Halal tourism to create 1.2 million jobs in the Middle East by 2020

The GDP impact of Muslim travel in the Middle East is on course to hit USD 36 billion by 2020

Halal tourism has been described as a "lucrative prospect" for GCC hospitality brands.
Halal tourism has been described as a "lucrative prospect" for GCC hospitality brands.

Gulf hospitality operators seeking to increase their share of the halal tourism market have been urged to “diversify and digitalise” their offerings to suit the younger generation of Muslim travellers.

Speaking at the Arabian Travel Market show in Dubai last week, representatives from a host of hospitality firms including Shaza Hotels and the National Tourism Organization (JNTO) explored ways to tap into the growing segment of Gen Z and millennial travellers at the Global Halal Tourism Summit 2019.

According to the industry experts, the GDP impact of Muslim travel in the Middle East is on course to hit USD 36 billion by 2020 – up from USD 30.5 billion in 2017, which halal tourism represented a lucrative prospect for GCC hospitality brands.

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The rise of Muslim travel is expected to create 1.2 million regional direct and indirect jobs by next year, according to the industry experts.

Chris Nader, vice president of Shaza Hotels, said: “Gen Z and millennial travellers are setting the trends in halal tourism. The biggest challenge for us involves the resort side of the market – providing the privacy and facilities that Muslim guests need while delivering the entertainment they are looking for. It can be a challenge to create that mix.

“Whenever we create a resort, we have to develop something that is culturally relevant to the location. Travellers are no longer looking for ‘just a hotel’; they want to know what we can offer in terms of experiences. So, Muslim travellers don’t necessarily need to see halal branding but they do need to know that halal services are available.”

Industry-wide investment in halal tourism-related travel technology currently stands at approximately USD 40 million, according to research conducted by DinarStandard. The panellists agreed that this figure is likely to grow further in the future, as younger Muslim travellers continue to drive innovation in online services.

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