76% of MENASA residents would pay more for Halal holidays and the UAE is their destination of choice
October 19th, 2015, YouGov

76% of MENASA residents would pay more for Halal holidays and the UAE is their destination of choice

Halal tourism is geared towards Muslim families where leisure destinations offer holidays in accordance with Islamic beliefs and practices. Despite relatively low awareness of the Halal holiday concept (only 29% across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia), when prompted, three quarters of respondents claim it is important for their leisure destination to offer a Halal holiday, with 51% claiming it is ‘extremely important’.

According to the YouGov Travel Oracle, of those that are aware of the concept of Halal tourism, respondents in Tunisia were the most likely to be aware (54%). Those respondents residing in Iraq were the least likely to be aware (15%).

The research, which interviewed 22,868 respondents online from across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia about their attitudes to Halal tourism, also reveals just over three-quarters of respondents who are interested in the concept would pay more for a Halal holiday than a standard holiday that doesn’t accommodate religious considerations. Residents from Yemen are the most willing to pay more (81%), followed by Algeria, Pakistan (both 80%) and Sudan (79%).

The popularity of the concept amongst a population that is largely unaware exposes the essentially un-tapped market for travel destinations accommodating people’s religious beliefs. Those most in favor of Halal holidays and who claimed it was 'extremely important' to them included respondents in Algeria (73%), Sudan (65%) and Yemen (64%). The concept was least important among those residing in Lebanon, 34% of whom claimed it was 'extremely unimportant'.

Currently, of those respondents interested in Halal holidays, the largest proportion claim the country they most closely associate with the concept is Saudi Arabia, however interestingly when asked which country they would be most interested to see develop Halal holiday destinations, the largest proportion chose the UAE - making it the number one destination of choice for the development of Halal holidays across the region, followed by Saudi Arabia.

When considering the most important features of a Halal holiday, 64% of respondents claim that prayer spaces are the most essential attribute. The provision of Halal food was the second most essential attribute according to 63% of respondents, followed by being alcohol-free (51%). Modestly dressed staff and women-only swimming pools were also highly important according to 35% and 31% of respondents respectively.

With such a high proportion of the sample demonstrating their attraction to the concept of Halal tourism, and only 29% aware of it, this data demonstrates the outstanding potential of religious-focused holidays in travel destinations looking to appeal to consumers right on their doorstep. The fact that many see the UAE as a destination of choice for Halal holidays and a large majority are willing to dig deeper into their pockets to experience them shows the commercial potential that could be unlocked by focusing on providing Halal-friendly offerings.

Research conducted online by the YouGov Travel Oracle among 22,868 respondents in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, between 27th September and 14th October 2015. Data is broadly representative of the adult urban online population in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.