Major halal-food expo planned to help make Japan more friendly to Muslim tourists

In response to a recent surge in Muslim tourists, a major halal-themed international expo will be held in Chiba Prefecture in November.

Titled Japan Halal Expo 2014, the two-day event in the Makuhari Messe convention center in the city of Chiba, will essentially seek to boost public awareness of halal fare, enlighten visitors on the latest market trends surrounding Muslim tourists and allow Japan-based Muslims to give feedback on whether this is a Muslim-friendly nation.

The number of tourists from Muslim-majority countries rose sharply last year thanks to drastic visa relaxations, including a visa waiver and a longer-term stay, targeting a group of Southeast Asian countries.

Around 176,500 tourists came from Malaysia in 2013, up 35.6 percent from a year earlier, while those from Indonesia reached 136,800, up 34.8 percent, according to data from the Japan National Tourist Organization.

In response to the surge, major airports such as Narita International Airport are scrambling to make Muslim tourists feel welcome, including by setting up prayer rooms and offering in-flight meals free of pork and alcohol.


*This article was originally published on Halal Point on 9 October 2014. Read the original article here.