The Department of Tourism (DOT) has identified 10 hotels and resorts in Cebu that will participate in the pilot implementation of a project that aims to make tourism establishments halal-certified.

These are Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort, Cebu City Marriott Hotel, Cebu Parklane Hotel, Costabella Tropical Beach Resort, Crimson Resort and Spa, Marco Polo Hotel, Movenpick, Radisson Blu Cebu, Shangri-la Mactan Resort and Spa, and Waterfront Cebu Hotel and Casino.

Halal refers to food that Muslims are allowed to eat under Islamic law.

DOT Regional Director Rowena Montecillo said the Cebu hotels are among 50 establishments that will take part in the pilot implementation of the project from December 2015 to February 2016.

Other participants are 20 establishments from Metro Manila, 10 from Boracay and 10 from Metro Davao.

Montecillo presented the project to the Central Visayas Regional Development Council last Friday.

She said participating establishments will be given incentives, including construction and retro-fitting of facilities, purchase of equipment and materials, halal certification, provision of training, and inclusion of the establishments in the Philippine halal tourism project information campaign.

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Montecillo said 7 percent, or 348,970 tourists, of the total number of visitor arrivals in the Philippines last year were from Arab and Muslim countries.

These tourists require halal-certified food and drinks.

“This forms our base market for halal services, not yet adding those markets with special dietary restrictions. The objective of the project is to make the Philippines a Muslim-ready destination,” Montecillo said.

With the project, she said the Philippines hopes to get a share of the trillion-dollar global halal industry.

By making more establishments and accommodations halal-certified, the Philippines can accommodate more tourists who have specific dietary needs, she added.

Prior to implementation, DOT presented the plan to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and a DOT-NCMF technical working group was created.

The group will formulate the implementation guidelines for the project.