Miss Universe representatives from Bahrain and Pakistan have joined hands in a concerted campaign to promote halal travel in the Philippines, aligning with Manila’s vigorous endeavor to attract more visitors from the Middle East and Muslim-majority countries. In an era where tourism has become a cornerstone of the Philippine economy, with a pre-pandemic contribution of 13% to its GDP, this partnership seeks to play a pivotal role in realizing the country’s ambitious tourism targets for the year ahead. Amid the repositioning of Manila as a Muslim-friendly destination, the Philippines aims to tap into the flourishing halal tourism market, projected to reach a staggering $225 billion by 2028, showcasing its diverse natural beauty, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality to the world’s Muslim community.
Reviving Philippine Tourism
The Philippines, known for its stunning white sand beaches, vibrant cultural heritage, and diverse wildlife, has long relied on tourism as a vital economic contributor. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant downturn in this sector, with tourism’s share of the country’s GDP dropping from 13% in 2019 to just 5% in 2020 and 2021. To reinvigorate this industry, the Philippine government has strategically positioned Manila as a Muslim-friendly destination, a move that aligns with the global rise of halal tourism.
Halal Tourism’s Growing Importance
The halal travel market is projected to reach a staggering value of $225 billion by 2028, making it a lucrative sector for countries worldwide. In 2022, the Philippines government identified the Middle East and Muslim-majority nations as priority markets for boosting foreign arrivals. With more than 4 million visitors already welcomed in 2023, the country is well on its way to achieving its goal of hosting 4.8 million foreign tourists this year. The Philippines’ dedication to welcoming Muslim travelers was recently recognized with the Emerging Muslim-friendly Destination of the Year award.
Ambassadors of Halal Tourism
Miss Universe Bahrain, Lujane Yacoub, and Miss Universe Pakistan, Erica Robin, have taken on the role of ambassadors for halal tourism in the Philippines. Their visit to Manila coincides with their training for the Miss Universe 2023 competition in El Salvador. While in the Philippines, these accomplished women are committed to showcasing the country’s natural beauty, cultural richness, and warm hospitality to the global Muslim community, reinforcing the Philippines’ position as a welcoming and attractive destination.
Philippines’ Appeal to Muslim Travelers
Lujane Yacoub expressed her admiration for the Philippines’ incredible diversity and encouraged fellow Bahrainis and Muslims from around the world to explore its pristine beaches, renowned diving spots, and rich culture. Erica Robin described the Philippines as her second home, emphasizing the warmth of its people and the country’s boundless potential for exploration. Both Miss Universes are enthusiastic about their roles in promoting the Philippines as a must-visit destination for Muslim travelers.
Collaborative Efforts for Halal and Wellness Tourism
In an ongoing effort to promote halal and wellness tourism, the Department of Tourism, The Farm Resort, and Xpedition Middle East magazine have joined hands. Together, they aim to highlight the Philippines’ allure as a destination that caters to the needs and preferences of Muslim travelers, emphasizing the country’s commitment to providing an inclusive and welcoming experience for all.
With the support of Miss Universe ambassadors, the Philippines is making significant strides in positioning itself as a hub for halal travel, capitalizing on the potential of the global Muslim travel market. As the country continues to welcome visitors from the Middle East and Muslim-majority nations, its tourism sector is on track to rebound and thrive, contributing once again to the nation’s economic growth and development.