Investments in the halal (Islamic Sharia-compliant) tourism in the United Arab Emirates are projected to reach $350 million in the next five years as the sector continues to gain momentum.
Andy Buchanan, the Director of the World Halal Travel Summit and Exhibition, told Al-Ittihad that the investments will materialise in new halal hotels and resorts. The summit will be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in October.
He said the United Arab Emirates is the fastest-growing halal market in the Gulf Cooperation Council region in terms of attracting or exporting halal tourism products.
Currently, according to Buchanan, there are 30 halal tourism brands, including four major hotel groups such as R Hotels, HMH Hotels, Jannah Hotels and Resorts, and One to One hotels and resorts.
Halal tourism entails offering fully Islamic Sharia-compliant services and products by hotels, restaurants, malls, entertainment places; they must also be family-friendly.
Buchanan noted that Turkey remains the world’s top halal tourism destination. Globally, the value of halal tourism is estimated at $137 billion and is projected to surge to $230bn by 2020.
Spending on halal tourism is expected to grow by six per cent, which is double the projection of growth in global tourism in general, Buchanan adds, indicating that halal tourism will comprise 13 per cent of global tourism.
($1 = AED3.67, at the time of publishing)