When the 2019 Africa Halaal Week conference opened in Cape Town, Mayco member for Economic Opportunities James Vos made a point of telling delegates that the Cape Malay community makes up around a quarter of the population.
With its rich Muslim history, the Mother City is ideally positioned to capitalise on the Muslim travel market, which the MasterCard–CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index lists as one of the fastest-growing sectors of the global industry.
On Weekend Breakfast, Zain Johnson chats to founder and chief operating officer of CrescentRating, Fazal Bahardeen about the particular needs of the Muslim tourist.
He points out that it's not just about providing Halaal food as some tourism operators seem to think, although assuring Muslim visitors they can access the right food and prayer facilities is the first step.
Once you have taken away that worry about where to eat and where to pray they'll enjoy whatever the destination has to offer in terms of tourism products. Muslims are also looking for local Muslim experiences.— Fazal Bahardeen, Founder and CEO - CrescentRating
This is where Cape Town with its historic Bo Kaap has a lot to offer. Some residents already provide an "at home" experience where tourists can cook and enjoy a meal with a family. Bahardeen would like to see an expansion of this unique service.
Especially younger Muslims are looking for what they call authentic experiences— Fazal Bahardeen, Founder and CEO - CrescentRating
He singles out one particular mistake made by the hospitality industry, where restaurants proclaim they're "Halaal-friendly".
When it comes to food there is nothing called Halaal-friendly food - either it's Halaal or it's not. Of course services can be Halaal-friendly.— Fazal Bahardeen, Founder and CEO - CrescentRating
For more on the growing Muslim travel sector, listen to the conversation with Bahardeen below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Cape Town 'leading' growth in Muslim tourism market