50 hotels, resorts halal certified by end-April
Close to 50 establishments will be certified to have met halal food-preparation standards by the end of this month, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said.
Businessworld reported that the target is part of the Halal Tourism Project, which has so far certified 43 establishments, with 16 in the process of completing the halal-certification procedures.
Berjaya Hotel Makati, Dusit Thani Manila and Marriott Hotel Manila are among those recognized as halal-compliant.
The Philippines seeks to make the country friendlier to Muslim visitors by offering places that observe their religion’s halal food-preparation standards.
“It was unbecoming that all these years… that when we invited the whole world yet could not offer food suited to their special dietary requirements.
It was akin to telling them that they we’re not welcome… and the Philippines is one of those countries that is determined to make them feel welcome,” Jimenez was quoted as saying.
Halal tourism is becoming a lucrative industry, accounting for 11.6 percent of global tourism expenditures. It is expected to be worth $238 billion by 2019.
Jimenez said Southeast Asia could capture up to 25 percent of the global halal market which is equivalent to $50 billion a year.
“If I could only get 10 percent of that, that’s twice the income we have now,” he said.
“Even as we speak, the list is growing… we will probably have, by the end of May, 60-70 applications,” he added.
Tourism department data showed that as of end-March, approximately 566,000 or 10.5 percent of foreign tourist arrivals in the Philippines came from “countries with a significant Muslim population.”
The hotels and resorts whose kitchens are being prepared to handle halal food are found in Manila, Cebu, Boracay, Davao, Bohol, Zamboanga City, General Santos City, Koronadal, Cotabato City, Surigao City and Siargao Island.