Europe is hosting the first-ever international conference on halal tourism, The Halal Tourism Conference, which will bring together the global travel industry to discuss ways of tapping into this niche market.
According to the latest figures, the halal tourism sector was worth US $140 billion in 2013, representing around 13% of global travel expenditures. This figure is expected to reach $192 billion by 2020.
Tasneem Mahmood, from organising firm CMM, said the conference hopes to have attendance and representation from every region of the world and presents great opportunities for countries like the UAE.
She said: “This is a groundbreaking event for halal tourism which is directly reacting to current market trends and addressing the needs of the industry. It is the first time such a global event is being staged looking at halal tourism in detail. For a country like UAE, with a deep Islamic heritage and so much to offer, it presents a real opportunity to attract visitors.”
She added: “Every country and business needs to look at halal tourism because it is growing so rapidly and the Muslim consumer is increasing spend on leisure holidays.
“Our research has shown there are so many countries and travel operators who can benefit from halal tourism but are currently missing out. Within Europe alone, there so many Muslim travellers for UAE to target. This conference will show the opportunities that are present and show you exactly how to grab them.
“It will be an excellent knowledge forum and an ideal platform for exchange of experience between experts in the industry and countries who are actively engaged in halal tourism.
“This conference will also be a great way to network with leisure and travel businesses from around the world to develop new partnerships.”
The two day event hopes to attract tourism boards, tour agencies, tour operators, restaurants, media, hotels, airlines and suppliers to the travel sector. The event will also feature seminars from industry experts, workshops, networking sessions and an exhibition.
A series of workshops will provide with information on what the industry needs to prepare to make the destination attractive to the Muslim market by understanding its needs and expectations.
Guest speakers at the event include tourism ministers, halal institutions, marketing experts and academics. Partners for the event include Andalucian Tourism Board, The Spanish Tourism Board, Turkish Airlines, Granada Tourism Board, El Legado Andalusi and the Halal Institute.
The conference, hosted in partnership with tour operator Andalucian Routes, will take place from September 22-23, 2014 at the Granada Conference and Exhibition Centre, Andalucia, Spain.
It will be followed by a two-day tour of the region of Andalucia to provide businesses with a live case study of a region that is becoming more Muslim friendly and is actively working to meet the needs of Muslim travellers.
*This article was originally published on Hotelier Middle East on 1 July 2014. Read the original article here.