THE Philippines has been awarded as the “Emerging Muslim-friendly Destination of the Year” at the prestigious Halal in Travel Global Summit 2023 held on June 1 in Singapore, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco announced on Friday night.
The Halal in Travel Global Summit 2023 recognizes destinations, organizations, companies and individuals who have made a significant impact on the Muslim lifestyle travel segment.
The Emerging Muslim-friendly Destination of the Year (non-OIC) award is given to recipient destinations that cater to the unique needs and preferences of Muslim travelers.
The Muslim travel market is foreseen to significantly propel the tourism industry’s growth, with projections that Muslim traveler arrivals will reach 140 million in 2023 and in succeeding years could reach 230 million, with estimated expenditures of USD225 billion by 2028.
“This award is an affirmation of our collaborative efforts towards positioning the Philippines as a preferred destination for Muslim travelers, and strategically developing our Halal Tourism portfolio across our regions. This global recognition also opens up enormous opportunities for our country to introduce our rich and diverse culture and heritage evident in our Muslim communities, and our immensely beautiful destinations, including Mindanao,” Frasco said.
Frasco added that the Department of Tourism (DOT) has focused on developing the country’s halal tourism portfolio ensuring, among others, its prioritization in the National Tourism Development Plan 2023-2028.
The DOT has also implemented a wide range of services and amenities designed to cater to Muslim travelers.
These include the conduct of a comprehensive inventory of halal-certified dining options and the pursuit of increased halal accreditations for tourism enterprises across the country, as well as the conduct of halal awareness orientations with tourism stakeholders, and information dissemination with tourism enterprises on the values, beliefs and practices of Muslim-travelers.
Recognizing global trends and preferences of Muslim travelers, Frasco said the DOT has also continued to pursue its sustainable tourism development initiatives, and recently inked a significant agreement with global health and wellness tourism leader Agora to position the Philippines towards providing quality medical and wellness tourism offerings, especially to the Middle Eastern market.
It will be recalled that early this year, the DOT organized the first Mindanao Tourism Expo. This was followed by the successful MICECON in Davao jointly organized by the DOT, Tourism Promotions Board, the private sector and the city of Davao.
Frasco also recently led the Mindanao Tourism Convergence held in Zamboanga City in collaboration with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of National Defense.
Undersecretary Myra Paz Valderrosa-Abubakar accepted the award on behalf of the DOT and CrescentRating and HalalTrip, for recognizing the efforts of the Philippine government and tourism stakeholders.
“We hope to continue the great stride on tourism promotion and economic boost in our country for our Muslim brothers and sisters who are arriving in the Philippines and who are surely welcome to visit and explore our more than 7,000 islands with majestic white sand beaches and warm people,” Abubakar said.