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Manila targets larger slice of global halal tourism market

The Philippine halal tourism project has become a lynchpin of the country’s travel industry as it has been drawing numerous visitors from the Gulf and other Middle East countries.
“Less than a year ago today, we decided to stop talking about halal and start doing something about it,” Philippine Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said.
He made the statement during the project’s inauguration at the Madrid Fusion Manila 2016 at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City on April 7.
In less than 100 days, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has worked with the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (MCMF), Halal International Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Philippines, Inc. (HICCIP), and CrescentRating to prepare the kitchens and facilities of 43 hotels, resorts, restaurants, and other tourism-related establishments in various parts of the country.
“The best and most important welcome to the visitors is with food. And if you are not halal, then there is a very important segment of society in the world that you are not extending a proper welcome to,” Jimenez said. The DOT has set its sights on seeking a larger slice of the global halal tourism market.
Citing a recent Crescent Rating data that sees the 117 million Muslim travelers rise to 168 million by 2020, Jimenez said, adding that Philippines is one of the countries in Southeast Asia that is determined to partake 20 to 25 percent of the $ 200 billion global halal market.
“The market is already there, with arrivals from Malaysia, for one, growing at double-digit rate. The only thing that is wanting is capacity,” he added.
National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary Yasmin Lao lauded the DOT’s commitment to advancing the halal industry, citing that Jimenez has once again shown political will in efficiently implementing the halal tourism project in less than 100 days.
“I strongly believe that the halal tourism project will lead toward a way Muslim Filipinos feel that they are so very much part of this country,” Jimenez said.
The project follows a 100-day timetable for kitchens of 50 hotels, resorts, restaurants, and other tourism-related establishments to be halal-certified initially in Manila, Boracay and Davao.
As the project rolled out, it expanded to Bohol and other major destinations in Mindanao such as Zamboanga City, General Santos City, Koronadal, Cotabato City, Surigao City and Siargao Island.
The country’s official certifier is the Halal International Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Philippines (HICCIP) that is accredited by the NCMF.
Its partner in global promotion is Crescent Rating that produces the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) together with Mastercard that ranks over 100 countries according to being a Muslim friendly.
The Philippine halal tourism project launch marks the 98th day of the 100-day timetable set for this project.
The project aims to publicly announce a milestone set for this project.

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