Can the Philippines become a new Halal tourism hotspot?

The Philippines tourism board has now partnered with CrescentRating to help launch a destination marketing campaign

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The Philippines is bolstering plans to position itself as one of the world’s preferred destinations for Muslim tourists, the country’s tourism board revealed on Wednesday.

“A series of initiatives have been unveiled part of a major drive to create a long-term infrastructure across the country to diversify its visitor arrivals by attracting Muslim visitors- especially from the neighboring ASEAN region and the Middle East,” a statement from CresentRating – a tourism authority on Halal travel – said this week.

The Philippines tourism board has now partnered with CrescentRating to help launch a destination marketing campaign.

The Muslim travel market is now widely recognized as a key growth tourism sector projected to be worth $200 billion by 2020.

The Philippines’ close proximity to the large Muslim populations of Malaysia and Indonesia, coupled with its rich diverse culture, makes the country an attractive destination for family tourists keen to explore one of the most unique places in Asia.

“The Philippines receives close to 566,000 visitors from the Middle East, parts of ASEAN, as well as India and Israel. This forms our base market to extend Halal services and to move forward. Halal is not only a religious matter, but a nation’s concern,” said Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. of the Philippine Department of Tourism.

“Hence the impetus in the development of the halal industry must be economic rather than just cultural. Improving the Halal industry in our country will not only serve to advance the lives of Muslim Filipinos and attract more tourists, but it could also help spur growth in the Philippine economy.”

Tourism Philippines said this new drive to attract inbound Muslim tourists formed a key strand on its long-term strategy to maximize its economic growth in the halal tourism industry. The initial focus will be on developing services in Manila, Davao, Cebu, and Boracay.

The Philippines is a Southeast Asian country composed of more than 7,000 islands, offering a unique travel experience from its waterfront promenade to centuries-old Chinatown.

We are delighted to have entered into a partnership with the Philippine Department of Tourism on their maiden journey into the Muslim-friendly travel market and excited about working together,” said Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating.

“Looking at the Philippines’ unique culture and heritage, we believe there is a huge potential for the destination to position itself and inspire Muslim visitors to choose Philippines for their next holiday.

“Muslim tourists are now more bold and daring in their travel choices and the Philippines presents a great offering for those looking for natural beauty and culture,” Bahardeen added.