The Philippines was named as this year’s Emerging Muslim-friendly Destination at the prestigious Halal in Travel Global Summit 2023, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco announced Friday night.
The Halal in Travel Global Summit 2023 recognizes destinations, organizations, companies and individuals who have made a significant impact on the Muslim lifestyle travel segment.
The Emerging Muslim-friendly Destination of the Year (non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation member) title, given to the Philippines on June 1, is awarded to destinations that cater to the unique needs and preferences of Muslim travelers.
“This award is an affirmation of our collaborative efforts towards positioning the Philippines as a preferred destination for Muslim travelers, and strategically developing our Halal Tourism portfolio across our regions. This global recognition also opens up enormous opportunities for our country to introduce our rich and diverse culture and heritage evident in our Muslim communities, and our immensely beautiful destinations, including Mindanao,” Frasco said.
The Muslim travel market is seen to significantly propel the growth of global tourism industry with arrivals of Muslim travelers expected to hit 140 million by end of 2023 and about 230 million in succeeding years, with estimated expenditures of USD225 billion by 2028.
In the Philippines, the Department of Tourism is developing the halal tourism portfolio and has placed it high on the priority list in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2023-2028.
The DOT has also implemented a wide range of services and amenities designed to cater to Muslim travelers.
These include the comprehensive inventory of Halal-certified dining options and efforts to increase Halal accreditations for tourism enterprises, the conduct of Halal awareness orientations with tourism stakeholders, and information dissemination on the values, beliefs and practices of Muslim-travelers.
Recognizing global trends and preferences of Muslim travelers, the DOT continues to pursue sustainable tourism development initiatives, and recently inked a significant agreement with global health and wellness tourism leader Agora to position the Philippines towards providing quality medical and wellness tourism offerings, especially to the Middle Eastern market.
It also organized the very first Mindanao Tourism Expo and successfully staged the MICECON in Davao early this year, and led the Mindanao Tourism Convergence in Zamboanga City in collaboration with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of National Defense.
DOT Undersecretary Myra Paz Valderrosa-Abubakar accepted the award on behalf of the DOT and CrescentRating and HalalTrip, for recognizing the efforts of the Philippine government and tourism stakeholders.
“We hope to continue the great stride on tourism promotion and economic boost in our country for our Muslim brothers and sisters who are arriving in the Philippines and who are surely welcome to visit and explore our more than 7,000 islands with majestic white sand beaches and warm people,” she said. (PNA)