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Defining what is Halal Travel or Muslim Friendly Tourism

With the growth of the Muslim travel market, varying terminology and definitions have been used to refer to either the total Muslim travel market or its sub-segments. The terms used have had a varying focus based on who is using the term and in which context.


Many academics begin to define this segment of travelers by first exploring the elements that comprise tourism and its impact. Below are some definitions presented by academics. Their discussion is mainly based on the impact it has on society.

Islamic Motivation
According to Duman (2011) "Islamic tourism" can be defined as “the activities of Muslims traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for participation of those activities that originate from Islamic motivations which are not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited”.

Faith-based needs and services
As a niche market “halal friendly” tourism includes; halal hotels, halal transport (halal airlines), halal food restaurants, halal tour packages and halal finance. Therefore, halal tourism consists of different sectors which are related with each other. (Akyol and Kilinc -2014).

Sureerat (2015) defines Halal tourism as offering tour packages and destinations that are particularly designed to cater for Muslim considerations and address Muslim needs. 

Islamic teachings
Fatin Norain Osman (2015) defines Muslim tourism to be based on Islamic teaching that encourages individuals, especially women and children to travel with their muhrim which means that someone who has blood relation with them to provide them with security.


Acknowledgement of growth of the Muslim travellers by leading media, such as Wall Street Journal’s (2014) reference to this segment, revolves around the term “Halal Travel”. They tend to indicate that if Halal food is available then a destination is Muslim friendly.  

Reuters (2014) in their article “Thailand launches Muslim-friendly tourist app” defines it as providing hotels and shopping centers with prayer rooms and halal restaurants. 

The Guardian (2014) in their article “Indonesia's Lombok promotes itself as 'Muslim-friendly' tourism destination”, defines Muslim tourism as “sharia” tourism. It further states that Muslim friendly destinations are a place with many mosques. Indonesia has 600,000 mosques it writes. 

Government bodies

The Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) under the Ministry of Tourism have defined Islamic tourism as “any activity, event and experience undertaken in a state of travel that is in accordance with Islam” 


Wikipedia states that "Halal tourism is a subcategory of tourism which is geared towards Muslim families who abide by rules of Islam. The hotels in such destinations do not serve alcohol and have separate swimming pools and spa facilities for men and women" 

CrescentRating’s Glossary of terms

CrescentRating released the first edition of its “Halal Travel Glossary” in 2015. It features a list of over 150 terms and expressions related to the Halal travel market, with an explanation of each term in the context of lifestyle and travel. 

At the release of the Glossary, Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating, said: “With an increasing number of destinations and services looking to attract Muslim traveller, there is a need to better understand the terms used to describe the market needs and practices related to this segment.” 

Understanding these terms is imperative for all travel-related businesses looking to benefit from the growth of this market such as tourism boards, Government agencies, hotels, restaurants,  attractions, airports, airlines, cruises and spas. The glossary includes terms which provide an overview of terms related to travel and its core values. Each of these has been defined in the context of lifestyle and travel. 

Some of the main terms covered in the Glossary are as follows;

  • Muslim travel: Muslims traveling for any purpose.
  • Muslim tourism: Muslims traveling for tourism.
  • Halal travel: Muslim travelers, who do not wish to compromise their faith-based needs while traveling for a purpose, which is permissible

or it can also be defined as Halal conscious travelers, traveling for any purpose, which is Halal (permissible).

Halal travel is a subset of Muslim travel. However, since the vast majority of Muslims will at least have some form of a faith-based need while traveling, the majority of Muslim travel will fall into the category of Halal travel.

  • Islamic travel: Muslims traveling mainly for religious reasons and/or to visit Islamic religious sites.
  • Muslim-friendly destination: Destinations catering to the needs of the Muslim travelers.
  • Muslim friendly facility/service: The service or the facility has taken into account some faith-based needs of Muslim travelers. Although Halal-friendly facility/service may also convey the same meaning, the term Muslim friendly service/facility is more appropriate.
  • Shariah-compliant services/facility: The service or the facility not only caters to all the key needs of the Muslim travelers, but also strictly adheres to many other Islamic requirements. This includes adhering to company governance and operations, which take into account various Islamic requirements such as Halal non-interest based financing etc.

As the market matures and the stake holders get a better understaning of the Muslim traveller, some of these terms will need to evolve.