Sri Lanka could be a hub for the Halaal industry in South Asia like Malaysia in the South East Asia region Tourism Promotion Minister Faizer Mustapha said.
Speaking at the inaugural Halaal Conference and Exhibition 2010 at Galadari Hotel yesterday he said the concept of Halaal Tourism extends far beyond the hotel industry. Restaurateurs, transport providers, healthcare services, retailers and many other industries will benefit from the phenomenal growth that has been witnessed in this market segment.
The Government has recognized the immense potential in this area and has made a concerted effort to develop the industry for Sri Lanka to compete more effectively in the global marketplace.
The ramifications would cut a positive swathe over a wider spectrum of society - from the farmer providing agricultural produce for the hotel industry to the corporate CEO formulating a strategy to use Halaal as an engine for growth , the theme of this event, Minister Mustapha said.
He said the timing of the conference is very apt as his Ministry has specially targeted the Middle-Eastern traveller and the results of the efforts can already be seen.
It is imperative that the country is geared to meet the challenges that lay ahead, especially in terms of meeting the needs and expectations of tourists that are becoming more discerning.
The country has to be cognizant of the competition for such tourists from various other countries and to be proactive in this regard, he said.
The term Halaal is not the exclusive domain of the Muslim community. Over 90 percent of the Halaal industry worldwide is actually owned by non-Muslims.
This fact is reflected at this very event, in which the plethora of sponsors and exhibitors are a true reflection of the multi-cultural society, he said.
The Minister hoped that the hotels can follow suit to target the Halaal-conscious traveller with greater confidence in Sri Lanka s ability to cater to their needs.
I would like to reiterate here that hotels becoming more Halaal-friendly does not mean catering to the needs of Muslims alone, he said.