Istanbul to Host Halal Tourism Conference

Over 1,000 delegates from more than 50 countries are expected to converge upon the capitol city of Istanbul, Turkey, for the second annual European international Halal Tourism Conference (HTC2015), one of the fastest growing sectors in the world, currently worth an estimated $150 billion.

“Turkey is the biggest destination for Islamic travel after Saudi Arabia so it is fitting to host the event in Istanbul for 2015,” event organizer and CM Media representative, Tasneem Mahmood, told Emirates 24/7 News.

“The Middle [East] is now a key player in the future of Halal Tourism from an inbound and outbound perspective contributing billions to the industry,” she added.

The three-day event, sponsored by CM Media in partnership with Tura Turizm, will be held December 1-3, 2015 at the Istanbul Lutfi Kirdar Congress & Exhibition Center (ICEC), in the heart of the Congress Valley, is “vital for anyone who is actively engaged in halal tourism or is looking to operate in this market. It will be an excellent knowledge forum,” stated Mahmood.

“Since the Halal Tourism Conference was founded in 2014, enhancing the industry across its various sectors has been at the very heart of our efforts. This year’s event we want to move the debate to the next level and focus on developing the industry. This is a crucial to the future of this sector especially as Halal tourism is maturing and growing so fast. Countries in the Asia Pacific are crucial to the Halal Tourism industry,” she said.

“We will have a range of keynote speeches, panel sessions and roundtable discussions from experts around this theme including how to improve the travel experience which includes integrating new technologies and the growth of subsectors such as luxury travel and medical tourism.” Mahmood reiterated.

A 2013 UK media research report produced by ANDON, a Dubai-based strategic, branding and creative design agency focusing on making an impact in the Middle East, in association with DinarStandard titled, “State of Islamic Economy”, showed that when Muslims were asked overall, which of the following are important to them when traveling for leisure, the top answers were, “Halal Food” (67%), followed by “Overall Price” (53%), and “Muslim-friendly experience” (49%).

These areas remain of importance among today’s travellers, as affirmed by the MasterCard-Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2015.

Confirmed speakers for this year’s event include: Simon Coombs, President & CEO – Shaza Hotels; Christian Nader, Vice President – Development IMEA, Shaza Hotels Vice President – Development; Reem El Shafaki, Senior Associate at DinarStandard, Rafi-Uddin Shikoh, Founder and CEO of DinarStandard; Hani Lashin, Group General Manager at Al Jawhara Group of Hotels; Fazal Bahardeen, Founder, CrescentRating | CEO, CrescentRating & HalalTrip; Dr. Jonathan A.J. Wilson, Programme Director, Postgraduate Marketing Suite, University of Greenwich, London and Editor-in-chief, Journal of Islamic Marketing; Faisal Masood, the Founder and President of the American Muslim Consumer Consortium Inc.; Moulana Mohamed Saeed Navlakhi, Theological Director – South African National Halaal Authority; and Mr. Asad Sajjad, CEO Gulf Halal Center / Halal Development Council.

Following the conference organizers are offering a two day tour of Istanbul to provide businesses with a live case study of a region that is becoming more Muslim friendly and is actively working to meet the needs of Muslim travelers.

The HTC’s inaugural event, attended by over 400 delegates, was held in September 2014 at the Granada Conference and Exhibition Centre, Andalusia, Spain.

Turkey fell second to Malaysia in the GMTI 2015 Muslim travel market while UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar rounded off the top five.

*This article was originally published on On Islam on 19 April 2015. Read the original article here.

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