The Philippines has been awarded as the Emerging Muslim-friendly Destination of the Year at the prestigious Halal in Travel Global Summit 2023 in Singapore, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT).
In a statement released on Saturday, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco noted that the DOT has focused on developing the country’s halal tourism portfolio ensuring its prioritization in the National Tourism Development Plan 2023-2028.
“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.
Moreover, the DOT has implemented a wide range of services and amenities designed to cater to Muslim travelers including the conduct of a comprehensive inventory of Halal-certified dining options, the pursuit of increased Halal accreditations for tourism enterprises across the country, the conduct of Halal Awareness Orientations with Tourism Stakeholders, and information dissemination with tourism enterprises on the values, beliefs, and practices of Muslim-travelers.
Frasco also highlighted the recent partnership 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.
Meanwhile, Undersecretary Myra Paz Valderrosa-Abubakar accepted the award on behalf of the DOT 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 during the summit on June 1.
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 eyed to boost the tourism industry’s growth with projections that Muslim traveller arrivals will reach 140 million in 2023 and in succeeding years could reach 230 million with estimated expenditures of $225 billion by 2028.