Philippine Halal Tourism Project eyes more Qat…
By Raynald C Rivera
DOHA: The Philippines is poised to welcome more Qatari tourists and other travellers from the Middle East with more tourism-related establishments at major destinations offering halal food as part of the recently launched Philippine Halal Tourism Project.
Initially, a total of 43 hotels, resorts, restaurants and other tourism –related establishments have been halal-certified under the project undertaken by the Philippines’ Department of Tourism (DOT) and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).
The recently released list includes establishments located in a number of key tourist destinations including Manila, Cebu, Boracay, Davao, Bohol, Zamboanga City, General Santos City, Koronadal, Cotabato City, Surigao City, and Siargao Island.
Gonaranao B Musor, Deputy Head of Mission and Head of economic and political section, said the project was launched to further tap the Muslim tourism market and is an important part a major initiative to develop the country’s halal industry.
Apart from the DOT, the NCM F which was mandated to develop the industry is collaborating with other concerned agencies such as the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade in Industry on other areas such as halal banking, according to Consul Musor.
Through the initiative, the Philippines aims to partake in the vibrant global halal market which is worth $200bn.
Recent data released by Crescent Rating-a Singapore-based authority on Muslim travel-project 117 million Muslim travelers to grow to 168 million by 2020 making the region a vital tourist market.
The Philippines only placed 47th among 100 countries ranked in the 2015 Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) produced by Crescent Rating.
“The DOT recognizes Qatar and the rest of the GCC and Middle East as a potential market for tourism,” Consul Musor told The Peninsula.
Based on latest figures, tourist arrivals from Qatar, though small in number, witnessed the biggest growth among Middle Eastern countries, with 19.02% increase in January and February this year compared to the same period last year.
The Philippine Embassy in Doha and other Philippine posts in the GCC are collaborating to organize familiarization trips for travel agencies and journalists to further promote the country’s tourism, according to Musor.
“Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have already expressed interest in supporting this project. Hopefully, this will be implemented this year,” he added.