Sri Lanka: Halal still on the local menu

halal-300x225Despite all the protests and objections raised by some groups, especially the Bodu Bala Sena against the sale and distribution of halal products in Sri Lanka, the government is continuing with the recognition of halal products.

With more tourists expected from the Middle East by 2016 the government is making arrangements to ensure leading hotels can cater to the needs of Middle Eastern tourists which includes providing halal certified food.

A statement by the  External Affairs Ministry said that Sri Lanka will focus more on fine-tuning facilities such as, villa type accommodation, halal food, training and developing Arabic speaking guides and hotel staff to familiarize themselves with Middle Eastern customs.

The statement said that the Sri Lanka Tourist Board expects to attract 90,000 visitors from the Middle East this year and in 2016 with the Sri Lankan government targeting 2.5 million tourist arrivals, the total expectation from the Middle East will rise up to 200,000 arrivals.

A road show was held in Kuwait by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Kuwait and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau recently to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination, the External Affairs Ministry added.

The Bodu Bala Sena has gone as far as even calling for a ban on halal products with their members wearing T-shirts at public rallies with the words “no halal”.

However the government had remained silent on the issue and rejected requests to take over the issuing of the halal certification. (Colombo Gazette)

Report by Easwaran Rutnam