Halal tourism event opens its door in Turkey

Konya city Turkey. Image from wrirosscities
Konya city Turkey. Image from wrirosscities

Konya, Turkey (IINA) – The central Turkish city of Konya, which was designated the Islamic capital of tourism by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), hosted on Tuesday a two-day event about halal tourism, Daily Sabah news reported.

Dubbed the largest event for the thriving halal tourism industry and bringing together thousands of industry professionals from around the world, the event kicked off at Konya’s Mevlana Cultural Center.
Speaking at the event, Minister of Culture and Tourism Mahir Ünal said halal tourism reminded the world about “a new sensitivity.” “It is about people’s desire for exploring new places and being respected for their (religious) preferences. It is actually more than a tourism phenomenon exclusively catering to members of a certain faith, and its broader message is that tourism with its embracing spirit, should respect tourists’ sensitivities, faiths and preferences,” he said. Ünal said Turkey received 7.6 million tourists from Muslim countries in 2015, and this was about 30 percent higher than 2014.
Ünal said his ministry would continue supporting halal tourism industry events such as the conference.
Dr. Bandar Fahad al-Fehaid, who heads the Arab Tourism Organization of the Arab League, said at the event that his organization would soon open an office in Istanbul to support halal tourism. Al-Fehaid said the rising Muslim population around the world, which will account for 26 percent of the global population in 2030, makes Muslims “significant consumers” of tourism, and called upon the tourism industry to be more mindful of Muslim tourists’ demands for tourism activities.

Turkey is the 3rd most popular destination in the global Muslim travel market, according to the most comprehensive research yet released on this sector. The MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2016, which covers 130 destinations, saw Turkey take third place on the list of OIC destinations behind Malaysia, which retained its primary position followed by the Emirates.
The conference is expected to foster halal tourism and further contribute to Turkey’s popularity as a trending travel destination.

In 2015, there were an estimated 117 million Muslim visitor arrivals globally, representing close to 10 percent of the entire travel market. This is forecasted to grow to 168 million visitors by 2020 equal to 11 percent of the market segment, with a market value projected to exceed $200 billion, according to studies. Asia and Europe were also identified as the two leading regions in the world for attracting Muslim visitors, accounting for 87 percent of the entire market, according to GMTI.


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