Saif-ur-Rahman, Director, Alchemy of Travel in Singapore, delivered a presentation in the Muslim Travel Pavilion on “The Needs of a Muslim Traveller”, dispelling some of the misconceptions surrounding halal travel.
Rahman explained that people outside of Islam have the misunderstanding that halal just refers to food. While food is a part of halal travel, he said that it also is about prayer.
He explained: “The first misconception is that Muslims only want to travel to Muslim countries, I’ve had clients go to countries like Norway and Russia and we climbed Paro Taktsang in Bhutan. There is a great need for Muslims to travel rather than simply going for pilgrimage or to Malaysia or Indonesia – we go to far-away places.”
THE DIFFICULTY COMES FROM A PERCEPTION – AND COMES FROM A LACK OF INFORMATION
Rahman offered some key advice to operators and said: “When you have Muslim clients, you can assist them by having halal food, by giving time for them to make their daily prayers, to book airlines that provide halal food during the journey, book hotels that have a halal kitchen and provide some Islamic content on the trip – this is what we call halal travel. As a Muslim, we need to pray ve times a day, which is something that tour operators need to make provision for. For the noon and afternoon, this is when they are usually on the road, visiting destinations or going to attractions. As the provider, you need to allow between 1pm and 7pm, at least 15-20 minutes for them to perform this ritual.”
He added: “Muslim travel is not a difficult market; the difficulty comes from a perception – and comes from a lack of information. As a bare minimum, if you are able to provide options for food and provide up to 20 minutes of your day trip for them to perform their prayers, then that’s it, everything else should be the same”.
Photo: Saif-ur-Rahman, Director, Alchemy of Travel