Sometimes last year I happened to host a Muslim family from Argentina and automatically I was their guide and during their stay we happened to take a day trip to a national park and after a meal one of them asked if I knew if the hotel had a prayer room where resident could use…. where else Serena was kind enough to offer somewhere it came to my mind if the tourism industry in Kenya is quite prepared for the muslim travelers needs besides Halal foods. So whats Halal Travel
- Halal travel: This is a travel by muslim who do not wish to compromise their faith-based needs while traveling for a purpose, which is permissible.
The Muslim travel market is one of the most lucrative and one of the most rapidly growing market segments in the industry. It is also one of the world’s highest spending tourist markets. Therefore it is vital that destinations, businesses and travel-related entities take the needs of this market segment into consideration when devising business models and plans.
According to Mastercard report The Muslim market is valued to be worth an estimated $126 billion, with this figure expected to increase rapidly over the next few years. By 2020, the market value is estimated to reach $200 billion, with an estimate of 168 Million muslim travelers and will make up a significant percentage of total global expenditure.
By engaging with this dynamic market segment, destinations and travel-related businesses can benefit greatly. The untapped Muslim travel market has great potential for industry players with a wealth of business opportunities and revenue streams in the future.
Muslim travellers travel for the same reasons as any other tourist – to explore the different destinations and experience their unique culture. However they do not wish to compromise on their beliefs and have certain requirements and needs when travelling – such as the availability of Halal food and prayer facilities at their selected destination. Destinations that are able to provide these facilities and meet the requirements of Halal-conscious travellers are generally preferred amongst Muslims.
Understanding the unique needs of Muslim travellers can benefit destinations, accommodation providers, travel agents, restaurants, airlines, government associations and any travel-related entity. By evaluating their current offerings and upgrading a few facilities, it is possible to better serve Muslim travellers and become the preferred choice amongst the entire market segment.
Many destinations across the world have identified this potential and are adapting their offerings to better appeal to the Muslim travel market. One such example is Japan. In a bid to diversify its tourism industry, the Japanese Government is implementing plans to increase the availability of Halal food, prayer facilities and other Muslim-friendly facilities . As a result, Muslim visitor arrivals are forecasted to hit 1 million by 2020 with a growth rate of over 18% over the next few years. Other countries have applications around Halal Travel.
If you still haven’t considered Muslim travelers in your establishment, Here are a list of what you need to have to attract more of this travelers as categorized by crescentrating; The eBook here is a good guide on how a Hotel could cater to their Muslim guests during the month of fasting.
Need to Have; In the “Need to have” category are Halal food services and prayer facilities. Having an acceptable level of these services in places like hotels, attractions, theme parks, shopping malls etc., is integral to having a sustained growth of these travelers to the destination. Those unable to cater to these two needs are better off postponing targeting this segment until such a time as they are able to provide these services.
Halal food is by far the most important service that a Halal conscious traveler is looking for when traveling. As a result, it is one of the main beneficiaries of the growing Muslim travel sector.
Prayer rooms equipped with “foot washing” facilities easily accessible at the Destinations’ main tourism hotspots is another “Need to have” feature.
Good to have; “Availability of water in wash rooms” and “the ability for a destination to cater to the Muslim travelers during the month fasting (Ramadhan)” Use of water in the toilets is a Muslim etiquette. Not having a proper setup to do that is discomforting for travelers. Providing such facilities has become less cumbersome now with the widespread availability of hand showers, bidets or even Japanese style toilets.
Nice to have; Finally, in the “Nice to have” category are those services or facilities with “no non-halal services/activities” and “recreational services which provide privacy for males and females”. There is a growing sub-segment of Muslim travelers who are looking for destinations, resorts etc. offering these types of services. Some resorts in Turkey are already targeting these holiday makers and reaping huge benefits.
As far as Kenya religion goes, the Constitution of Kenya guarantees freedom of religion and worship to its people and that includes Islam one of the major religion in Kenya. The largest number of Muslims in Kenya are found in Mombasa and the neighboring coastal regions, as well as the northeastern regions of Kenya. Nairobi also has numerous mosques and a notable Muslim following however there are mosques through out the country and yes kenya is open for Halal travel….
For assistance on Halal Travel reach out to us;