Halal tourism is growing at a rapid rate, something that is being realised by the Wesgro Leisure Tourism team who are leading a sales trip to the Middle East in partnership with Tsogo Sun, to launch the Halal Tourism Guide.

The trip, endorsed and supported by South African Tourism and the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa), will start in Dubai, where the team will launch the Halal Tourism Guide at the Arabian Travel Market 2018, followed by hosting a tourism trade event in Abu Dhabi on April 26.

The first Western Cape Halal Tourism Guide, which was developed in partnership with the industry, provides insight into halal-friendly products, restaurants, experiences, tour operators and an overview of tourist regions within the Cape.

 “The global halal market for trade and tourism is growing at an accelerated pace and the Western Cape Government has identified the market as an important niche focus area,” says Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris. “The global Muslim population is projected to increase by 70% to three billion – which will equate to 31% of the global population by 2060. Furthermore, it is forecast that some 27% of the global Muslim population will be living in sub-Saharan Africa by 2060.”

Cape Town-based Collin Thaver, Managing Director of Southern Africa 360, has noticed a fair number of Muslim travellers and, with Islam being one of the fastest growing religions, he says an important consideration when it comes to catering for this market is halal-friendly food and restaurants.

Thaver has found that many of these visitors prefer vegetarian dishes while in SA, as they feel it is safer, however, after having direct contact with Muslim visitors on FAM and media hosted trips, he says their initial concerns quickly dissipated, after realising local establishments do provide genuine halal cuisine.

To date, the Wesgro Leisure Tourism team have led a number of campaigns to boost halal tourism, including:

  • A media campaign with Dnata, the largest travel trade group for the Middle East, from May to September 2017.
  • A media campaign with Emirates, promoting a sales drive for Cape Town and the Western Cape from May to September 2017.
  • Joint hosting of the tourism trade and media with SA Tourism in Dubai and Saudi Arabia in May 2017.
  • A networking session with Middle East tour operators, showcasing Cape Town and Western Cape products, which attracted 47 attendees from across the province in October 2017.

In the upcoming financial year, the team intends to publish the second version of the Halal Guide, which will include a ‘Halal Tourism’ map of the Western Cape, and facilitate a fully certified training course from June to August – preparing regions throughout the Cape to be halal tourism friendly and initiate familiarisation trips for media and trade partners identified at the Arabian Travel Market.

Furthermore, the team is currently in discussion with Cape Town-based Muslim radio station ‘Voice of the Cape’, to drive local awareness and support from the local Muslim community.

Judy Laine, Chief Marketing Officer for Wesgro commented: “We are actively trying to grow this key market in our tourism sector both locally and internationally.”