Europe hosted it's first-ever international conference on halal tourism. The conference's objective was to look at how the industry can capitalise on one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. The Halal Tourism Conference, which was held on 22 and 23 September 2014, brought together the global travel industry to discuss ways of tapping into this niche market.

Khaleejesque recently sat down with Anas Kasak, is a Director of global marketing agency McCann Reach who are a partner of the Halal Tourism Conference to find out more event that took place in Spain.

What is Halal Tourism?

Quite simply, Halal tourism is providing holiday services which are in accordance with Islamic beliefs and practices.  This means have hotels and resorts which serve halal food and non-alcoholic drinks.  In addition, there are prayer facilities available and a separate pool for men and women. In fact, the principles of halal tourism are in tandem with family friendly holidays which appeals to a large section of non-Muslims as well.

Who is organizing the Halal Tourism Conference and where did the idea come about from?

The Halal Tourism Conference is being organized by Creative Minds Media who specialise in international conferences and exhibitions.  The founders of CM Media, Tasneem Mahmood and Bilal Domah have over 10 years' experience in events management and sales. Their events portfolio includes working within the defence and forensics industry, youth work, as well as within the health sector.

The idea came from working within the Tourism sector and realising there was a real need to bring halal tourism onto a global platform.

Was this conference exclusively for only those in the travel industry or can others also attend?

Although it is primarily for those who are in the travel industry, it also benefited those who supply products to the Muslim consumer. The Halal Tourism Conference was full of delegates and exhibitors from tourism bodies, hotel groups, airlines and tour operators who were desperate to meet the right suppliers and satisfy the increasing demand for halal tourism. In Europe alone there are so many countries who want to cater for the Muslim market which is a great opportunity on the doorstep of businesses from places like UAE and Gulf who supply halal products.  This conference was a great opportunity for UAE business people to take their company on a global stage and really grow their business. The recent Muslim Travel Index Europe 2014, which surveyed tourists from Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and UAE who travel to Europe, revealed that 93% said it was important that the country they travelled to cater for a halal lifestyle. This shows the demand is there and it means that UAE companies can plug that demand. We predict that supplying the halal tourism market could potentially be worth millions them."

What was the ultimate aim of the Conference?

This is a groundbreaking event for halal tourism which is directly reacting to current market trends and addressing the needs of the industry. It is the first time such a global event is being staged looking at halal tourism in detail.

Every country and business needs to look at Halal tourism because it is growing so rapidly and the Muslim consumer is increasing spend on leisure holidays. It provides a great opportunity for every part of the travel sector.  Our research has shown there are so many countries and travel operators who can benefit from halal tourism but are currently missing out. This conference will aim to show the opportunities that are present and show you exactly how to grab them.

It was an excellent knowledge forum and an ideal platform for exchange of experience between experts in the industry and countries who are actively engaged in halal tourism.

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