Speaking at a halal tourism industry event, leaders of cities’ destination marketing organizations revealed their motivation to better understand Muslim travelers and strategies to promote cities as Muslim-friendly destinations .
Cape Town and New York City are accelerating their tourism revival efforts by harnessing the earning potential of Muslim travelers that the Dinar Standard State of the World Islamic Economy Report estimates will reach $189 billion in 2025.
Enver Duminy, Tourism in Cape Town The CEO, said the questions reflecting who Cape Town is and what the city wants to represent were crucial in founding a new tourism plan.
“Our heritage, the fabric of our city, our culture, intertwining who we are today is because it’s a strong Muslim presence in everything we do,” Duminy said.
The Dutch East India Company established Cape Town as a supply station en route to the Spice Route countries in 1652. These ships brought laborers from the Moluccas (Maluka Islands) and political prisoners from Indonesia, introducing the Islam in the region.
However, the religion did not take hold until the early 1800s when enslaved Indian Muslims arrived.
Hailing from the Indonesian spice island Tidore, the religious master Tuan Guru established on Masjid ul-Awwal, the first mosque in South Africain 1794 and wrote the Quran from memory while imprisoned on Robben Island.
Although Muslims make up a quarter of Cape Town’s 4.6 million people, the city has generally been marketed and promoted as a European destination in Africa.
“If we haven’t spoken to the (Muslim) public, it’s up to us,” Duminy said, referring to missed opportunities.
He states that 30% of the world’s Muslim population resides in North Africa and, as a first step in harnessing the potential of halal tourism, his team and stakeholders have created a glossary to facilitate industry education on the requirements. halal and raise awareness of what being Muslim-friendly entails.
“As a destination, we cannot be strictly halal. Some parts of the city can provide it, but we have to be careful of sensitivities,” Duminy said.
Such sensitivity prevails around food where the industry operates by European and Western standards and Duminy cited bacon and champagne breakfasts as examples. However, through a chef exchange program, Singaporean experts have taught local chefs how to prepare halal dishes which Duminy says are “world-class and tasty beyond belief”.
As a next step, Cape Town Tourism will launch a Muslim Traveler’s Guide which Duminy says is both innovative and necessary for travel.
New York removals
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Ocean, New York City has already taken that step with the New York and company launch of the first halal travel guide by a US tourism organization in March.
NYC & Company is the city’s official destination marketing organization and convention and visitor bureau.
“We’re looking at how to market the destination differently,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company, of the commitment to promoting an inclusive New York experience and expanding audiences as part of the strategy to relaunch the city’s tourism.
Available at nycgo.com/HalalTravelGuidethe resource includes places of worship, Muslim-friendly hotels and restaurant recommendations for every type of cuisine and shares tips and advice from Muslim travel experts.
New York’s Muslim community lives around the 275 mosques spread across the city’s five boroughs – more than any other US metropolitan area. The borough of Brooklyn is home to one of the most diverse Muslim communities in the world, representing descendants from every continent and one of the oldest mosques in the country.
Dixon said a fair recovery was another goal; essentially prioritizing small businesses, local communities and neighborhoods over major metropolis attractions as a tactic.
The New York Muslim Contributions Impact Reportpublished by the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding in 2016, shows how Muslims are fueling the city’s economy and creating thousands of jobs. According to the report, Muslims owned 95,816 small businesses and employed 251,864 workers.
“We realized we could go much deeper in diversity and deepen our communities,” Dixon said, acknowledging the size of the Muslim population.
According to him, Muslims make up 10% of the city’s estimated 8.5 million inhabitants.
“The Muslim community has been an integral part of the fabric of the city for nearly 400 years and we are committed to showcasing authentic halal offerings,” Dixon said.
Like Cape Town, the history of Islam in New York dates back to the 17th century when Muslims arrived in the area as part of the Dutch colony New Amsterdam. While Dixon sees substantial optimism in the market and expects 80% of visits to return this year, he acknowledges that airline capacity and entry procedures can impact the recovery and surge in inflation.
However, NYC & Company will continue to invest in its new strategy by expanding the content of the halal travel guide, making it digital and engaging with the community. influencers to talk about their experiences.
Additionally, Dixon and his team are studying translations to make content accessible to as many people as possible for whom Arabic is likely their first language.
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