Halal hotels in Turkey and the rules of their placement
75 Turkish specialized halal hotels work for tourists of all religions, who are ready at the same time to relax in accordance with Sharia
The market of Muslim (halal) tourism in Russia in recent years has been developing even more dynamically than traditional types of recreation. According to experts, the most popular destinations among Russian tourists for such a holiday now are the UAE, Malaysia and Turkey.
As for the most popular exit destination in Russia – Turkey, this country is strengthening its position in the Russian halal tourism market every year. Now, according to Menzat Ozgyur, a representative of the Turkish hosting company Tulpar Travel, the main flow of halal tourists from Russia to Turkey is generated by such Russian regions as Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, the republics of the North Caucasus and Crimea.
The first specialized halal hotel chains began to open in Turkey in the early 2000s and managed to occupy a solid share of the halal tourism market. According to Mr. Ozgyur’s calculations, about four hundred specialized halal accommodation facilities are currently represented in the EMEA region, 150 of which are located in Turkey – in Istanbul, Ankara, on the Antalya and Aegean coasts. Half of these 150 hotels accept only Muslims who adhere to strict Islamic rules. The remaining 75 hotels work, including for tourists of other religions, who are ready at the same time to relax in accordance with Sharia.
At the same time, a couple of years ago, according to Menzat Özgür, 80-90% of visitors to Turkish halal hotels were internal tourists (Turks), but today more than 60% of guests are foreign Muslims. The tourist flow from Russia in this segment has also revived, the expert says.
More than 85% of Russian halal tourists prefer regular flights with the appropriate choice of halal food
The increased interest of Russian Muslims in Turkey as a direction of halal tourism is facilitated by the active development of the entire hospitality industry in the Muslim travel sector. Indeed, by halal tourism we mean only accommodation in hotels that provide services in accordance with Islamic standards, and, in general, infrastructure adapted to the halal preferences of tourists. In Turkey, almost everywhere there are restaurants and cafes created specifically for the relaxation of Muslims who observe Islam. These restaurants and shops are rigorously tested to confirm that they provide services in accordance with Islamic standards.
But, despite the general trend of growing interest in halal tourism, in the sector of organized tourism in Russia, offers in this segment are limited. “According to my estimates, 99.9% of Russian tour operators specialize in developing this segment. As for Turkey, here the matter is complicated by the fact that almost exclusively large federal players work in this direction. These are highly respected and professional companies, but the specifics of their main business is to engage in the production of a serial, conveyor product, and halal tourism is still a niche and individual story, ”says Menzat Ozgur.
Today, Russian players in Turkey do not have package offers specifically for halal recreation, but the assortment includes those halal hotels in Turkey that accept Muslims and tourists of other religions. In this case, we are talking about a specialized halal tour product – tourists just book the hotels available in the reservation system of tour operators.
Partially, the needs for foreign halal vacations in Russia are covered by tour operators and travel agents. “If you need a hotel that is not in the range of tour operators, we will book a hotel separately and a flight separately,” says Alexan Mkrtchyan, director of the Pink Elephant travel agency network.
Meanwhile, due to the fact that information about the possibilities of organized halal tourism is poorly presented on the Russian market, most tourists who want to receive this type of vacation often turn to narrow-profile online services, or to specialized travel agencies in their cities, or directly to Turkish travel agencies (DMC) organizing halal tours.
Companies such as Tulpar Travel provide ground handling services, provide insurance, and help with booking airline tickets. At the same time, Turkish DMC, specializing in halal tourism, successfully cooperate with large local tour operators in countries adjacent to Russia – for example, in Kazakhstan.
According to Mr. Ozgur, in order to develop in this direction, the tour operator needs the appropriate resources. Ideally, for such a line of business, it is possible to create either separate departments or units within the VIP departments. Tourists who choose a halal vacation are very demanding: they need, for example, an individual transfer, more than 85% of Russian halal tourists prefer regular flights with the appropriate choice of halal food.