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Ramadan is the religious observance of fasting in Islam and Muslims fast this whole month annually. The date cannot be determined in advance due to the nature of the lunar calendar, however it is expected to begin around the 27th or 28th of June 2014. The dates may vary from country to country as Muslims have to begin and end the month of Ramadan after sighting the new moon. This month is a special month for Muslims around the world and observing fast is a compulsory act of worship if you are an adult although most children take part in this ritual as well. The fast should to be observed from sunrise to sunset and as it is the month of seeking repentance, Muslims need to spend a lot of time in prayer. Most Muslims don’t travel much during this month unless it is on pilgrimage to Makkah. But when it is essential to travel on work or for other reasons, Muslims are mostly reluctant travelers because finding Muslim-friendly facilities are not easy in most countries.

The Middle East is a loosely defined geographic region with most of the countries belonging to western Asia with the exception of Egypt, which is part of Africa, and the north western part of Turkey which is part of Europe. The countries within this region are Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Cyprus and Bahrain. Although this region is the smallest, it is the fastest growing tourist generating region in the world, with the outbound travel segment- growing at a very rapid rate and is expected to increase further in the coming years. This surge in outbound travel is the result of stronger economic conditions, rising disposable income, population growth and the rise in middle income expatriates traveling back home to visit family. Business travel too has risen with renewed investments in the country and closer international ties between companies. In the year 2012 outbound departures recorded a rise of 9% despite the negative impact of political unrest in the Middle East. This growth rate of 9% is the highest in the world and is well above the global rate of 3.5%.

Muslim travelers around the world represent a major marketing opportunity, and are an important segment in the travel, hospitality and tourism industry. With Muslim travelers spending over $120 billion on outbound travel in 2012, and its expected growth in the coming years, many countries are seeing the potential for attracting this segment of travelers. To make a destination Muslim-friendly, countries need to first educate the various business establishments that deal with the travel and tourism industry about the specific needs of these travelers. Many countries are enlisting the help of Crescentrating; a company that provides Halal-friendly travel consultancy services and pioneers in this field. Crescentrating also conducts workshops in order to evaluate the market and identify the consumer needs so that they can help these countries and businesses provide a better service and attract more tourists from this segment of travelers.

The Muslim traveler is an important part of the travel industry, which until recently has not been taken seriously. Most Muslims have had to take care of their requirements or compromise on certain aspects of their holiday needs in order to vacation in different parts of the world. Some even stuck to holidaying in their own country or would travel to a Muslim country where their needs would be met. The main requirement of a Muslim traveler would include availability of halal food in the hotel or halal restaurants located close by, prayer facilities, a family friendly environment and separate leisure facilities for men and women. For those traveling during Ramadan, the availability of Muslim-friendly facilities would be of utmost importance; mainly halal meals provided at the required times and prayer facilities. However not many hotel chains and restaurants have realized the large market they are missing out on when they don’t provide these facilities.

The Muslim travel industry and the halal food industry are two industries which are growing at a rapid rate. With the increasing demand for better Muslim travel facilities and halal food products many countries are making a huge effort in trying to capture this billion dollar market. Many countries are holding seminars in order to create awareness of the halal concept and to educate their local businesses and industries of the global opportunities available to them. With most Muslims traveling abroad at least once a year on vacation with their families, many countries are creating packages to suit their requirements. Several airlines too are making changes and providing better services to Muslim travelers.

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Nepal Info

ADMINISTRATIVE CAPITAL: Kathmandu

COMMERCIAL CAPITAL: Birgunj

GEOGRAPHY

Nepal shares boarders with india and china having an area of 147,181 sq km's it is a landlocked country.

DEMOGRAPHY

A population of close to 30 Million. Muslims account for about 4.2% of the population.

CLIMATE

Nepal's climate varies with its altitude; it can range from the tropical to the arctic. At the capital Kathmandu average temperature during summer varies from 28°C (82.4°F) to 30°C (86°F) and during winter the average temperature will come closer to 10°C (50°F).

LANGUAGES SPOKEN

Nepali is the official language.

LOCAL TIME

GMT+5 3/4 hrs throughout the year

BUSINESS HOURS

Government: 10 AM to 5 PM
General: 9 AM to 5 PM

HOLIDAYS
National Unity Day : January 11th
Martyrs Day :January 29th
National Democracy Day: February 18th
Holi: March 8th
Nepalese Women's Day : March 8th
Constitution Day: November 9th

Based on the lunar calandar:
Buddha jayanthi

CURRENCY

Nepalese Rupee

IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS

Police/ Emergencies: 100/103
Medical: 102
Fire: 101
From GSM: 112

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