Asia is lauded as one of the world’s most diverse and inclusive regions. This diversity is aptly reflected in the range of halal offerings available across the spectrum of travel and tourism providers.
Frequently, these offerings tap into halal values and needs of the local community who are a ready-made market for these providers. At the same time, these providers are catering to the booming market for halal as travel opens up post-Covid.
In Thailand, Soneva Kiri at Koh Kood is leveraging on growing interest among Middle East and MENA visitors. In addition to procuring halal meats and preparing the meals in a dedicated kitchen, the resort has increased their efforts to accommodate the needs of Muslim guests and make them feel comfortable.
Says Donna Campbell, Soneva communications director, “Our staff are trained to be gender sensitive when assigning butlers: female guests who travel on their own or with a group of ladies will get female butlers and vice versa. We also remove alcohol from the mini bar and replace it with healthy options.” Prayer mats and a compass showing the direction of the Qiblah (Muslims pray facing Makkah, Saudi Arabia) are also available in guest villas.
Over at Chiva-Som Hua Hin, the wellness resort is showcasing a menu inspired by Traditional Arabic and Islamic Medicine (TAIM). Available at its resort until 30 November, the cuisine reflects the wellness philosophy of Chiva-Som’s sister property in Qatar, Zulal Wellness Resort that draws from the archives of Islamic medicinal historians and Prophetic traditions. Balanced dishes introduce guests to the medicinal benefits of herbs and spices such as cinnamon, za’atar and turmeric, known to help improve heart health and for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Airlines and cruises have also jumped on the bandwagon. Royal Brunei Airlines remains the only non-Gulf carrier that is one of the world’s few dry airlines. Apart from offering halal meals onboard, it also provides guests dedicated galleys to observe their prayers. The boutique airline continues to leverage on its national identity and supportive ownership to offer a comfortable flying experience for both Muslims and other guests.
Elsewhere, Resorts World Cruises leads the cruise sector in capturing the potentials of the growing Muslim travel market. Its Genting Dream cruise traversing Asian waters offers a restaurant that operates by the OIC/SMIIC halal standard with a dedicated section for halal meals.