An  Enormous Global Market For Halal Tourism

Products And Services 

The most promising halal markets are the fast-growing economies of the Asia, Middle East, Europe and the Americas. With a growing consumer base, and increasing growth in many parts of the world, the industry is set to become a competitive force in world international trade. The halal industry has now expanded well beyond the food sector further widening the economic potentials for halal.

Based on the UN statistics, recorded yearly growth of Muslims is  at around 6.4%. Muslims presents a huge global market for halal products and services and since Muslims in general adhere strongly to religious principles and are increasingly particular and sensitive over the halalness of their life style, especially food, the prospect for halal market is enormous. Therefore, to tap into the vast opportunity which the halal industry presents, several aspects concerning the halal concept must be taken into account by all, including non-Muslim businessmen.

This market provides huge potential for companies, organizations and others, from the west and from Muslim countries, and is on a steep growth path. The global Muslim population is expected to grow by about 35 percent over the next 20 years, rising from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030, or 26.4 percent of the world’s total projected population of 8.3 billion. By 2050, the Muslim population could grow to 2.6 billion and represent nearly 30 percent of the global projected population.

Companies are coming to understand the great opportunity that the Muslim consumer represents. But addressing this market is not as straightforward as dealing with other billion population consumer markets such as India and China. For a start, the Muslim community is not a single homogeneous group. Muslims live in every country in the world, represent every race and come from every social and economic stratum. And although they share the common thread of their beliefs, they have their own cultural, regional or local nuances, preferences and practices.

Although Islam is often associated with the Arab world and the Middle East, this region is home to only 20% of the world’s Muslim population. This number is expected to grow by more than a third in the next two decades. Sub-Saharan Africa make up 15% of Muslims worldwide and is projected to grow by nearly 60% in the next two decades. About one-fifth of Muslims live in a country or region where they are the minority.

Although Muslims will remain a minority group in Europe and Americas, they will constitute a growing share of the total population.5 Europe’s Muslim community is expected to increase by nearly a third from 44.1 million in 2010 to 58.2 million in 2030. In the Americas the number of Muslims is expected to double during the same period.


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The diversity of the Muslim consumer can prove to be a challenge to those who view markets as geographies and for whom the concept of an Islamic consciousness operating across market frontiers is alien. Neither can the Muslim economy be as easily defined as other crossborder
markets such as the “green economy” or the “pink dollar”.

Economist Ben Simpfendorfer suggests that the strong cultural and historical links between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds are starting to come to the fore. He gives the example of China as a country that is addressing the Muslim opportunity. He cites the example of the city of Yiwu where an estimated 200,000 Arab nationals visit the Chinese coastal city every year because it boasts the largest wholesale consumer goods market in China. What sets Yiwu apart is that it has made commerce convenient, particularly for Muslim buyers from the Middle East and
beyond. Besides products that appeal to Muslim consumers, Yiwu’s success lies in an open arms approach that the Chinese government has shown to Muslim traders and consumers.

A prayer hall for nearly 10,000 worshippers has been constructed by the government, Halal food is easily available, while clerics appointed and subsidized by the government lead prayers – this at a time when governments in the west are questioning minarets on Mosques (Switzerland) or public prayer gatherings (France).(Fleishman Hillard Majlis 2011)

For brands that find ways to embrace and engage the Muslim consumer, the rewards are rich. And smart, compelling communications will play a critical role in targeting a consumer market that already represent  nearly a quarter of humanity.

Much has already been written about Islamic finance and the Halal opportunity, and in more depth than we cover. Our purpose in this post is to flag up the development of the opportunity, highlight where the greatest potential lies and analyze the communications and reputation issues that companies need to be aware of.

While the market has many facets and niche segments, understanding the umbrella term “Halal” is fundamental to approaching this market. The largest opportunity within the Halal market is undoubtedly food, which is also where the greatest challenge lies. Indeed, the term Halal has become synonymous, in some Muslim minority countries, with food and is almost universally associated with the ritual slaughter  of animals. This has narrowed the discourse around Halal, limiting the focus of many organisations and contributing to misunderstandings and reputational issues

Source: Adapted from various articles and MPRA Munich Personal RePEc Archive

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