With its radiant weather and exquisite scenery, the Indian Ocean Archipelago of Maldives has always been dependant on the tourism industry as one of the major industries of its economy. Maldives being one of the most renowned holiday destinations in the world, it is essential for the country to adapt to the changes that the tourism industry of the world witnesses; such as the Islamic tourism market which is growing at a drastic rate compared to other markets.
Halal tourism is geared towards Muslim families, who abide by the rules of Islam. Hotels in such destinations do not serve alcohol and have separate swimming pools and spa facilities for men and women.
Even though the Islamic tourism market is growing around the globe, many Muslim countries are yet to adapt to the changes. Market analysts in the Maldives predict that the failure to introduce specific services for a growing market such as the Islamic tourism is something which will hinder the economic growth of the nation – given the long 45 year history of tourism in the tropical paradise.
According to various statistical reports, the market value of Halal tourism in 2012 stood at $137 billion – a figure which is expected to rise to $200 billion by the year 2020.
Researcher Ismail Sani Umar believes that the Maldives would be the ideal destination for Islamic tourism. According to his findings, the age old “One Island – One Resort” concept followed in the Maldives is best fit to provide the privacy that the Islamic tourism demands. And the characteristics of the isles of Maldives are perfect to cater for the rising demands of Islamic tourists.
While many believe that halal tourism could be successful in the Maldives, some have even initiated works of making the Maldives an Islamic tourism friendly destination. As such the 54 hectare resort being developed by ADK Company is one of the most ambitious projects in the industry – however the development of the resort is currently at a standstill, given the hurdles it needs to overcome.
Hopes of introducing the Islamic tourism in the Maldives were re-ignited when Maldives Marketing and PR Company (MMPRC) revealed that even the government is onboard the decision. As such, the company noted that Maldives is being advertised as a Islamic tourism friendly country abroad.
“It is not just manufactured halal products. Services such as halal holidays are booming, too. Crescent Tours, a London-based online travel specialist, books clients into hotels in Turkey that have separate swimming pools for men and women, no-alcohol policies and halal restaurants, and rents out private holiday villas with high walls.” – The Economist on Islamic Tourism