Muslim tourists-friendly -- Visitors spend time in a restaurant providing halal foods at Botani Square Shopping Mall in Bogor, West Java, on Oct.14. The Culture and Tourism Ministry awarded Botani Square as Indonesia's best Muslim tourists-friendly shopping mall for 2016. (JP/Theresia Sufa)
Tourism ministry is set to hold a Sales Mission event in three cities in China namely Xi’an, Yinchuan and Beijing from September 4 to 7.
The ministry invites 9 sellers from Indonesia and 60 buyers from each city in China to help promote halal tourist destinations in Indonesia.
Beijing, the capital city of China has a sizeable Muslim population and so does Yinchuan the capital city of Ningxia Hui which has 34 percent Muslim residents out of a total of 6.32 million.
Islam was said to enter Xi'an around the 7th century through merchants from Saudi Arabia and Persia. Xi’an Grand Mosque was built in the city in year 742.
Moreover, the relationship between China and Indonesian Muslims goes as far back as the 15th century.
Halal tourism is currently growing in Indonesia with plenty of destinations being set up along with supporting facilities. One of the popular destinations is Lombok that has become the nation’s backbone for halal tourism.
Lombok won two awards at the World Halal Travel Awards in 2015 for World's Best Halal destination and World's Best Halal Honeymoon destination categories.
Other than Lombok, there are also West Sumatra and Aceh, which were also crowned as winners at the World Halal Travel Awards 2016. West Sumatra brought home two awards for World's Best Halal Culinary and World's Best Halal Destination, while Aceh earned the title of World's Best Halal Cultural Destination.
“This is what we’re offering in these sales missions, there are also the other three destinations that will be highlighted in this event namely Bali, Jakarta and Batam. This event is supported by the Indonesian Embassy in Beijing and Garuda Indonesia,” said tourism ministry's deputy minister for Overseas Promotion, I Gde Pitana.
According to the data from the tourism ministry, throughout the years of 2013 to 2016, there had been a significant increase of 15.5 percent for halal tourism. Meanwhile, the number of Chinese tourists coming to Indonesia keeps increasing, in 2016 the number went up 27 percent to 1,452,971 people.
“In 2017, the government’s target number for Chinese tourists is 2,057,000 people. The Sales Mission is one of the programs that can help the tourism ministry in achieving its target,” Pitana added.
Out of the overall 2017 target of 15 million overseas tourists, the government is targeting that 20 percent of them are for halal tourism, this number is still small compared to the number of tourists for halal tourism in Thailand that has reached six million people and then followed by Malaysia with five million and Singapore with four million.
By 2019, the number is expected to reach a quarter of the overall target of 20 million overseas tourists. On average, the tourist spending for halal tourism is between $ 1,500 – 1,700 per capita per day, higher than the spending of regular tourists with $ 1,200 per capita per day. (asw)
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