Halal tourism in Croatia
Over the years tourism has imposed itself as the most important branch of the economy, but in order to keep it that way, it is very important to keep pace with the world’s trends and offer each guest what they need to feel in our country as relaxed as they would at home. Halal tourism is definitely among them.
It is a relatively new form of tourist offer, and it means that two main aspects are provided to Islamic tourists: the consumption of halal food in catering facilities, and the condition for the proper performance of religious rites in accordance with standards. The word “halal” itself in Arabic language means pure or permitted, and indicates all things and actions in Islam that according to the Islamic law are permitted.
The concept of halal tourism was created six years ago, and given its rapid growth, it could soon become the most resistant form of tourism, and it is necessary that numerous countries adapt their services to guests who mainly come from the Persian Gulf countries, the Middle East, and North Africa. This year Croatia reached the 40 percent growth in number of tourists from these countries, which speaks in favour of the importance for the catering and hotel industry to recognise the relevance of widening the offer when halal tourism is concerned, so that all guests that visit our country can enjoy all what it offers as much as possible, without neglecting their religious beliefs, commitments, and habits. Basically, this involves special halal food that cannot be mixed with other food, which means it is necessary to use special knives, pots, pans, boards, and other accessories for the preparation of food. Hotel rooms should have a prayer rug and the Quran, and minibars should not contain any alcoholic beverages.
However, halal tourism has the perspective to offer much more than just the classic offer. So in addition to wellness tourism, where it is necessary to use special cosmetics that meet the requirements of certification, health tourism is very interesting, that is slowly but firmly opening towards the eastern market. Since the price - quality ratio of health services in Croatia is extremely competitive if compared to many other developed countries, an increasing number of guests come to our country for healthcare services or various aesthetic surgery or corrections. When it concerns the branch of halal tourism, it is also very important to take into consideration the specific diet, as well as the possibility to separate female and male patients, while the congress halal tourism is in its beginnings, and it is estimated that in the following five years it will grow rapidly.
The halal food offer is reaching enviable levels from month to month. Numerous restaurants have ensured the halal certificate for a long time, and numerous factories, especially those producing confectionery, also include in their offer more than 100 products that satisfy the requirements of the halal certificate.
Throughout the country 21 hotels can boast the halal certificate, as well as seven tourist agencies, and the number is growing from month to month in order to make every tourist who visits our country feel comfortable.
In order to obtain the certificate, it is necessary to harmonise its production with the requirements of the halal standard that sets the requirements and measures that have to be taken in order to ensure halal quality. The standard determines what is allowed, and what is forbidden according to Islamic law, how the slaughter of halal animals is carried out, how to mark halal products, which additives are halal and which are not, and how the compliance with the provisions of the standard is certified and checked.
Halal tourism is certainly something that should not be neglected, and the fact that in November of last year the town of Opatija hosted World Halal Day shows that Croatia is keeping pace with other world destinations. This international congress was held on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of institutional recognition of Islam in the Republic of Croatia, organised by the Centre for Halal Quality Certification, the only authorised institution of the Islamic community in Croatia for the certification of products and services (www.halal.hr) that initiated the project of developing halal tourism and the promotion of the Republic of Croatia as a new halal friendly destination.
Numerous caterers, hotels, and tourism services providers in general in Croatia have recognised the value of this type of tourism and have added the halal standard to their applied quality systems. Halal certificate holders in Croatia are listed on the following link: http://halal.hr/pruzatelji-usluga