Becoming ever-popular as a Muslim-friendly nation, Taiwan eyes to be the preferred travel destination for Middle East travellers.
In an effort to tap the Muslim market, Taiwan now has more than 150 restaurants, hotels, and other business operations that have obtained Halal certification. It’s a process where products, food, or services are made sure they follow “halal” standards, and it just goes to show that Taiwan is eyeing Middle East travellers.
An evidence of this tourism strategy is when the Taiwan Tourism Bureau (TTB) recently participated at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the largest travel industry fair in the Middle East held annually in Dubai. Headed by TTB’s director Dr Trust Lin, delegates from the country that were included were Lion Travel Service, Pro Tours Express, the Chinese Muslim Association, Xing Yuan Tea Farm and Big 5 Tours.
Lin was quoted: “To attract more Muslim tourists and to increase the visibility of Taiwan in the Muslim world, we are building a Muslim-friendly environment in Taiwan. The Bureau is working with Chinese Muslim Association (CMA, Taiwan) to issue certifications for restaurants that provide halal food, as well as hotels and central kitchens.”
“We are building a Muslim-friendly environment in Taiwan”
At Taiwan’s booth during the event, the band Liu Sheng Ji, mixed traditional music with modern elements. The group showcased their famous video Breakout which received 100,000 views on YouTube within 7 days. Calligraphy artist Ku Chi-chun, tea maker Liu Ching-yuan, and aluminium wire artist Teng Chia-Ming, were also present to engage with the visitors that came to the stand.
According to Dr Lin, the country has been dedicated to becoming a Muslim-friendly nation, and this can be attributed to the double-digit growth of tourists from Muslim countries. Among the fastest growing travellers from Muslim-majority countries, the United Arab Emirates comes first, with more than 20% growth.
“Our aim is to provide food and comfortable hotels for Muslim visitors. Our bureau also provides subsidies for the acquisition of halal certification by restaurants and hotels to encourage them to improve or renovate their facilities to fulfil Muslims needs. In order to make Muslim travellers feel more at ease, the Bureau is encouraging public transportation facilities and scenic spots to have prayer rooms and Islam-compliant toilets,” Lin added.
Aside from its appearance and efforts at the ATM, Taiwan held travel agent workshops in Muscat, Oman and in Dubai. The workshop in Dubai was attended by TAITRA (Taiwan External Trade Development Council) and Emirates Airlines also gave free economy class tickets to Taipei in both events.
In 2017, the number of tourists from the Middle East set a new high record. But the rise isn’t over just yet. The record number was soon followed by a double-digit, year-over-year growth of 13.64% just for the first couple of months this 2018.