Each year, we invest a huge amount of time analysing the rising sub-sectors that are set to have the most significant impact on the way the travel proposition in the Middle East will evolve.
One of the most noteworthy developments we’ve been keeping a close watch on is halal tourism. Our interest has been fuelled by the estimation that it’ll be worth an impressive $238 billion by 2019, representing 11.6 per cent of global tourism expenditure, according to recent research commissioned by the Government of Dubai and produced by Thomson Reuters in partnership with DinarStandard.
The sentiment was echoed in our recent roundtable discussions moderated by TTN, with leading hoteliers, destination management companies and tourism professionals. This roundtable saw 70 per cent of participants expressing the need for a global convention on halal tourism.
The evidence has been so strong that it has prompted us to launch the first ever ATM Global Halal Tourism Summit. Taking place on Wednesday April 26, 2017, on the Global Stage, it will feature three interactive seminar sessions covering the bigger picture, halal destination strategies and how to sell halal travel – all led by leading Muslim travel industry experts.
It's sure to be a key talking point of the show and it comes as no surprise considering the economic impact halal tourism is set to deliver. Indeed, the Global Economic Impact of Muslim Tourism report by Salam Standard reveals the Muslim travel sector is a major contributor to global GDP, generating millions of jobs in the tourism, travel and hospitality industry worldwide.
We are curious to discover how hospitality providers will up their game when it comes to catering to this important market segment. The vast majority (80 per cent) of our roundtable participants are expecting a significant increase in the percentage of inbound halal business over the next five years and one of the most pressing factors that needs addressing is the huge gap in the tourism market for halal cruise.
As the global halal food and lifestyle sector moves forward to fulfilling its longer-term goal to be valued at $2.6 trillion by 2020, we look forward to seeing how the tourism sector will respond.
• The writer is senior exhibition director at Arabian Travel Market.