Abu Dhabi hosts World Halal Travel Summit
The halal travel sector is estimated to be worth $238 by 2019. (Seekpress)
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Abu Dhabi is poised to become the regional hub for the lucrative and growing halal travel sector delegates heard at the opening of the first World Halal Travel Summit (WHTS2015), being staged in the UAE capital.
“Halal travel is one of the fastest-growing sectors of global tourism and one that’s already worth $135 billion and is set to double within the next five years," Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) acting director general Jasem Al Darmaki told senior private and public sector delegates from the global halal travel and tourism industry.
The event is taking place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) in Abu Dhabi, and runs until October 21.
"Abu Dhabi is placing itself at the heart of this market in the Gulf region, and is well placed to meet specific Muslim demands on a number of fronts including food and beverage, segmented family and gender-specific product and segmented sessions for females at mainline attractions, and is host to a number of high and medium-quality dry hotels,” said Al Darmaki.
The keynote conference session is one of a number of seminars from industry-leading organisations, destinations and service providers delivering tourism products compliant with Muslim beliefs in a three-day programme investigating destination marketing, product development and quality standards in the halal travel sector.
Delivered with the support of Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau – the dedicated business events promotion arm of TCA Abu Dhabi, the multi-faceted event includes an exhibition with over 200 participants plus a 1,000-delegate conference, comprising keynote sessions, panel discussions, a Ministerial debate and 150 presentations from 70 international speakers.
They will be discussing what the industry can do to ensure it harnesses the potential of the growing halal travel sector, worth an estimated $238 billion by 2019, whilst maintaining and initiating industry-wide quality standards.
Al Darmaki called on halal tour operators and the emirate’s tourism industry to embrace the opportunity.
He said Abu Dhabi is already well on course to deliver international marketing initiatives with leading halal travel partners.
“We have already begun partnering with the world’s leading online accommodation booking platform and our local destination management companies are supporting international operators with halal products. Meanwhile, we are actively encouraging greater engagement with our expanding public and private sector tourism portfolio suppliers by encouraging investment in resources to support cultural, family-friendly and Muslim-compliant hotels, experiences and attractions.”
He predicted that the emirate’s deep-rooted heritage and traditions and upcoming cultural institutions on Saadiyat Island would further set the emirate apart.
“All of these, I’m sure, are featured, or will feature, in global halal travel packages,” added Al Darmaki.
The pioneering conference is supported by an exhibition running at the state-of-the-art Adnec.
A total of 21 exhibitors have joined the Abu Dhabi destination pavilion as part of an extensive exhibition in Adnec’s Halls 6 and 7, with the Heritage Village hosting 12 additional Abu Dhabi-based exhibitors.
The emirate’s entertainment destination of Yas Island is showcasing its array of family-friendly activities, halal dining and regional shopping attributes at the summit.
“Yas Island offers unlimited adventure with non-stop fun, all in one destination,” said Clive Dwyer, the island’s director of destination management. “In addition to a safe, family-friendly environment, the island hosts ladies nights at GoYas, where ladies seeking a healthier lifestyle can enjoy cycling, jogging, walking or exercise classes on the Yas Marina Circuit every Wednesday, and Yas Waterworld hosts exclusive ladies-only events on Thursday where ladies get the chance to enjoy park’s unique facilities in a comfortable environment,” he added.
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