THE OFFICIAL SHOW DAILY——24-27 April 2017 24


Keeping the faith Halal tops the agenda for the region’s travel industry

3 Wednesday 26 April 30

The Middle East travel industry will today be urged to capitalise on the multi-billion dollar Muslim travel sector at ATM’s first-ever Global Halal Tour- ism Summit. Taking place between 12.20pm and 2.40pm on the Global Stage, some of the world’s leading Muslim travel experts will come together to discuss the growth potential of a sector that’s tipped to be worth US$233 billion by 2020, some 13 percent of total global travel expenditure.

Faeez Fadhlillah, Co-Founder

and CEO of Salam Standard and Tripfez will get summit proceedings underway by revealing how the GDP impact of the world’s Muslim tour- ism sector exceeded US$138 billion in 2015, generating 4.3 million jobs and contributing more than US$18 billion in tax revenue. “To put this into perspective, a

GDP impact of US$138 billion is larger than the entire economy of Morocco or Kuwait,” said Fadhlillah.

“The Muslim travel sector has a

significant impact on global econ- omies, creating jobs and boosting public finances. Middle East destina- tions, with their world-class tourism infrastructure, are in a prime position to capitalise on this booming market.” During today’s session, Fadhlillah

will disclose key findings of the Global Economic Impact of Muslim Tourism Report by Salam Standard, a hospi- tality information tool dedicated to Muslim travellers.


The Middle East accounts for 60

percent of all outbound Muslim tour- ism expenditure, worth some US$60 billion, and accrues the largest share of their tourism GDP from Muslim travel- lers (28 percent), the report reveals. However, the US and the EU are

the top beneficiaries of Muslim travel spending, netting nearly US$64 billion of inbound expenditure in 2015, or around 44 percent of the total market. They also collect the most Muslim

tourist-related tax – to the tune of US$12.5 billion, according to the report, which studied in detail the contribu- tion of the Muslim tourism sector to major economies worldwide. Given current travel restrictions

to the US, with some Muslim travellers now reticent about visiting, panellists will also discuss opportunities for the Middle East travel industry to instead promote its halal-friendly offering to local and international markets seek- ing US alternatives. “Now is the time to play a part in

the way Muslims travel,” said Nabeel Shariff, the Founder and Director of halal-friendly tour operators Serendip- ity Tailormade and Luxury Halal Travel, who will also speak at the summit’s third session today entitled ‘How To Sell Halal Travel’. “Already 38 percent of corpo-

rate European travel professionals are avoiding the US in light of current travel restrictions, with New York City predicting a 2.1 percent dip in visitors in 2017. So, let’s take a fraction of those who may be Muslim travellers; they will be looking for a new destination for their summer holidays this year and they will spend their earnings some- where that will provide safety, comfort and cater to their needs.”

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The time is right for Gulf nations to come together to capitalise on the billion-dollar cruise industry. That was the message from the region’s cruise experts after a special session at ATM yesterday. There were also calls for new ports, GCC visas for cruisers and streamlined immigration processes to pave the way for a new era in the Middle Eastern cruise sector. “It’s vital the cruise industry here

works with global cruise lines and itin- erary planners to identify the experi- ences cruisers want – exploring the region’s hidden gems,” said Bo Larsen, Senior Vice President Strategic Part- nerships, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). With an estimated 25 million

passengers each year, the sector is fast becoming one of the travel indus- try’s most lucrative. Cruise experts at yesterday’s show took to the Global Stage for the ‘Riding the Wave of Cruise Tourism’ session to discuss how the Gulf can get its fair share of the 25 million global travellers that will cruise



Photo credits: Filmatography.

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