Halal hotels ‘a big draw’


FAITH MATTERS: People
enjoy the beach at a resort
in Oludeniz, Turkey; and
guests rest by the pool at
the halal friendly Selge
Beach Resort and Spa
Hotel in Manavgat near
Antalya (below left) and
Wome Deluxe Hotel in
Alanya (below right)
FAITH MATTERS: People enjoy the beach at a resort in Oludeniz, Turkey; and guests rest by the pool at the halal friendly Selge Beach Resort and Spa Hotel in Manavgat near Antalya (below left) and Wome Deluxe Hotel in Alanya (below right)

TURKEY’S ISLAMIC-FRIENDLY RESORTS SPARK BOOM TURKEY’S $26 billion (£19bn) tourism industry is quietly growing as beach holidays for conserv­ative Muslims become popular. Dozens of hotels and resorts on Turkey’s shores, featuring separate pools and beaches for men and women to meet religious strictures on modesty, are attracting families from Turkey, the Middle East and Muslim communities in the West. While still only accounting for a small fraction of tourists, the market for “halal”, or Islamic-compli­ant, holidays has shrugged off the turmoil and looks set for more growth. “In the last couple of years there was a boycott of Turkey as a tourism destination, but we have seen halal-friendly tourism booming throughout this period,” said Ufuk Secgin of halalbooking.com, which promotes international Islamic holidays. The total number of tourist arrivals in Turkey dropped by a quarter to a 10-year low in 2016, hit by a failed coup, a wave of bomb attacks and a dis­pute with Moscow which kept millions of Russians away. It bounced back last year and the govern­ment expects 40 million visitors this year. Secgin’s company brought 12,000 tourists in 2015, almost doubling that number in each of the next two years despite turbulence in Turkey. This year it expects 70,000 to come to visit the country whose president, Tayyip Erdogan, is a pi­ous Muslim who has brought religion back into mainstream public life. Only 60 or so hotels and resorts offer halal-friendly breaks, out of many thousands of hotels across Turkey. However, a report in November said the country has jumped four places to the third most popular destination for Islamic holidays, be­hind the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. In a sign of the popularity of the halal hotels, they were all fully booked in Turkey last year for the Eid al-Fitr holiday which marks the end…

You do not have access to this content. You need to create an account.