Halaal tourism is slowly picking up in South Africa. More travellers are choosing Halaal-friendly options than ever before. According to the MasterCardCrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2015, the Muslim travel market is recognised as a prominent growing sector and will be worth around $200billion (nearly R3trillion) by 2020.
A recent study revealed that in 2015 the estimated total Muslim visitor arrivals were 117 million – close to 10% of the entire travel economy. South Africa is also one of the five most popular Organisation of Islamic Co-operation destinations in the global Muslim travel market. Tapping into the market, Cape Town Tourism developed a programme to incorporate Muslim travellers’ needs at various establishments and attractions in the city.
The chief executive of Cape Town Tourism, Enver Duminy, said the programme was now in its second year. They are working with GMTI, which assists destinations in providing relevant experiences to the Muslim travel market. “The sheer size of the growing Muslim travel market makes it common sense to ensure that we’re ready to welcome visitors from this market. Whether those visitors come from the Middle East, North Africa, Asia or even from our traditional source markets such as Germany or the UK, we must provide top-notch travel experiences to the Muslim market,” he said.
Ameer Dien of Halal Tourism South Africa said Muslim travellers were different: some did not mind alcohol being served at certain establishments while others preferred an all-inclusive halaal experience. “South Africa has much to offer Muslim travellers, from awardwinning accommodation to eateries and tourist attractions. It feels great to see the country catering for these kinds of travellers,” he said.
Dien said travellers who opted for halaal tourism wanted immersive experiences. They wanted to experience everything a particular destination had to offer – from its key tourist attractions to its beaches, its cuisine and its hidden gems. “Cape Town, for instance, has many scenic routes, adventure activities and delicious food. “Travellers who book with us normally request to see everything the city has to offer, while others opt for religious and cultural tours,” said Dien. Halal Tourism of South Africa shares some halaal-friendly places to visit in these three major cities.