The travel marketplace is amongst the most difficult hit by COVID-19 but Muslim-welcoming travel bookings are on the increase once again, Turkey is displaying symptoms of restoration, and the Caribbean is making a powerful situation to woo the Muslim tourist.
Uk-primarily based on the web travel agent (OTA) HalalBooking was utilised to observing double-digit progress on a yearly basis, until this calendar year. The need for journey returned when COVID-19 lockdowns have been lifted, according to its main promoting officer.
“[F]rom March till June, there was zero gross sales due to the fact of the lockdown condition. Then we experienced a quite fast recovery. We saw more than 100% advancement rate in August, 120% in September, and 100% in Oct,” claimed Ufuk Secgin, speaking at the World Halal Summit, which took place on line and in Istanbul very last 7 days.
Secgin did not deliver information for December, when European international locations France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and United kingdom re-imposed constraints as COVID instances surged.
When journey restrictions initial hit the business, the OTA adapted to the transforming environment by increasing the number of houses on its web-site from 52,000 to 71,000. The company’s partnership with Expedia in July also aided it to significantly develop its assortment of attributes. A lot more than 10,000 of these checklist Muslim-friendliness data on areas these as halal food items, ladies-only services, and no-alcoholic beverages insurance policies.
A great deal of the newly-added attributes ended up town motels, picked to meet the growing demand for regional places as urbanites looked to staycations. HalalBooking suggests it has 300,000 registered users.
“Traditionally, we would have a lot more sunshine-seaside sort of resorts in the Mediterranean and Southeast Asia in international locations like the Maldives, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Turkey. But with many of our consumers not staying able to travel far, we offered them nearby selections in significant towns like London, Rome, and Paris,” reported Secgin.
“It was a accomplishment mainly because our customers appreciated these opportunities. It demonstrates that there is demand from customers and if you change as a travel enterprise to the new situation, you can capitalize on it,” he claimed.
The enterprise also released the ‘Book now, Pay back later’ selection and enhanced the variety of properties supplying ‘free cancellation’ premiums.
Most importantly, it did not need to permit go of any of its workers through the pandemic. “We are a lean firm and run with a modest range of staff members. We are about 50 individuals worldwide and know-how is our focus. In that way, we are capable to keep away from redundancies,” explained Secgin.
THE TURKEY Component
Exterior components these kinds of as the emergence of HalalBooking’s key market from lockdown, Turkey, also played a purpose in its solid comeback.
According to Secgin, Turkey’s Ministry of Tradition and Tourism, Ministry of Well being, and Ministry of International Affairs had been energetic in making positive the place was ready for the summertime period with the Secure Tourism Certification plan.
Because of these efforts, a lot of of HalalBooking’s major halal seaside resorts in Turkey have reopened and resorts are staying licensed against more than 100 steps by Bureau Veritas.
About 6,250 facilities and automobiles have gained certificates as of December 1.
Turkey’s Protected Tourism Certification program is at present obligatory for lodging services with 50 or a lot more rooms. By January 1, it will be compulsory for services with 30 or a lot more rooms.
“All resorts, tourism operators, journey companies, and taxis experienced to be COVID protected, and we were being one particular of the 1st to go to Turkey to make videos and share with our buyers so they could see it was a protected and satisfying vacation. That’s why we have been profitable in recovering,” said Secgin.
The sunlight-drenched vacation resort town of Antalya has been the amount just one destination for Muslim-welcoming beach vacations at HalalBooking.
“More clients who have seasoned this sort of vacation are coming again to us. We are now increasing to other destinations. The need is vastly outweighing the source,” explained Secgin.
Newly-launched destinations on the web-site involve Cote d’Azur, the Scottish Highlands, Lake Constance, Bosnia Herzegovina, Andalusia, and the Turkish Black Sea area.
TURKEY’S Spiritual HERITAGE
All through the peak of the pandemic and with the need for digitalization, Turkey Tourism Marketing and Improvement Company (TGA) designed the country’s to start with electronic expertise, GoTurkey.com.
The platform will offer information and facts on 81 metropolitan areas in 7 areas and will quickly consist of a Muslim-helpful tourism segment.
“Launching in January 2021, we will have a committed web site for halal tourism and what Turkey has to give. It will address every thing from halal food to halal-welcoming lodging and what to anticipate on a halal thought holiday as a Muslim traveller,” Elif Balci, deputy standard manager at TGA, claimed at the Globe Halal Summit.
The halal tourism part will also list pursuits similar to Ramadan, Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha.
Tour deals are the most effective way to explore Turkey’s Islamic internet sites as religious heritage is an essential aspect for Muslim vacationers picking a place, said Balci.
Turkey will be flaunting its numerous religious routes, Ottoman architecture, and Muslim relics. It is house to the Seljukian and Ottoman picket mosques of Anatolia, which are rare examples of religious architecture with nail-significantly less use of wooden and handcrafted decoration. The nation is also famed for its historic town of Sanliurfa, which is recognized as the town of prophets and is considered to be the initially position where Islam entered Anatolia.
“Turkey has a geostrategic edge in regard to the global Muslim populace. An estimated 400 million Muslims residing exterior of Turkey are within a 5-hour flight. Inside of this radius, 31 million Muslims are in EU nations and 44 million are in Gulf international locations,” explained Balci.
Away from Islamic nations, the Caribbean is the newest area to identify Muslim-welcoming tourism.
Suleiman Bulbula, co-founder and director of Barbados Halal Experience, is banking on the region’s unspoilt elegance and tourism-ready infrastructure to entice Muslims.
“What quite a few Muslim travellers will not understand is the presence of Muslims in the Caribbean for a lengthy time. Muslims exercise their religion in this portion of the entire world freely we have halal foods and mosques, and all the important components for halal tourism,” said Bulbula.
The record of Muslims in the Caribbean stretches back more than one particular thousand several years, predating European speak to by above six generations, according to American-Canadian Islamic lecturer and historian Abdullah Hakim Rapid.
“In the last 10 yrs, the foremost locations in the halal tourism market have been Muslim-majority nations, but this industry dominance is beginning to shift. Lots of Muslims are now searching for new locations outdoors Organization of Islamic Cooperation nations around the world. The Caribbean is a person of the locations that is ready to supply these options,” stated Bulbula.
“The raising availability of halal food stuff, Muslim-helpful facilities and prayer facilities is earning it a lot easier and extra pleasing for Muslims to travel to the location.”
With a lot more than 7,000 islands, the Caribbean depends closely on tourism. An believed 30 million guests contributed $59 billion toward the region’s gross domestic item in 2019, accounting for 50 to 90% of the GDP for most of the international locations, in accordance to the Global Monetary Fund.
“Caribbean governments are presently preparing for post-COVID. A targeted hard work coupled with far more investment decision in the halal brand will make the Caribbean an beautiful destination for halal tourism,” mentioned Bulbula.
(Reporting by Heba Hashem Modifying by Emmy Abdul Alim [email protected])
© SalaamGateway.com 2020 All Legal rights Reserved