Press release – Italy is missing out on huge revenue opportunities presented by halal tourism, an academic study at the Turin Islamic Economic Forum has warned.
According to the study at the University of Turin, Italy has “no overall approach” to create an extensive halal hospitality network, which would entice Muslim travelers to the country.
Paolo Biancone and Silvana Secinaro, two lead researchers of the study found that Italy’s competitive capacity is “so low” that the country does not appear among the top 10 destinations in the Global Muslim Travel Index. In the international halal tourism market, Italy is placed well below Germany and France, and a few other European countries that significantly promoted halal tourism.
The pre-pandemic halal tourism market was estimated to be worth about $220 billion. The figure is expected to double rapidly due to the demographic increase of the middle class among Muslim countries.
Turin researchers said halal travelers numbered about 25 million in 2000. Halal tourism increased 600%, risen to 158 million worldwide in 2020. It is expected that by 2026, the value of Muslim traveler revenues will reach $300 billion. But Italy is almost completely cut off from the halal tourism margin.
“Italy boasts about 58.3 million tourists a year from all over the world. Being the country outstandingly rich in places and monuments that tell of centuries of encounters and fusion between Western and Muslim cultures, Italy should be among the first destinations of halal tourists,” Biancone said.
Instead, he added, “the country lacks an overall approach capable of creating an extensive hospitality network which takes into account the peculiarities of a tourism which has special needs, but is also usually high spending and qualified.”
His comments came at an Islamic Finance Forum organized in Turin between the local chamber of commerce and university.
The Turin University study said that Italy’s problem with halal hospitality “is first of all based on a cultural challenge and on a lack an understanding of its great opportunities, especially in the post-pandemic revival period.”
One issue facing Italian hotels in attracting Muslim tourists is the presence of alcoholic drinks in hotel minibars, but also the absence of copies of the Qur’an in rooms and a lack of prayer rooms.
A lack of alcohol-free cosmetic products and Arabic speaker hosts also presents problems for the Italian tourism industry.
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