The Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Philippines is pushing for “halal consciousness” in the country’s tourist hubs as a way of inculcating respect for the Islamic religion and to attract more Muslim visitors.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said that with the Philippine Halal Tourism Project, launched last week at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, the DOT is looking to capture a larger slice of the $200-billion international halal tourism market.
The project, Jimenez said in a statement, was launched in under 100 days with the DOT working with the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), the Halal International Chambers of Commerce and Industries of the Philippines (Hiccip) and Singapore-based company Crescent Rating.
“Halal” is any item or action permissible in Islamic Law. It covers all matters of daily life, including food and drink.
Initially, the DOT and the other organizations prepared kitchens and facilities in 43 hotels, resorts, restaurants and other tourist establishments throughout the country to make sure they were “halal certified.”
“The best and most important welcome for visitors is food. And if you are not halal, then there is a very important segment of society worldwide that you are not extending a proper welcome to,” Jimenez said.
Citing a study by Crescent Rating, he said: “The Philippines is one of the countries in Southeast Asia that is determined to partake of 20 to 25 percent of the $200-billion global halal market. The market is already there, with arrivals from Malaysia, for one, growing at double-digit rates. The only thing that is wanting is capacity.”
Crescent Rating is the leading authority on Muslim travel recognized for its independent rating and accreditation standards worldwide.