Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

New halal food guide chases multi-billion dollar Muslim tourist market

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

New Zealand tourism bosses are chasing the multi-billion dollar Muslim tourist market by launching a halal food guide and pushing it in Southeast Asia.

The culinary tourism directory has been developed with the backing of the Kiwi Muslim Directory and Federation of the Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ).

It's been designed to provide general tourism information, along with a list of restaurants and cafes, from halal-certified through to those which offer vegetarian dishes or vegan cuisine.

It is currently being promoted in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, which have been identified as key growth markets by Tourism New Zealand

"New Zealand food goes way beyond fish and chips and barbeques - our chefs have developed a distinct Pacific Rim cuisine," said Steven Dixon, Tourism New Zealand's regional manager for South and South East Asia.

"We acknowledge how important access to information about suitable dining options is to the overall experience of our Muslim visitors and this guide demonstrates our commitment to further enhancing New Zealand's position as a visitor destination among this audience."

In the Islamic faith, 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 such as finance, non-food products and logistics.

Muslims are forecast to make up almost one in three of the world's population and halal tourism to be worth over $200 billion by 2025.

Additional air services to and from the United Arab Emirates and Qatar has made New Zealand "more accessible than ever" for travellers from the Middle East.

Hazim Arafeh, President of FIANZ, said the federation welcomed the chance to collaborate with Tourism New Zealand and Kiwi Muslim Directory on producing "such a valuable guide" for Muslim travellers.

"The Halal Food Guide provides greater reassurance to Muslim consumers and will therefore prove to be an invaluable source to Muslim tourists and business travellers to New Zealand," he said.

- NZ Herald

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