Home/Magazine /Opinion/ Developing Halal Tourism In Sri Lanka: Critical Challenges And Opportunities Ahead

Developing Halal Tourism in Sri Lanka: Critical Challenges and Opportunities Ahead

Dec 2016

Halal tourism is blooming around the world and today, traveling is within reach to almost everyone - with cheaper flight rates and hotel offers that encourage tourism. However, many Muslim travelers hesitate to set foot in Sri Lanka, unaware of the facilities provided to the "Muslim-friendly" travel segment. Establishing Halal tourism is pertinent to the local industry in order to attract Muslim tourists.

Muslim tourists are one of the fastest growing travel segments in the world and thus it is worth paying attention to. The tourism industry is highly competitive and innovation in terms of Halal tourism is crucial to the economy. One of the best adoptions we could adhere to is to make the destination Muslim-friendly. Sri Lanka is already home to a large number of Halal restaurants. Its main airport also provides segregated prayer rooms for both men and women. Reading obligatory prayers is also convenient, with many mosques available even in the small villages of Sri Lanka. It is important to exhibit to the world how well Sri Lanka appeals to Islamic Sharia.

Catering to the requirements of Islamic law can provide a competitive advantage for the tourism industry. Most countries have already adapted to Halal tourism, which can be used as a benchmark to attract Muslim travelers. Many hotels have become Sharia compliant and provide additional services for Muslim guests such as Qiblah directions, Halal food, prayer facilities and non-alcoholic beverages. A few hotels take a step further to provide prayer mats and a copy of the Quran in guest rooms.

However, there are challenges in endeavoring to market Halal tourism. Standardization is useful to identify Halal tourism, but using terms such as "Halal tourism" or "Muslim-friendly" segregates Muslim as "other". Since non-Muslim travelers will not be attracted to destinations with the absence of certain attributes, the challenge is to adhere to non-Muslim tourists without disturbing Islamic laws. Therefore it is important to have a balance of catering to both Muslims and non-Muslims.

These are some of the effective conventions that can be adapted to strengthen Halal tourism in Sri Lanka. By doing so, Muslims will find it easier to fit into an environment and follow their faith without any hassle. This should be proudly exhibited both locally and internationally.


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