The inaugural "Halal in Travel Awards" launched on the 1st of June 2022 by CrescentRating is a celebration of the travel industry players' efforts towards the growth of Halal travel. These awards span four categories and recognize destinations, organizations, companies, and individuals who have made a considerable impact on the Muslim lifestyle travel segment. They include GMTI Awards, Muslim-friendly Service Provider Awards, HalalTrip Travelers Choice Awards, and the Halal Travel Personality of the Year Award.
This year's top award, the Halal Travel Personality of The Year recipient is the honorable Dr. Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Republic of Indonesia. Since he took over the Ministry he has been at the forefront of raising the awareness of the halal tourism market. His wisdom and contribution have helped travel stakeholders in Indonesia better understand and embrace this market segment. His efforts have also raised global awareness on embracing the Muslim market as a strategic market that all tourism organizations should focus on. The award was presented to him at the awards ceremony in Singapore by Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of Crescentrating & HalalTrip, and Safdar Khan, Division President, Southeast Asia for Mastercard.
The next set of awards was the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) awards. They are based on the scores of the highly-acclaimed Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) report 2022 edition that was also launched on the 1st June 2022.
The winners in the GMTI awards category are:
The recipient of this award was Malaysia. It is a recognition of the destination’s outstanding efforts to continuously cater to the needs of Muslim travelers. Malaysia has topped the GMTI index since its launch in 2015. Dato' Dr. Mohmed Razip Haji Hasan, Director General of Islamic Tourism Center Malaysia received this award on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, Malaysia.
H.E. Dato' Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri, Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture of Malaysia, delivered her keynote speech after the award.
The recipient of this award was Singapore. It has maintained this position in all editions of the GMTI report. This award recognizes Singapore’s tremendous efforts in making travel experiences for Muslims as seamless as possible. Mr. Keith Tan, the Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Tourism Board received this award.
This award went to Uzbekistan. The State Committee on Tourism of Uzbekistan initiated some major projects to capitalize on the rich Islamic heritage that their destination offers and developed what it calls Ziyarah Tourism. Uzbekistan has also made the most significant leap in the GMTI rankings over the past few years. His Excellency Kakhramon Shakirov, Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Singapore was present to collect the award.
Spain won this award. This is a reflection of its tourism stakeholders efforts to enhance halal tourism services over the last few years. Spain also made a significant leap in the GMTI rankings this year among non-OIC destinations. His Excellency Santiago Miralles, Ambassador of Spain to Singapore receive the award.
The recipient of the award was Taiwan, for their resilient effort in improving the Muslim travel environment through education and training to help understand the lifestyle needs of Muslims. The positive effect can be seen in the increasing Muslim-friendly hotels, attractions and halal restaurants. Dr Trust Lin, the Deputy Director General of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau shared his appreciation of the award virtually.
This award went to Türkiye (Turkey). It has the highest level of air connectivity from the top 30 Muslim travel outbound markets. His Excellency Mehmet Burçin Gönenli, Ambassador of Türkiye to Singapore received the award.
The next category of awards was the Muslim-friendly Service Provider Awards, meant to recognize the efforts of various Halal-friendly facilities ranging from hotels, MICE venues, to airports and beach resorts. The list of award winners in this category are:
Mardhiyyah Hotel & Suites, was the recipient of this, for their services that cater well to the accomodation needs of Muslim travelers. Dato' Seri Haji Mohamed Rafik Haji Mohd Idris, Managing Director of Mardhiyyah Hotel and Suites was there to collect the award.
This award went to Wome Deluxe, a luxury beach resort, in Türkiye (Turkey), for ensuring a private and pleasant vacation experience for Muslim Travelers.
The Muslim-friendly Convention & Exhibition Centre of The Year award recipient was Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, for their excellent halal services at the venue. John Burk, Deputy General Manager of Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, joined virtually to recieve this award.
This award went to Istanbul Grand Airport. The services at Istanbul Grand Airport make for the most seamless flight connections for Muslim travelers.
Moving on to the HalalTrip Travelers Choice Awards category which are about celebrating promising Muslim-friendly OIC and non-OIC destinations, the awardees are:
Doha, Qatar was the recipient of this award. Halal establishments and mosques are around the corner from anywhere in this premier city, which has retained its traditional look and preserved its culture, while boasting an exotic skyline.
The Most Promising Muslim-friendly City Destination of The Year (Non-OIC) awardee was Capetown, South Africa. The tireless work of Cape Town Tourism in building capacity and capabilities to welcome travelers to the city, and their commitment in promoting Halal awareness has led the city to become more Muslim-friendly. Enver Duminy, Chief Executive Officer of Cape Town Tourism, joined virtually to receive the award.
The city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan was awarded the Islamic Heritage Destination of The Year, a tribute to the excellent showcase of their rich Islamic heritage. His Excellency Kakhramon Shakirov, Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Singapore, received this award.
The Halal Travel Marketing Campaign of The Year award recipient was NYC & Company, They have made efforts to understand Muslim travelers better and promote the city as a Muslim-friendly destination. Their work includes publishing and promoting NYC Halal Travel Guide, a first by a US destination marketing organization. Makiko Matsuda Healy, Senior Vice President, NYC & Co., received the award.
The next category of awards was the Halal Personalities of the Year which is meant to appreciate the contributions of the individuals to the halal travel space.
The Halal Travel Influencer of The Year award was received by Amira Rahmat, a cabin crew member whose work advocates for halal travel through her handle @asingaporeanabroad on various social media platforms.
The Special Recognition Awards honored two Halal Hotel Pioneers for their initial contributions in the hotel industry that massively led to the growth of halal tourism in their respective destinations. The Halal Hotel Pioneers are:
Bapak Riyanto Sofyan, Chairman of Sofyan Corporation, for trailblazing the development of the Halal hotel Industry in Indonesia.
Datuk Mohd Ilyas Zainol Abidin, Managing Director Biztel Sendirian Berhad, a legend in the development of the Halal hotel Industry in Malaysia.
CrescentRating would once again like to congratulate the winners, hoping that the awards serve as encouragement and motivation for relevant stakeholders in the tourism industry worldwide.
We look forward to Halal in Travel Awards 2023!