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Cape Town learns the language of the Muslim traveller

The annual Mastercard-Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) saw South Africa ranked as one of the ten most Muslim-friendly non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries for 2018. Cape Town Tourism has geared itself towards developing the Muslim tourism market and has implemented a number of initiatives to spread the word that the Mother City is an ideal destination for Muslim travellers.
Cape Town learns the language of the Muslim traveller
©dibrova via 123RF

Learn the language of the Muslim traveller

Cape Town Tourism recently released information and a glossary of terms so that more tourism businesses can gain an understanding of the Muslim travellers’ needs and preferences.

In addition, the organisation has provided access to CR (Crescent Rating) training that offers a more in-depth look at Halal tourism and has endorsed a Crescent Rating/Mastercard programme that focuses on showcasing product offerings and special offers suitable to the Muslim traveller. Tour operators can get in touch with Cape Town Tourism to be vetted for being added to the packages.

These latest developments follow on from years of research into this market and some initial steps, including a Chef Exchange programme that saw local chefs being trained by two five-star chefs from Singapore and two local hotel chefs being given the opportunity to go to Singapore for further exposure to this culinary style.

Cape Town Tourism has also been invited to share in a panel discussion at ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show, around the topic of preparing to cater to the needs of the Muslim visitor.

“There’s more to marketing Cape Town as a destination than showcasing what we already have, we can do more to make our city a welcoming tourism environment for visitors whose needs are specific. This means investigating what needs to be done and taking action, and we’re pleased to see this is already having an impact,” said Cape Town Tourism CEO, Enver Duminy.

The background

As part of the intention to uncover how to attract the Muslim traveller, Cape Town Tourism has conducted an in-depth exploration to find out what can be done to achieve this.

By 2020 approximately 26% of the world’s population will be Muslim and, given the growth of the Muslim middle class and a younger population with increased disposable income, Muslim travellers are becoming a significant segment within the global travel and tourism sector. With that in mind, Cape Town Tourism has been seeking ways to develop awareness around Muslim travellers’ needs.

A recent study found that Halal tourism is now one of the fastest growing sectors of the global travel industry, with visitor spending predicted to reach $220bn (Dh807.4bn) by 2020. In this year’s Mastercard Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel Index, Malaysia topped the list as the world’s best overall Halal travel destination, followed by the UAE and then Indonesia.

In a survey published in the Muslim Travel Shopping Index (MTSI) 2015, more than 80% of the respondents mentioned that the availability of Halal food options is “very important” when choosing a holiday destination – this information has prompted the creation of the Chef Exchange Programme, which has kicked off with a function showcasing gourmet halal cuisine.

The Muslim traveller prioritises the following in a destination: Halal food, Salaah (Prayer), ablution facilities, Ramadhan services, no non-Halal activities and separate recreational facilities for males and females – are important factors when choosing holiday destinations. Halal food is by far the most important service that a Muslim traveller is looking for when travelling. Acceptability of the different levels of Halal food assurance varies among Muslims.

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