On Gili Trawangan, an islet off the coast of Indonesia’s verdant Lombok island, tanned and pinkish Westerners in bathing suits unite in the similar restaurant as a bureau of hijab-wearing women from Malaysia on a corporate retreat. There is a large mosque just off the main road whose last call to prayer at night can be heard through the emphasis of living stimulate reggae bands.
Tourists flock to Indonesia from every higher than the international to enjoy its beaches, wildlife and pedigree sites. But many are coming for religious reasons, too. In 2015, Lombok, whose population is 90 percent Muslim, was dubbed the “world’s best halal tourism destination” at an annual Muslim travel industry event in Dubai. The island which has long been overshadowed by glamorous, Hindu-majority Bali, just a 30-minute flight to the west eagerly seized on the distinction as a unique touristic selling point.
“We don’t have to be the ‘Muslim Bali,'” Muhammad Adi Farchan, a halal tour operator, said in the coastal Lombok town of Senggigi. “We are just Muslim Lombok! Muslim paradise.”
If the phrase “halal tourism” which came into vogue more or less a decade ago seems neologistic, it’s yet at the cusp of an emerging trend in the travel industry: holidays that don’t merely accommodate religious Muslims, but actively cater to them. A term most commonly used to describe food provenance, “halal” more broadly means religiously acceptable per Muslim law.
As the world’s largest Muslim country, Indonesia has pinned hopes on the halal make public to move forward its $13 billion tourism industry, which lags at the back those of neighbors subsequent to Thailand and Singapore. Lombok is in West Nusa Tenggara province, which is one of three government-designated “priority” halal destinations, along subsequent to West Sumatra and Aceh. Jakarta’s deputy superintendent Sandiaga Uno has expressed incorporation in developing a “sharia tourism zone” in the nation’s capital, and recently announced that the city would build “sharia-based” hotels.
About 2.7 million tourists visited halal destinations in Indonesia in 2016, according to a Tourism Ministry spokesperson, out of more or less 12 million foreign tourists in total. The greatest increase was seen in Lombok, which the ministry credits to halal tourism.
Lombok welcomed more or less 3 million foreign and domestic tourists last year. on this island, approximately every the food fish satay, chicken smeared subsequent to eponymous Lombok chili sambal is already halal, and you’re never more than five minutes from a mosque. approximately every hotel, restaurant and seashore club has a musholla, or prayer room. And previously the island’s population is mostly Muslim, the odds are that a tour lead for any commotion from trekking the volcanic Mount Rinjani to diving subsequent to sea turtles can accommodate religious considerations.
An exhibitor offers received Arabic coffee to a visitor during the inauguration daylight of the 2015 World Halal Travel summit in Abu Dhabi, associated Arab Emirates. Halal tourism is growing as the hospitality industry seeks ways to improved sustain Muslim travelers, from providing alcohol-free venues to swimming areas that are segregated by gender.