Hawzah News Agency -Throughout history, the Mediterranean has always stood as a magnet for picturesque-deprived tourists across the globe, drawn to its long sandy beaches, pretty coves, ancient sites, and turquoise coasts.
Recently, many European Muslim tourists are giving halal, Islamic tourism a huge boost.
An increasing number of hotels in the Turkish city of Antalya and other neighboring towns are shifting away from the style of immodesty and booze resorts in order to attract a new and growing clientele of Muslim tourists.
The Mediterranean Region is dominated by Muslim nations as 11 of its 21 countries are Muslim states.
The 2017 stats of the Islamic economy report showed that ‘Halal travel’, catering for Muslim requirements, is undergoing a boom. Worth $177bn in 2017, the market is expected to reach $274bn by 2023.
The report – produced annually by analyst Thomson Reuters – says that the halal travel sector is “spreading its wings through offering cultural, historical, religious and beach tourism. Muslim-friendly beach resorts are proving particularly popular.”
Several hoteliers in Antalya have converted existing hotels to be halal-friendly. Other purpose-built resorts are springing up.
The restaurants of these resorts serve halal food and the premises are alcohol-free. They provide prayer rooms and mosques and broadcast the call to prayer over public address systems.
Most resorts have screened-off women-only pools and beach areas, in which women can sunbathe without being seen by men. Boys over the age of five or six are banned, along with cameras and mobile phones.
Moreover, spas and gyms have separate opening times for men and women. Organized entertainment is “family-friendly”.
One of the visitors, Basma Kahie, a fashion blogger, talked about her previous holiday sufferings due to the difficulties faced by Muslim families.
“But after visiting a halal-friendly resort in Antalya last year with my husband and daughter, I’m planning another holiday, this time with friends,” she said.
According to Ufuk Seçgin of HalalBooking.com, which caters for Muslim tourists, “absolutely there’s a boom in this sector; we see it and feel it every day. There’s a rapidly growing global Muslim population and an expanding Muslim middle class.”