by Manuel Cayon – April 23, 2016
DAVAO CITY—The Department of Tourism (DOT) went full blast in promoting halal, the Islamic practice in food-related preparation, and said it would up its scale in the Crescent Rating on preferred global destinations for Muslim travelers.
Tourism Assistant Secretary Arturo Boncato Jr. said the promotion in recent years of Islamic food-preparation practices, at least in southern Philippines, has improved slightly the standing of the Philippines in the Crescent Rating, now at 46th spot among 100 preferred nations.
“It’s not a good spot yet, and we have to exert more effort to go up further. We should strive to land in the top-10 list,” he said.
The Crescent Rating is the recognized travel guide among Islamic countries, where their nationals are among the leading number of travelers for business or leisure.
Boncato presented the likelihood of the country increasing its chances of landing at the top-10 list in the Crescent Rating, citing the proximity of Malaysia and Singapore, two of the world’s favorite destinations among Muslims.
He said Malaysia is turning out to be a top destination for Muslim travelers belonging to the 57-member nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), while Singapore is the preferred spot for Muslims in countries that are not members of the OIC.
“Fortunately for us, these two countries are within our neighborhood and we have to really work it out to invite them to our place,” he said. In recent weeks the DOT went to Malaysia in an international conference, “where we announced our readiness and availability of halal establishments and food preparations.”
“This week we will be traveling to Dubai to make that announcement of our improved environment for Muslim travelers,” he told the Philippine Halal Tourism Expo 2016 in a public program at the Abreeza Ayala Mall here on Friday. Their next target is to attend the second International Halal Travel Guide Congress in Turkey to be held on the first week of May.
Last month Ihsan Ovut, secretary-general of Turkey’s Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC), told the “BIMP-Eaga International Halal Congress: An Academic Perspective,” held at the Apo View Hotel, of the comprehensive list of Arabic-accepted halal preparation for food and food-related products such as cosmetics and drugs. His technical assistant, Yasim Zulfikaroglu, also told a news conference that the Philippines, “a neophyte in halal production, has a place in the huge global halal market.”