Many associate Saudi Arabia with Halal holiday concept

RIYADH — A large percentage of people interested in halal holidays associate Saudi Arabia closely with the concept, according to a survey.

However, when asked which country they would be most interested to see develop halal holiday destinations, the largest proportion chose the UAE (16%), followed by Saudi Arabia (10%).

Despite relatively low awareness about the halal holiday concept (only 29% across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region), when prompted, three quarters of respondents claim it is important for their leisure destination to offer a halal holiday.

Some 51 percent claim it is ‘extremely important’, according to the survey, produced from YouGov’s annual Travel Oracle which interviewed 22,868 respondents online from across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia about their attitudes to halal tourism.

The survey also reveals just over three-quarters of respondents who are interested in the concept would pay more for a halal holiday than a standard holiday that doesn’t accommodate religious considerations.

Residents from Yemen are the most willing to pay more (81%), followed by Algeria, Pakistan (both 80%) and Sudan (79%).

Halal tourism is geared toward Muslim families where tourism destinations offer holidays in accordance with Islamic beliefs and practices. According to the YouGov Travel Oracle, of the 29% of respondents that are aware of the concept of halal tourism, respondents in Tunisia were the most likely to be aware (54%). Those respondents residing in Iraq were the least likely to be aware (15%).

The popularity of the concept amongst a population that is largely unaware exposes the essentially un-tapped market for travel destinations accommodating people’s religious beliefs.

Those most in favor of halal holidays include respondents in Algeria (73% ‘extremely important’), Sudan (65% ‘extremely important’) and Yemen (64% ‘extremely important’). The concept was least important among those residing in Lebanon (34% ‘extremely unimportant’).

YouGov’s Travel and Tourism Research Director for MENASA Scott Booth said: “With such a high proportion of the sample demonstrating their attraction to the concept of halal tourism, and only 29% aware of it, these data demonstrate the outstanding potential of religious-focused holidays in travel destinations looking to appeal to consumers right on their doorstep.

“The fact that many see the UAE as a destination of choice for halal holidays and a large majority are willing to dig deeper into their pockets to experience them demonstrates the commercial potential that could be unlocked by focusing on providing halal-friendly offerings.”