110 million Muslims will travel in 2017 and 70% will make their travel decision online. Where will the Gulf Arab spend his $9,920 travel budget in 2017? At this year’s ITB Berlin Convention, Dr. Irfan Ahmad, CEO & Editor in Chief – Irhal Inc. will address this burning question. ITB Berlin News asked him how the Halal Tourism market is evolving this year…
HOW TO REACH THE MILLENNIAL DOMINATED $140 BILLION HALAL TOURISM MARKET Category: eTravel Lab Day 1
Date: March 8, 2017 Time: 12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Location: Hall 7.1c, eTravel Lab
With President Trump’s threatened travel ban, the significance of Halal Tourism will become more important, because countries in Europe and Asia will be actively trying to attract Muslim travelers who will be spending upwards of $150 billion in travel-related expenses in 2017. Interesting times!
You have developed some very useful apps for Muslim travellers. How do these work?
Muslim travelers, particularly Arab travelers were handicapped because there was very little Arabic travel content on the internet. We started in 2010 by creating a website with Arabic language city guides. Unlike anyone else, we also offered information on Halal restaurants, prayer timings and mosque locations for each of the 90 cities that are listed on our website. By 2014 we realized that our visitors preferred an offline solution while traveling. So we launched the Irhal mobile apps both for iOS and Android. We now have over 1.5 million unique users of our website and apps. About 80% of our users are Arabs and a majority are from the GCC who spend $9,920 per trip
How important is the ITB Berlin Convention when it comes to educating and informing the industry on trends like this?
ITB Berlin is the world’s largest gathering of travel industry professionals. It helps to shape the future of the travel sector. Since Muslim travelers account for 11.2% of global travel spend and this segment is growing faster than even Chinese travelers, it is important to highlight this at ITB-Berlin. Irhal.com users prefer to visit non-Muslim countries because of what a destination offers in terms of culture, entertainment and nature. By providing Halal food, the destination will become more attractive. So, hotels and tourism boards should be highlighting this aspect of their offerings to attract more Muslim tourists and ITB-Berlin can play a key role in promoting this change.