Indonesia: The capital Jakarta will host the first International Forum on Muslim tourism among the members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) next month on June 1-2 to develop sharia Islamic tourism among 57 OIC members.
The 1st OIC International Forum on Islamic Tourism will discuss the prospects and challenges facing this industry, touching on subjects including the growing contribution of Islamic tourism in socio-economic development; the strategy behind the successful integration of Islamic values in tourism activities; as well as product and service delivery, and branding and positioning strategies in marketing Islamic tourism.
“This is concrete action from the tourism ministers of OIC members meeting in Banjul, Gambia, on Dec. 6, 2013, as we want to further develop sharia tourism in OIC countries,” Tourism and Creative Economy Deputy Minister Sapta Nirwandar said in Jakarta on Monday as quoted by Antara news agency.
Sapta Nirwandar, vice minister, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, said: “The world’s Muslim population accounted for 6.9 billion or 23.4 per cent of the total population in 2012, with total spending on halal food and beverage of US$1.1 billion (17 per cent of total annual spend). Muslim travellers spent US$137 billion on travel in 2012.”
Sapta said sharia tourism was projected to continue to grow as Muslim populations were predicted to reach 2.2 billion – equal to 26.4 percent of the global population – by the end of 2030.
The Muslim population stood at 1.6 billion of a global population of 6.9 billion in 2012 . Sapta said while other countries without Muslim majorities like South Korea and China were investing in Muslim-friendly products, it was about time members of the OIC worked on developing the market.
“Through this forum, we want to strengthen sharia tourism’s position as one of keys to help support the global economy. We also want to promote sharia tourism destinations and products such as hotels, restaurants and spas,” he said.
Meanwhile, in the tour and travel sector, Muslims around the world spent $137 billion on travel, excluding haj and minor haj, throughout 2012, or 12.5 percent of travel spending across the globe. This figure is predicted to rise to $181 billion by the end of 2018.
According to the State of the Global Islamic Economy 2012 research conducted by Thomson Reuters, Muslims spent US$1.088 billion on halal food, equal to 16.6 percent of worldwide food spending. The figure is projected to increase to $1.626 billion in 2018.
Speakers at the conference will include Fatou Mas Jobe-Njie, Gambia’s minister of tourism and culture; Mohamed Nazri bin Abdul Aziz, minister of tourism and culture for Malaysia; Manabu Sakai, vice minister of land, infrastructure and transport Japan, and representatives of different businesses.