Muslim tourists, among the world’s top spenders, tend to skip the Philippines due to the dire lack of halal options, prompting the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to push for more halal-friendly businesses.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, who chairs the Halal Export Development and Promotion Board, said in a statement on Monday that the Philippines had barely scratched the surface of the global halal market.
“There is big potential in halal in the sense that there are many tourists that skip visiting the Philippines because there are only a few places where they can eat,” he said.
Halal broadly refers to products that can be consumed by Muslims. To help determine what qualifies as halal, there are nine halal-certifying bodies in the Philippines that look into food, cosmetics and personal care items, as well as hotels and restaurants.
Lopez said he wants more certifying bodies so that more applicants can be accommodated.
The Philippines can not afford to keep losing out on the revenue potential from Muslim tourists.
This year, the global Muslim travel market is expected to reach $220 billion, which will eventually grow to $300 billion by 2026, according to the Global Muslim Travel Index 2018 by CrescentRating and Mastercard.
Lopez said entrepreneurs should change the way they see halal, and start looking at it as a lifestyle that everyone can adopt and enjoy.
He said Singapore was a good model for domestic promotion. Like the Philippines, only 10 percent of Singaporeans are Muslims, but there are many groceries selling halal products, he said.
“[The] DTI is promoting this because halal-certified food products connote positive attributes such as being clean, healthy, and pure,” Lopez said.
“We encourage more companies to apply for halal certification because it opens more markets, so more consumers can buy their products. Some local companies are already starting by certifying their canned tuna and corned beef products,” he added.
Interested entrepreneurs can get in touch with the DTI-Export Marketing Bureau’s Halal Section for assistance on halal certification, the DTI said. INQ