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Friday, 12 December 2008

Shariah-compliant hotels: Diversifying back to tradition

Shariah compliant hotels, one of the fastest growing hospitality segments is expected to boost the region’s revenue source over the coming years and during global economic turbulence. “Muslims, particularly GCC travellers represent a vital market segment. Not only are they one of the most lucrative, with over $12 billion spent on leisure travel alone, but they are also consciously-driven,” commented CEO, MKG Hospitality, Vanguelis Panayotis.

An increase in intra-regional travel and their growing purchasing power has created a significant demand for a product that reflects the lifestyle, culture, history and expectations of the region. This segment will prove to be crucial to the regions’ tourism industry over the coming years. “Shariah hotels however are not just a niche market for Middle Easterners. They can and should cater for other segments, such as Muslims living in Europe, the US, North Africa and Asia, as well as non-Islamic markets.

“MICE segments for instance can be attracted to a ‘dry’ concept, allowing participants to concentrate and thrive, or those seeking a more tranquil and healthy environment – a sort of detox – or of course families. There are also many non-Islamic markets seeking authentic Arabian hospitality, something only Shariah compliant hotels can truly offer,” added Panayotis.

Art, traditional food and other Islamic aesthetics have indeed become a core component of Shariah hotel products, encouraging cultural respect and producing an overall ambience. This has been the case with prominent groups, such as Almulla Hospitality, Shaza Hotels and Tamani Hotels & Suites from KM Group, all quickly seizing the opportunity. Meanwhile leading regional brand Rotana has also entered the Shariah segment with its launch of Rayhaan Hotels & Resorts.

According to Panayotis, you do not necessarily need existing demand to implement a new hotel product, but if you introduce a good product, then new demand will be stimulated or frustrated demand fulfilled.

“Shariah-compliant hotels will not only be feasible, but a key element to the regions’ rapid development. However, it is not just the concept, but the right market positioning that will endure,” concluded Panayotis.

(Travel daily news)

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is certainly room in the market for such hotel products, both in the Middle East region and perhaps even outside. Especially now, it is a concept that has pre-set client. It caters for islamic travellers and also people who want to experience this culture.

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