Philippines Earns Prestigious Recognition as Emerging Muslim-Friendly Destination of the Year

The Department of Tourism (DOT) proudly announces that the Philippines has been honored with the title of Emerging Muslim-friendly Destination of the Year at the esteemed Halal in Travel Global Summit 2023, held on June 1 in Singapore. Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco shared this momentous achievement, highlighting the country’s commitment to providing exceptional experiences for Muslim travelers.

The Halal in Travel Global Summit 2023 acknowledges destinations, organizations, companies, and individuals that have significantly contributed to the Muslim lifestyle travel segment. The Emerging Muslim-friendly Destination of the Year (non-OIC) award specifically recognizes destinations catering to the unique needs and preferences of Muslim travelers.

The Muslim travel market is anticipated to be a key driver of the tourism industry’s growth, with projections indicating Muslim traveler arrivals reaching 140 million in 2023. In the following years, this number could surge to 230 million, with estimated expenditures reaching USD 225 billion by 2028.

Tourism Secretary Frasco expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “This award is an affirmation of our collaborative efforts towards positioning the Philippines as a preferred destination for Muslim travelers. It opens up enormous opportunities for our country to introduce our rich and diverse culture and heritage, evident in our Muslim communities and immensely beautiful destinations, including Mindanao.”

Under the leadership of Secretary Frasco, the DOT has been diligently developing the country’s halal tourism portfolio, with a dedicated focus outlined in the National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2023-2028. The department has implemented various services and amenities to cater to Muslim travelers, including an inventory of Halal-certified dining options and increased Halal accreditations for tourism enterprises nationwide.

Recognizing global trends and preferences of Muslim travelers, the DOT has also pursued sustainable tourism development initiatives. Recently, the department entered into a significant agreement with Agora, a global health and wellness tourism leader, to position the Philippines as a provider of quality medical and wellness tourism offerings, especially targeting the Middle Eastern market.

Earlier this year, the DOT organized the inaugural Mindanao Tourism Expo, followed by the successful MICECON in Davao. Secretary Frasco also led the Mindanao Tourism Convergence in collaboration with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of National Defense (DND) in Zamboanga City.

Undersecretary Myra Paz Valderrosa-Abubakar accepted the award on behalf of the DOT and CrescentRating and HalalTrip, acknowledging the collective efforts of the Philippine government and tourism stakeholders. “We hope to continue the great stride on tourism promotion and economic boost in our country for our Muslim brothers and sisters who are arriving in the Philippines and who are surely welcome to visit and explore our more than 7,000 islands with majestic white sand beaches and warm people,” Undersecretary Abubakar remarked.

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