Focus on the halal market

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

UAE capital Abu Dhabi was the hub for halal travel from 19 to 21 last month as the host city of the inaugural World Halal Travel Summit, attended by key decision-makers from some of the world’s top halal travel suppliers.

Halal (or Islam-abiding) travel, is one of the fastest-growing sectors in global tourism – one that is already worth $135 billion and set to double within the next five years. At the event, TCA Abu Dhabi’s acting director general, Jasem Al Darmaki, said, 'Abu Dhabi is placing itself at the heart of this market in the Gulf region, and is well placed to meet specific Muslim demands on a number of fronts including food and beverage, segmented family and gender-specific products and segmented sessions for females at mainline attractions, and is host to a number of high- and medium-quality dry hotels.

'We have already begun partnering with the world’s leading online accommodation booking platform and our local destination management companies are supporting international operators with halal products. Meanwhile, we are actively encouraging greater engagement with our expanding public and private sector tourism portfolio suppliers by encouraging investment in resources to support cultural, family-friendly and Muslim-compliant hotels, experiences and attractions.'

Saadiyat Island and Yas Island are well placed to feature in global halal travel packages, says Al Darmaki. Halal hotels, which do not serve alcohol, such as Al Aim’s Ayla Hotels, Al Manzel’s family-friendly furnished hotel apartments and UAE-based Vision Hotels make good halal options in the UAE.

Each property boasts alcohol-free facilities, dedicated dining areas and has set aside allocated timings for exclusive ladies-only activities.

Al Ain’s Al Bada Resort – a luxury complex of 60 exquisitely appointed chalets – boasts a range of 100 per cent halal-compliant facilities and a new Al Bada Spa, dedicated to female guests.

Meanwhile, two city centre properties City Seasons’s five-star Royal Rose Abu Dhabi and The Majlis Grand Mercure Residence also add to the halal portfolio of Abu Dhabi.

And Abu Dhabi’s destination management companies are gearing up for a bumper future in the sector as well.

Desert Adventures has been the preferred partner TCA Abu Dhabi on halal holidays and family-friendly packages since its official launch at ITB 2015.

'We offer tailor-made products and packages that cater for this specific segment of clients. Our participation at WHTS2015 will allow us to focus on its development and to provide support to international tour operators to feature Abu Dhabi during the exhibition,' says Virginie Michaud Desert Adventures’ business development manager. 


TDIC makes top hire

Al Marzooqi … at the helm of TDIC

Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), fully owned by TCA Abu Dhabi, announced the appointment of Sufian Hasan Al Marzooqi as the company’s chief executive officer.

“I am pleased to be given this opportunity to help guide TDIC during this exciting period, with distinctive projects currently underway, such as Louvre Abu Dhabi,” says Al Marzooqi. “I look forward to realising even more unique developments that will enhance TDIC’s portfolio while also raising Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a destination of choice in the UAE and beyond.”

Al Marzooqi holds a bachelor’s degree from the American University in Washington D.C. in Science and Technology Management, bringing with him experience in various fields as he held several key positions in Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.