The Philippines has been awarded as the Emerging Muslim-friendly Destination of the Year at the prestigious Halal in Travel Global Summit 2023 on June 1 in Singapore, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco announced.
The Halal in Travel Global Summit 2023 recognizes destinations, organizations, companies, and individuals who have made a significant impact on the Muslim lifestyle travel segment.
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 foreseen to significantly propel 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 USD225 Billion by 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,” Secretary Frasco said.
According to Secretary Frasco, the Department of Tourism has focused on developing the country’s halal tourism portfolio ensuring, among others, its prioritization in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2023-2028.
The DOT has also implemented a wide range of services and amenities designed to cater to Muslim travelers. These include the conduct of a comprehensive inventory of Halal-certified dining options and the pursuit of increased Halal accreditations for tourism enterprises across the country, as well as the conduct of Halal Awareness Orientations with Tourism Stakeholders, and information dissemination with tourism enterprises on the values, beliefs, and practices of Muslim-travelers.
Recognizing global trends and preferences of Muslim travelers, Secretary Frasco said that the Department of Tourism has also continued to pursue its sustainable tourism development initiatives, and recently inked a significant agreement 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.
It will be recalled that early this year, the Department of Tourism organized the very first Mindanao Tourism Expo. This was followed by the successful MICECON in Davao jointly organized by the DOT, Tourism Promotions Board, and the private sector and City of Davao. Secretary Frasco also recently led the Mindanao Tourism Convergence held in Zamboanga City in collaboration with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of National Defense (DND).
Undersecretary Myra Paz Valderrosa-Abubakar accepted the award on behalf of the Department of Tourism and CrescentRating and HalalTrip, 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,” Undersecretary Abubakar said.