INDONESIA is focusing increasingly on halal tourism and has ambitions of becoming the leading country for Muslim travel by 2019.
Indonesia’s Tourism Ministry held an event at the Sofyan Menteng Hotel in Jakarta last week to discuss halal tourism.
The implementation of halal tourism, also known as family-friendly tourism, is set to contribute to Indonesia’s national income by 2020. “In 2016, Indonesia was ranked the third in the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) after Malaysia and United Arab Emirates. We are aiming to take the first spot in 2019,” Lokot Ahmad Enda, the ministry’s deputy assistant for cultural tourism destination development, said at the event.
The event was attended by hospitality representatives from the travel industry. The move toward halal tourism hopes to make Muslim travelers feel more comfortable while abroad.
That seems a wise move considering the world’s Muslim population is expected to increase from 1.6 billion to 2.2 billion by 2030, with projections suggesting halal travel will rise above any other tourism sector.
“It’s becoming a hugely competitive market now, as tourism bodies realize the potential of attracting this high-spending market,” Andy Buchanan, Abu Dhabi-based event director, told The National. According to the GMTI, the Muslim travel sector is set to grow to a value of US$220 billion by 2020.
However, progress has already been made toward improving Indonesia’s halal tourism market. According to Riyanto Sofyan, the head of the department for family-friendly tourism, ten programs are currently being prepared to accelerate the rate of Muslims visiting the country.
Halal tourism surpasses just dining. Prayer facilities, accommodation, safe travel and air-connectivity are all aspects of Muslim travel.
And the halal tourism market is no longer niche, as Muslim travel accounts for around 10 percent of the global travel market.
Therefore, it is essential countries outside the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as well as those in it, understand the importance of tapping into the sector to ensure both travelers and the economy benefit.
For many countries, implementing new structures will not be necessary; instead it is about improving current systems to entice Muslim travelers.