The Halal Tourism and the Halal Economy
The concept of Halal, meaning permissible in Arabic, is not just being applied to food, but it includes any Shari’ah compliant products ranging from bank dealings to cosmetics, vaccines and tourism. Halal Tourism is a form of tourism for Muslims who prefer to utilize services, facilities and activities compliant with Islamic principles.This means offering tour packages and destinations all over the world that are particularly designed to cater for Muslim considerations and address Muslim needs. The fundamental of Halal tourism includes the components such as Halal hotel, Halal transportation, Halal food premises, Halal logistics, Islamic finance, Islamic travel packages, and Halal spa. Because of the demand from the Muslim market towards Halal service it is essential for counties to develop a concept for Halal tourism business that will directly fulfill the Muslim needs to become one of the niche product for the tourism industry in any country.
The Halal Economy that encompasses the Halal Tourism, Halal Food, Halal Clothing, Halal Cosmetics and Pharmaceuticals among others is poised to grow over the next few years. Valued at approximately US$3.2 trillion in 2012, the halal sector is forecasted to increase to US$6.4 trillion by 2018.
A study by Pew Research Centre has found that the world’s Muslim population will grow at 35% over the next decade, which is around double the rate of the non- Muslim population. This will bring the Muslim population from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030. Thomson Reuters has predicted that the Islamic tourism market is projected to be worth US$181 billion by 2018. Recognising the potential in the rapidly growing Muslim population, and the increasing demand for halal alternatives in various retail sectors, many countries including non-muslim countries are already jumping on the bandwagon and opening up their markets for Muslim capital and tourists.
According to the 2014-2015 report by Thomson Reuters on the State of the Global Islamic Economy the global Muslim spending on travel (outbound) has increased 7.7% to reach $140 billion in 2013(excluding Hajj and Umrah). This is 11.6% of the global expenditure and is expected to reach $238 billion by 2019. Top source countries of Muslim tourists based on 2013 expenditure were: Saudi Arabia ($17.8 billion), Iran ($14.3 billion), United Arab Emirates ($11.2 billion), Qatar ($ 7.8 billion), Kuwait ($7.7 billion), and Indonesia ($7.5 billion). Meanwhile, Malaysia, UAE and Singapore lead the Halal Travel Indicator that focusses on the health of the family-friendly/Halal Travel ecosystem a country has relative to its size.