Published on : Thursday, January 5, 2017
In the global tourism sector, Muslim travelers make up a massive percentage. This sector was worth $145-billion in 2014, with 108 million Muslim travelers. By 2020, it is expected to grow $200 billion with Muslim travelers increasing to 150 million by that year. Besides countries with large Muslim populations like Malaysia or the MENA region (like the UAE and Egypt) being only options for halal travel, countries like Thailand and Australia are thinking of their share of the Muslim tourist market by focusing on faith-based needs like halal food, separate spas for women and prayer rooms in airports and malls.
South Africa too is fast establishing itself as a firm contender for Muslim favorable holiday destination. SA has started to gain popularity across the world as a destination that caters not only to Muslims in SA, but also as a place that’s accommodative to Muslims from all over the world, who come to enjoy their holidays without having to sacrifice their religious needs. In SA now, there is an abundance of Muslim-owned and operated B&Bs and guesthouses.
To quote Nazreen Salie, chief executive of Cape Malay Tours, “It’s the fastest growing sector of tourism in the world. After 9/11, South Africa lost the opportunity to be an alternative to the United States and Europe. How many of our five-star and four-star hotels, for example, have a halaal-certified kitchen?” Salie adds, “The halal logo is the mark of assurance, and [having] tourism products and services in line with Islamic beliefs means that it is becoming more marketable.”
Types of accommodation available to Muslim travelers also vary, and can be customized according to the kind of holiday they prefer. There are number of game lodges in SA, which are fully Muslim-owned or Muslim-friendly. International halal travel site HalalTrip.com offers a full Spectacular South Africa tour. Local site, Stay Halaal showcases a number of halal accommodation options across South Africa. There is also no shortage of halal food in SA, wherever you might be.