75%+ would pay more for halal holidays

UAE is the number one halal holiday destination for development, a new YouGov study has found.

The YouGov annual Travel Oracle, a survey of more than 22,000 respondents online from across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia (MENASA) region, revealed that while most respondents (29 percent) associated more closely with Saudi Arabia as a halal destination concept, the largest proportion (16 percent) chose the UAE as a country they would be most interested in seeing develop as a halal destination.

The study also threw up other interesting findings that could help halal businesses leverage their product better.

It showed that awareness of halal tourism is very limited – barely 29 percent of those across the MENASA region, when prompted, said they’d heard of it. But of those that had, over three-quarters said they were willing to pay more for a halal holiday than a standard one. Most of these were from Yemen, Algeria, Pakistan and Sudan.

“With such a high proportion of the sample demonstrating their attraction to the concept of halal tourism and only 29 percent aware of it, these data demonstrate the outstanding potential of religious-focused holidays in travel destinations looking to appeal to consumers right on their doorstep. The fact that many see the UAE as a destination of choice for halal holidays and a large majority are willing to dig deeper into their pockets to experience them demonstrates the commercial potential that could be unlocked by focusing on providing halal-friendly offerings,” said Scott Booth, YouGov’s Travel and Tourism Research Director for MENASA.

So what are some of the attributes that halal product offerings need to keep in mind?

Prayer spaces, the provision of halal food and an alcohol free environment were the top essential attributes. Modestly dressed staff and women-only swimming pools were also highly important according to 35 percent and 31 percent of respondents respectively.

As of date, Turkey is the world’s top halal tourism destination, with the global value of halal tourism estimated at $137 billion and projected to surge to $230bn by 2020. Investments in halal tourism in the UAE are estimated to reach $350 million in the next five years and the emirates remains the fastest growing halal market in the GCC in terms of both attracting or exporting halal tourism products.

The World Halal Travel Summit and Exhibition is currently underway in Abu Dhabi.