@Halal January/February 2022 | Page 30

Muslim travellers More non-Muslim countries to tackle Muslim travel market after the pandemic



Glam Halal | January-February . 2022
Iguaçu Falls

Brazil targets

Muslim travellers More non-Muslim countries to tackle Muslim travel market after the pandemic

IT IS NO longer a secret that the Muslim travel market offers lucrative potentials to tourism industry players . It is a fast-growing segment aided by the increasing Muslim population worldwide .

With this promising segment and the potential return in mind , more and more destinations , including non-Muslim countries like Brazil , have expressed their interests to tackle the Muslim travel market .
According to Arab News , Foz do Iguaçu , a famous city in Brazil , is preparing to become a halal tourist destination and attract Muslims worldwide .
In 2019 , the city received more than two million visitors , with most of them visiting one of the largest waterfalls in South America , the Iguaçu Falls . However , the Covid-19 pandemic caused the city to experience a dramatic decline in visitors in the following year .
The city is determined to embark on a halal destination journey to recover its tourism industry .
Arab News clarified the city ’ s idea to become a halal tourist centre did not come out of nowhere .
It shared that Foz do Iguaçu , part of a tri-border area with the neighbouring cities
Ali Saifi , CEO of Cdial Halal .
in Argentina and Paraguay , has 20,000 Arab population , which is seven per cent out of its 260,000 residents , many of whom are Muslims .
On the Paraguayan side , there are also thousands of Arabs . There are also numerous Arab-owned restaurants and shops in Foz do Iguaçu . The local tour guides also provide an ‘ Arab itinerary ’ as part of their city tour packages .
One of the most visible signs of Arabs ’ historical presence in the region is the existence of Omar ibn Al-Khattab Mosque . The mosque is an important Islamic place of worship in Latin America .
“ Those are great advantages for us . There ’ s already a great halal infrastructure to serve the local community . We need to take those principles to hotels , with the government ’ s help ,” said Ali Saifi , the Chief Executive Officer of Cdial Halal , a halal certification company in Brazil , who was one of the masterminds behind the project .
Mayor Chico Brasileiro quickly agreed with the idea as he ’ s eyeing the 1.9 billion Muslims worldwide .
“ Our city has one of the world ’ s natural wonders , which will certainly attract many Muslims ,” Brasileiro told Arab News .
“ We want to expand their permanency
here by making them feel comfortable with their families .”
According to local Sheikh Oussama El-Zahed , feeling comfortable during international trips to non-Muslim countries can be challenging . He said food was a primary concern when travelling abroad .
“ The idea here is to offer a 100 per cent halal travel package ,” he added .
A Moroccan- born , Sheikh Abderrahman Agdaou , who has lived in Latin America for 21 years , understands the importance of having available halal food while travelling .
“ Many people in Latin America don ’ t think that there ’ s pork in several common food items . The same is true of alcohol ,” Agdaou told Arab News , adding that Muslims have to be alert all the time .
He said some typical dishes such as pupusas , the traditional Salvadoran flatbread , might have been cooked in lard , made from pork fat .
Agdaou revealed that he encountered such issues several times in Latin America . He remembered having no food options during a 14-hour-flight from Morocco to Chile in 2000 . He then stated that creating a halal tourist destination in Brazil was something to celebrate .
Agdaou said he was glad Muslim brothers