Turkey appears to be the preferred choice for the Halal Tourism Industry and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand why, it’s the choice of many Muslim holiday makers. Even when tourism to Turkey took a knock after the failed coup attempt in 2016, Halal tourism never wavered even when other tourists seemed too afraid to visit Turkey. However, Turkey has seen a huge boost from visitors from the EU once again travelling to their shores and Halal tourism is as popular as ever before.
Turkey comes in at a solid 4th in the global ranking of the Global Muslim Travel Index, 1st place is Malaysia, 2nd place is United Arab Emirates and 3rd place which is only just in front of Turkey by 0.2% is Indonesia. Turkey is a vast country with many Halal hotels in the popular seaside resort areas. There are around 50 hotels and club hotels across Turkey which are Muslim friendly and the resorts of Antalya and Alanya are particular favourites for Halal Tourism. Antalya International Airport is only a 2 hour drive from Alanya however Alanya now has Gazipasa Airport which is a mere 45 minutes from the city centre.
The hotels specifically cater for Muslim guests and are respectful of the Muslim religion and they must follow a certain criteria to abide by the wishes of their Muslim guests and the state institution of religious affairs. A certificate is issued to such hotels by the Diyanet – which in Turkey is the Directorate of Religious Affairs it is an official state institution which was established in 1924.To gain this prestigious certificate the hotel must adhere to the following requirements:
No alcohol is to be sold on the premises.
All food and food products is Halal.
Prayer rooms are available.
Every Friday an Imam will visit the hotel for prayers.
There must be separate bathing areas for men and women.
Virtually all of the Muslim friendly hotels have at least 4 stars but most are rated 5 stars. These hotels offer the type of service all hotels should offer. The hotel staff are highly trained to meet all of the guests wishes. Hygiene is paramount, chefs are the best in Turkey and the hotel staff are also trained on one to one personal service and behaviour management for hotel mangers who deal direct with customers.
Each hotel room provides a Koran, a prayer rug and there is an arrow on the wall which points towards Mecca. Most importantly for guests and the Diyanet are the separate swimming pools for men and women and this is what guests look for first when booking a Halal resort hotel.
Turkey is investing more money into this tourism sector in particular, visitors from the Middle East prefer to visit Turkey due to the cultural similarity between the two countries, plus they don’t need to travel far a mere 2 hour flight. This is another reason as to why the Middle East are snapping up Turkish properties.
The renewed interest this year by foreigners visiting Turkey is a considerable comeback with hotels across Turkey reporting full occupancy during the summer season. It now seems that visitors have put behind them the terror attacks across the globe and the attempted failed coup in 2016 and are enjoying Turkish holidays once again. More than 11 million foreign tourists have visited Turkey so far within the first 5 months of this year (2018) which is an increase of 30% compared to the same period of last year in 2017.
Reports indicate that it may take Turkey 3 to 4 years to fully recover and for tourism to hit the same figures before 2015 – however it looks like 2018 is the beginning of the tourist revival. Great value for money holidays have once again lured the European holiday makers to resorts throughout Turkey and the exchange rate is helping immensely. As Halal tourism continues to expand Thomson Reuters predicts the Halal Tourism Industry will represent $283 billion by 2022. Muslim friendly hotels offer “full board” for around 200 euros per night at the moment; however prices are expected to increase and experts predict they could double. The Halal
Booking website have recently released their figures for tourists visiting Turkey, they are as follows”
23% are from Germany, 16% from the UK, 14% are from Turkey, 11% are from Belgium and 8% are from France.
Looks like Turkey will have a busy year in 2018 and future forecasts are looking encouraging!