Affluent and adventurous Muslim travellers are travelling the globe like never before.
So what’s all the fuss about and what does Halal Travel actually mean?
Firstly, its important to recognize that the basic premise of Islamic law is that an action is halal unless expressly forbidden. A halal action is further categorized as obligated, recommended or merely permissible. Allah (SWT) commands us to reflect upon His creation numerous times through out the Qur’an. With this intention, travel itself becomes a means of worship.
There is no universally agreed upon consensus as to what Halal Travel actually means. Just as in their personal practice, Muslims around the world have different degrees of how they choose to live their faith within the parameters of the permissible. As such, Halal Travel can mean different things for different people. For example, some Muslims are happy eating in a restaurant, which serves alcohol while some may not be. Some Muslims wouldn’t eat in a restaurant that served pork, for others, its not really a big deal as long as everything is kept separate. A ‘Halal friendly’ hotel could provide praying facilities, Qurans in the bedrooms for Muslim guests and separate swimming facilities for male and females. A hotel that serves alcohol in its bar area may also offer prayer facilities, Qur’ans and private swimming areas which would still potentially make it Halal friendly.
Halal Travel can also be described as family friendly travel or Muslim friendly travel. For example, perhaps even a non-Muslim family with young children may want to stay in a hotel that doesn’t serve alcohol. Makes sense right?
From a consumer’s point of view, it usually comes down to what destination is more Halal friendly than the other?
The tourism industry across the world has begun to recognize the importance of Muslim travellers, and is beginning to make accommodations to Muslim specific needs, such as bringing in Halal food from outside caterers.
The ultimate reality is that Halal Travel, or whatever you choose to call it, is here to stay. Figures show that this industry will grow to approximately 15% of the global travel market in 2020 (around $180 billion) and dozens of international tourism boards, hoteliers, restaurants, attractions all want to tap into this incredibly lucrative market.