Hyderabad, one from Mumbai, one from Madurai, one from Bangalore and one each from Colombo and Male. The TAT Mumbai delegation joined 113 representatives of travel agencies and media from 13 countries around at the world Muslim Friendly Destination” function on 5 June, 2015, at the Impact Exhibition Centre, Impact Muang Thong Thani, alongside the Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM +) 2015.
In the morning session, there were lectures on the readiness of Thai tourism products and services to accommodate the Muslim tourist market by highly qualified speakers Assoc. Dr. Pakorn Priyakorn, President of the Foundation of the Islamic Centre of Thailand, and Mr. Imtiaz Muqbil, Executive Editor, Travel Impact Newswire. In the afternoon session, there was a table-top sale between Thai tourism operators interested in attracting the Muslim market and representatives of the invited travel agents and media.
The event provided information about tourism products and services that might appeal to the Muslim market; such as, some prominent Muslim landmarks, prayer rooms, Muslim communities in Thailand (which have their own indigenous lifestyle that might be interesting to experience), hotels, Halal restaurants and other attractions tailored to this market segment, including amusement parks and theme parks.
At present, the population of Muslims worldwide is estimated at 1.6 billion people, or about one in four of the total world population. ASEAN, India, the GCC countries (United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia), Egypt, Iran and North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria) are very attractive markets in this category.
A lot of new products are emerging; such as, a leading Halal hotel scheduled to open in October 2015 in Bangkok, quality Halal restaurants in the major tourist cities, especially in the Southern provinces as well as the promotion of Halal Lanna food in the northern provinces.
TAT believes this “Muslim Friendly Destination Mega Fam trip” will help to increase the proportion of the Muslim target group, especially amongst the high-end and intermediate markets, family and women groups. According to the Mastercard Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel Index 2015, Thailand was ranked second of the most popular destinations for Muslim tourists from all over the world (in the category of non-Muslim countries).