Taking steps to develop alternative tourism following the challenging periods in 2015 and 2016, the Turkish tourism sector ranked third in the world by increasing its share of the halal tourism market by 20 percent in 2017, Yunus Ete, the chairman of World Halal Summit Council and Asel Group, said yesterday.
"Turkey ranks third in the market right after Malaysia and Indonesia," Ete said.
He said that world halal tourism, which is expected to reach $300 billion in volume by 2023, includes many countries from Spain to New Zealand in addition to the Muslim majority halal destinations like the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey and Malaysia.
Pointing to the rapidly increasing number of guests hosted by Turkey in halal tourism, Ete said Turkey increased the number of guests hosted in halal tourism, welcoming three million visitors last year, stressing that it is still far below its potential. "If we can get 10 percent of this market, we will have a serious jump in our tourism income."
Ete stated that parallel to the growing awareness in the halal market, investments made in this area also gained momentum. "Spain is investing heavily in the Andalusian region, accelerating its efforts to bring in halal-concept new hotels. It quickly began to stand out in this area," Ete continued. "Along with the increasing number of Muslims, Halal travel is increasingly becoming a more profitable sector for future investments."
Ete suggested that with Turkey becoming a major halal travel destination and surpassing other Muslim tourist destinations in the Mediterranean region was a sign of the country's popularity, while Turkish hoteliers have begun to focus on this new segment as compared to traditional tourism, after noting the intense consumer demand.
Muslim tourists are looking for the same kind of experiences as non-Muslims, but they are also in need of facilities that reflect their values like halal hotels and halal food.
In this regard, Ete noted that a comprehensive "halal travel economy" is spreading around the world, noting that halal tourism is now combined with diverse areas such as fashion, finance, culture and health with a crossover relationship.
He stressed that halal tourism has a significant cross-relationship with other Islamic economic sectors such as finance, modest fashion, culture and health, and that Turkey is one of the leading countries benefiting from the "halal travel economy" covering these areas.
Ete said the "halal travel economy," which is the indicator of economic vitality brought by halal tourism and attractiveness for the future, is spreading in a wider area by increasingly covering travel financing services and insurances in harmony with Islamic rules, underlining that as in other Islamic economy sectors, technologies such as smartphone applications for "halal restaurants" were also added to the aforementioned services.
According to Ete, Muslim tourists increased the volume of the Muslim travel market, which was $169 billion in 2016, by 11.8 percent in 2017, while the world's halal tourism market, which is approaching $220 billion, almost doubled. The sector players in the Turkish halal tourism market holding a share of 2 percent in the world, aims to increase this share to 10 percent by 2023. It is stated that Turkey has quintupled the number of beds in halal tourism in the last five years, entering the top three in the world by leaping four steps last year.