The halal conference : understanding the market

Granada has just celebrated its first halal conference. The two day event took place on 22 and 23 September and it was a great opportunity to meet new professionals and learn a lot about halal tourism.

The historical background of Granada made the city a special place to host this event as travel agents, restaurants and hotels seem to be interested in Muslim travellers.

Halal tourism is not a trend and since professionals know it, they want to learn how to become more effective at work in order to attract a larger number of Muslim travellers. There are some important reasons to become a halal friendly destination, a concept which professionals think is being misunderstood.

The travel industry is enormous and professionals are used to deal with people travelling around the world to gain perspective on different cultures. Learning about different cultures is a plus for people who work in the travel industry so that Muslim travellers are not treated in a different way.

For the travel industry every traveller has special needs that professionals have to fulfill. Understanding this concept will help promoters to create better package tours for Muslim travellers.

During the conference, the speakers gave a wide range of tips and professionals were able to ask questions and speak about their personal experiences. The food consumption was the main issue and the speakers made it clear that quality is very important for Muslim travellers, there are restaurants which claim they offer halal food services but in most cases, nothing could be further from the truth.

For this reason, professionals said they have to travel and spend time and money visiting hotels and restaurants to create a data base of halal restaurants and hotels. They do it because they know that Muslim travellers pay more attention to quality than quantity . This is the reason why Muslim travellers usually go to travel agencies. They do not use a website to book a hotel, they prefer to seek advice from an expert which is a good reason to try to build loyalty,

Muslim travellers appreciate the value of professional advice. The speakers said Muslim travellers need to be understood as well. In fact, it is the first step to try to become an engaging destination.

The customer service, infraestructures, health care, religion, food , a wide range of activities and the right promotion are a must for the travel industry. Furthermore, one of the speakers pointed out something rather important to take into account were flights and prayers. Five prayers are mandatory for Muslims and they would be happy if they could use a time calculator to organise their prayer time.

To sum up, in these two days of learning the two basic questions were: What is important for Muslim travellers ? Is the travel industry ready to cater their needs? The travel industry seems to have the will.

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