Travel

Muslim tourism in Spain

captureMany Muslims from growing countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia pack their bags when the holidays come, to travel to numerous destinations. Unlike Western travelers, though planning trips are not always that straightforward. Upon choosing a destination, they need to seek out the halal certified hotels and resorts to suit their needs. They will require specific goods and services, in particular, menus with halal food.

According to data provided by the Institute for Tourism Studies in Spain, the country sees an annual influx of around two million Muslims. These tourists come mainly from countries whose primary population is Muslim and does not account for those Muslim travelers coming into the country from destinations such as France or China. Nevertheless, there has been an eighteen percent increase of Muslims visiting Spain over the last couple of years.

If one looks at the spending figures of tourists from different nationalities in Spain, one will notice the difference between spending habits of travelers from predominantly Muslim countries and those from other countries such as those in the West. The average expenditure of tourists from the Middle East and Southeast Asia exceeds that of Western tourists.

Spain, in particularly Andalusia, is one of the favored travel destinations among Muslims. Even though it is evident among the locals across Spain and especially Andalusia, that Muslim tourists frequent the area, the country has little to offer in the way of Halal products and services. The tourism industry should expand their Halal services to draw in more Muslim vacationers each year.

Spain does offer a great variety of food but often use pork in many of their recipes which are not suitable for Muslim tourists. Tourists can still enjoy the Spanish food, but have to select food which they consider to be Halal carefully. There are also not many Arab restaurants in Spain.

captureFor those who do not wish to interrupt their religious practice while on holiday, Spain is a Catholic country, and there are thus not many mosques for Muslims to pray. Spaniards are also not accustomed to seeing Muslims praying in the street and other public places.

Introducing Islamic tours between Spanish cities should see a considerable increase in Muslim tourism to Spain. For instance, the Alhambra Mosque lies to the west of Granada, and tourist operators could establish connections between the city and the mosque to do tours similar to pilgrimage trips.

The options are numerous, but only time will tell whether tourism in Spain will see a significant rise in Muslim tourists in time to come.