Halal eatery guide pitched at Muslim tourists

By Ben Chapman-Smith

A slaughter-man at the Richmond Meat works in Te Aroha prays towards Mecca. Halal is meat which is prepared as prescribed by Muslim law. Photo / Greg Bowker
A slaughter-man at the Richmond Meat works in Te Aroha prays towards Mecca. Halal is meat which is prepared as prescribed by Muslim law. Photo / Greg Bowker

A new guide to halal restuarants and cafes in New Zealand is being sent offshore in an attempt to attract a bigger slice of the Muslim tourism market.

Tourism New Zealand and Christchurch International Airport have launched a culinary tourism guide to New Zealand, which focuses on meeting the needs of Halal travellers.

As well as general tourist information, the New Zealand Halal Guide includes a list of halal-classified restaurants and cafes, from halal-certified through to those which offer vegetarian dishes or vegan cuisine.

Eateries are split into two lists - North Island and South Island.

The move comes as Muslim tourists' expenditure is estimated to rise to more than 13 per cent of global tourism expenditure by 2020, said Tourism NZ's general manager of Asian markets Tony Everitt.

"The Muslim tourism market presents an enormous opportunity for the New Zealand industry, but Muslim travellers do have specific requirements, particularly in relation to food, space and facilities."

According to Islam, the concept of halal halal means 'what is permissible' or 'what is allowed'.

The term is often used in its reference to the correct slaughter of animals, but also encompasses areas sectors such as finance, non-food products and logistics.

"Tourism New Zealand is committed to further enhancing New Zealand's position as a visitor destination in emerging Halal markets and this guide is about supporting the delivery of a quality visitor experience for travellers once they are here," Everitt said.

Tourism NZ has identified Indonesia and Malaysia as two key growth markets and there were also Muslim tourism market opportunities for New Zealand in India and Singapore, he said.

Like other international visitors, Muslims come to New Zealand to experience things like the stunning scenery, said Christchurch Airport spokesperson Matthew Findlay.

"We know Muslim travellers want to experience the South Island.

"This guide also assures them they can find the food they prefer while they are here."

Findlay said Muslim tourist numbers were on the rise and cited figures from last month, which showed the number of Indonesian travellers were 141 per cent higher than August 2011.

The New Zealand Halal Guide will be distributed internationally to travel trade and their customers, New Zealand Embassies and other key offshore partners.

It will also be distributed to travel agents and consumers at key offshore events attended by Tourism New Zealand. An online version will be posted on Tourism New Zealand's consumer and trade websites.

Tourism New Zealand is currently running a series of workshops for the tourism industry to provide information and advice on how to meet the needs and expectations of the halal and Chinese markets.

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