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We look at the impact halal travel is having on Sub-Saharan Africa as a niche product offering 

Halal Travel 2016, a report commissioned by Amadeus, gives insights into the current needs and future expectations of this travel group whose importance is growing globally. Halal tourism is geared towards Muslim families who abide by rules of Islam. Antoine Medawar, Vice President Middle East and North Africa, at Amadeus, contextualized their importance “Halal travellers are a demographic that represents a powerful opportunity. This is a group of individuals and families that have certain unique requirements of their destinations and travel service offering. The Amadeus commissioned Halal Travel 2016 study uncovers some of the key areas that the industry can work with this segment on, as well as some of the additional offerings that will serve to enhance the customer’s travel experience, and thereby lead to higher spending”.

The below info graphic looks at the six key variables that impact decision making when it comes to Halal focused travellers.

Six key variables that impact decision making

Locally in Kenya this trend is not going unnoticed, both for in-bound travel and for local Kenyan residents wanting Halal focus trips abroad. 11% of the Kenyan population is Muslim, representing a vast opportunity to focus on a specialized travelling offering.

Taking note of this trend are two Kenya based travel agents with whom we sat down to find out more. Abdul Kader Bagha from ORYX Travel and Tours Limited and Salma Abdalla from Shimasy Travel, both are based in Mombasa and take us through their insights on this sector.

For Abdul, Halal tourism is a natural fit. Being a Muslim he solely wanted to sell packages that were Halal related. Whilst majority of his clients are also Muslim, he has begun to get requests and enquires from non-Muslim clients given his expertise in this market. Research shows that the Middle East is a popular destination for Halal travel, not only for the ease of dining but also for family-friendly activities. According to Salma Abdalla, this is backed up by the fact that majority of their destinations are Dubai, Abu Dhabi and even Qatar.

Amadeus MENA infographic 2016

And just how have Oryx Travel and Shimasy become well known for this service? Predominantly through word-of-mouth and referrals. They also actively market and advertise bespoke packages online and through their database, constantly striving to put together value-based offerings that they know will attract their audience.

Halal Travel Industry in Kenya

According to the Halal Travel 2016 report, Halal tourism numbers are expected to hit 150 million in traveller volumes and the collective travel spend is estimated to reach $200bn by 2020. Kenya is increasingly developing Halal standards for certification of hospitality facilities in a move that strategically targets demand for such travel. The Tourism Regulatory Authority (TRA) hopes that through such certifications, travellers from Islamic countries will increase. In 2015, Kenya received 40,875 tourists from the United Arab Emirates, up from 24,828 the previous year. Kenya is not alone in its offering, other African countries tapping into this segment include: South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Ghana and Tanzania. Abdul notes that in recent years the Kenyan market has developed tremendously not least because other travel agents and stakeholders are beginning to cater to Halal needs.

For more information on Halal Tourism, read more about the report.