WITH a surge in demand in halal tourism, the Department of Tourism (DOT) expanded the scope of the Philippine Halal Tourism Project, engaging more areas that are bent to take advantage of the $3.2 trillion global market.
DOT Assistant Secretary Arturo Boncato Jr., during the opening ceremony of the Halal Tourism Expo Friday at the Abreeza Mall of Davao, said Zamboanga, Koronadal, General Santos City, Caraga, Bohol and Siargao intend to be part of the project.
“Originally, we only implemented it (project) to four areas (Manila, Boracay, Cebu and Davao) but we are expanding it to Zamboanga, Koronadal, Gensan, Caraga, Bohol and Siargao as there is a big demand in these areas for Halal. The tourism-oriented establishments there including hotels, restaurants and resorts would also like to welcome the halal project and become part of it,” he told Sun.Star in an interview with Sun.Star Davao at the sidelines of the expo.
Halal food is that which adheres to Islamic law.
The project, which started in January, will look into the whole Halal ecosystem from food, travel, lifestyle and finances.
Originally, the project is targeting 50 tourism-oriented establishments nationwide to be a certified “halal-friendly” by Halal International Chamber of Commerce and Industries of the Philippines (HICCIP) adhering to international halal standards within this year.
“We had managed to certify with HICCP a total of 16 hotels, resorts all over the Philippines, the other remaining are due end of May,” Boncato said.
Of the figure, Boncato said that six are from Davao City which include Marco Polo Hotel-Davao, Villa Margarita, Zabadani and Southern Philippine Medical Center (Hospital in Davao with Muslim-friendly kitchen), among others. While over 10 establishments are still working on their compliance.
Boncato also said that Baguio and Palawan have showed interest in participating in the project.
Crescent Rating, a Singapore-based halal accreditation body, Halal International Chamber of Commerce and Industries of the Philippines (HICCIP) and the tourism department will assess the participating establishment on how “halal-friendly” their businesses are.
On the rating, it will be based on the suitability of an establishment as holiday destination, family friendliness, safety with combined percent weight of 40 percent, Muslim friendly services and facilities availability (40 percent) and halal awareness and reach out to Muslims (20 percent).
With the global market value for the halal industry is expected to double from $3.2 trillion to a $6.4 trillion by 2018, major tourism players have been urged to seize opportunities offered by the growing halal industry.