Halal Cruises For Muslim Travellers Thrived In Turkish Tourism Sector
Halal cruises have been Turkey’s booming tourism offering since 2017 with ships sailing along the Danube River, the Nile and the Rhine River, exclusively serving religiously observant Muslims. With the global slowdown in tourism due to the Covid-19 outbreak many companies have been suffering. However there are still many opportunities for Halal cruises in the later part of the year or early 2021 depending on the lifting of quarantines and government advice.
Everything on board Turkish Halal cruises comply with Islamic values: Halal food products, separate spas for men and women, women-friendly swimming pools and sports centers, spacious praying facilities and separate traditional Turkish hamams, or saunas.
Since from July 2017, ships with a capacity for more than 150 passengers run by the Turkish tourism company Helal Cruise filled an important void in the Halal tourism industry, which has attracted greater demand in the last few years from Muslim countries.
Passengers up until recently have been enjoying cruise tours of two-to-six days. The debut cruise set off on July 6, 2017 with a route along the Danube River, and passengers visited four countries, including Austria and Serbia. During their visits to each city, passengers was accompanied by senior tour guides specialized in history.
These cruises create a chance to learn about Turkish culture and cuisine, as chefs prepare traditional Anatolian dishes as well as popular ones from the Ottoman-era culinary scene. “Every aspect of food preparation is done in accordance with Islamic values,” said Ünal Uluçay, general manager of Helal Cruise a few years ago.
“We have received a greater interest than we previously projected,” Uluçay added. Aside from local passengers (30 percent of the market share), the biggest target audience is Muslims from Asian and African countries as well as Australia, the Far East and the U.S. Uluçay said that Muslim families do not have to limit themselves to Halal beach resorts as Halal cruises are a good option.
For entertainment, the tourism operator offered a program that suited passengers’ lifestyle. Artists normally join the cruise tours and offer free courses on Turkish traditional arts like ebru, or marbling. The company’s operation manager, Mehmet Buyan, previously said they would organize different cultural events in advance for each country the travelers set foot in.
The river cruise tours, designed to provide the Muslim families traveling with three square meals daily, previously cost between 999 euros and 2,000 euros.
In Turkey, more than 50 hotels offer conservative services. Antalya, Istanbul, İzmir, Aydın, Muğla and Ankara are the major cities that boast such hotels, according to the Mediterranean Touristic Hotels Association (AKTOB).
A report supported by the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center in partnership with Thomson Reuters shows estimates that Muslims spent US$2.2 trillion in 2018 across the food, pharmaceutical and lifestyle sectors that are impacted by Islamic faith-inspired ethical consumption needs. According to reports, the most popular destination countries for Muslim tourists are Malaysia, Turkey and the UAE.
Source: Daily Sabah