The World Islamic Travel Summit (WITS15), one of the largest showcase of Halal travel and tourism solutions, is to debut in Abu Dhabi city, the capital of the United Arab Emirates in October 19- 21, 2015 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). The multi-faceted event will include an exhibition with over 200 participants plus a 1,000-delegate conference, comprising keynote sessions, panel discussions, a Ministerial debate and 150 presentations from 70 international speakers. Organised under the theme ‘Driving The Halal Tourism Revolution,’ the event will bring together an array of international specialists, projects, suppliers and policy-makers.
Hosam Moustafa, events manager, WITS15 said, “The Halal tourism market is booming with analysts saying it now represents 13 per cent of the global market. A recent Muslim travel report, released by the consultancy DinarStandard and rating agency Crescent Rating, projects that until at least 2020, Muslim international tourism will increase faster than conventional tourism– 4.79 per cent versus 3.8 per cent. At that point, overall annual spending for international Muslim tourism is expected to reach US $192 billion and these figures don’t even include estimated Hajj and Umrah expenditures. The time is right for an event of this size and scope to address the needs of this vast international sector and Abu Dhabi, with its award-winning ADNEC and event facilities in the heart of this market, is an ideal venue and host.”
Sultan Al Dhaheri, acting executive director tourism, TCA Abu Dhabi said, “Many Muslim majority markets are now fast emerging economies, with higher than average population growth rates supported by a young demographic. Against this background, expenditure by Halal tourists is expected to rise more than six per cent per annum for the foreseeable future, which is almost double global industry growth. With Abu Dhabi now specifically targeting the Halal tourism sector with segment-specific accommodation and product, the staging of this event in the UAE capital will put the spotlight on our offering and ambitions.”
WITS15 is expected to draw high profile international attendance from government delegations, tourism associations, market-leading private sector operators and leading financiers funding Islamic tourism projects. “WITS15 is a major opportunity for tourism bodies, private tourism companies and professionals interested in developing business models in the Halal Travel space – perhaps the single most important meeting of the decade for this sector,” added Moustafa.
TCA Abu Dhabi has adopted a Halal Travel strategy which has seen it engage with some of the world’s largest segment operators including Serendipity of the UK and four Abu Dhabi hotels, namely the One-To-One The Village; the Ayla Hotel Al Ain, the Hala Arjaan by Rotana and Al Rawda Arjaan Hotel by Rotana in Abu Dhabi city are all now listed on halalbooking com. The authority believes Abu Dhabi’s traditions and product base will have great appeal with the Muslim traveller.
“We can meet specific Muslim demands on a number of fronts – halal f&b is one, another is specific segmented family product and specific product segmented for use by the different genders. We also have a number of high and medium quality alcohol-free hotels and segmented sessions for females at mainline attractions. Some of our operators are also realising the potential of the market – one example is Captain Tony’s dhow boat cruises, which offer ladies-only tours of the Corniche. Ladies only sessions are also available at our Yas Waterworld aqua park and on Wednesday nights at Yas Marina Circuit there is a whole evening of sports and activities training for ladies. A visit to our Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque would be an essential on any Halal tourism agenda,” explained Al Dhaheri.