Tourism is one of the primary areas of concern for many economies. The tourist sector has recently adopted a new idea called Halal tourism, which offers new and exciting potential for economic development. Combining moral and religious values expands the reach of halal tourism beyond the 2.8 billion Muslim customers to non-Muslims worldwide. Today’s tourism is beginning to grow and expand, both conceptually and in terms of diversity and the most recent technological advancements. Halal tourism is the most recent innovation being discussed. Halal tourism may be a foreign concept to some. The OIC International Forum on Islamic Tourism in Jakarta, which declared the existence of tourism based on an Islamic idea but did not eradicate the element of uniqueness, marked the beginning of global halal tourism. First, a big number of Muslim visitors began flocking to popular tourist locations across the globe. There will be 160 million Muslim global travelers in 2020, according to Master Card’s 2019 Crescent Rating Travel Market Index (GMTI). In 2026, this growth will reach a total of USD 300 billion. Most tourist locations in Pakistan have implemented halal tourism, however not everyone is aware of or understands the idea. For this reason, Pakistan ranks #2 after Indonesia with 96.50% Muslim community as the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation by population size. As a result, it is evident that the presence of the Muslim population benefits almost every aspect of daily life, including the tourist industry.
Stakeholders in halal tourism are particularly concerned about this issue. Travel and tourism contributed 7.2% of Pakistan’s GDP in 2019 (as a percentage of GDP). Although the share of tourism in Pakistan’s GDP (as a percentage of GDP) has varied significantly in recent years, it has generally increased between 2000 and 2019, reaching 7.2 percent in 2019. However, by 2020, it had fallen precipitously. In part, this is due to the Covid-19 epidemic, which has swept through most of the globe. Pakistan has been concerned about the Covid-19 epidemic from the middle of 2020. That scenario has a profound effect on the way we live our lives. As a result of this epidemic, the travel and tourist industry has been particularly hard hit. At this point, no one knows when the epidemic will be over. Developing halal tourism has been made more difficult by the continuing Covid-19 outbreak. When compared to before the epidemic, the number of visitors has dropped substantially. The epidemic has had a negative effect on the tourist industry, according to managers and employees. In the same way, the government’s income stream is dwindling, resulting in a decrease in GDP. Tourism is an essential part of the global economy since it contributes to the creation of jobs and increases in national income. Many developing nations, like Pakistan, now rely heavily on tourism as a key source of export revenue and foreign currency profits. The notion of halal tourism is a possible opportunity and problem in the growth and development of halal tourism in Pakistan, particularly in the northern regions of Pakistan. Challenges, according to management, are things or items that compel people to work harder to enhance their problem-solving abilities. The government and tourism managers, in addition to external variables like the pandemic and tourist enthusiasts, might provide obstacles within the tourism industry. Halal tourism, one of the Halal industry’s components, covers a couple of the 17 SDGs and may help contribute to sustainability. It has now become a way of life for Muslim visitors, attracting non-Muslims as well. It is anticipated that Muslim expenditure on Halal travel would reach USD169 billion by 2022.
Challenges of Halal Tourism during Covid – 19
The current pandemic COVID-19 has resulted in global problems, economic and healthcare crises, and spillover effects on the global sectors, including tourism and travel, which is the primary contributor to the service industry globally. As one of the most severely impacted worldwide businesses by the COVID-19 tourist repercussions, the travel and tourism sector has been particularly heavily struck. More than half a trillion dollars in income was lost as a result of a sharp fall in leisure and domestic tourism, totaling $2.86 trillion. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) recommends that halal tourism puts a high value on convenience, such as halal food, worship facilities, and excellent management. Muslim travelers are the driving force behind the creation of halal tourism, which has grown in popularity over the years. Tourists, particularly Muslims, may enjoy themselves while still fulfilling their religious requirements with the help of halal tourism. The introduction of halal tourism has had its share of ups and downs. Internal and external variables both have a role in many problems.
We need a lot more work on this so that it can continue to function even under extreme situations, like as the current Covid-19 outbreak. For the sake of the epidemic, all international flights were halted by all nations (save for commercial airlines, like Egypt). All of the countries that provide Halal tourism have put a halt to air travel (including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Malaysia, etc.). All Halal tourist sites suffered considerable direct and indirect losses as a result of the stoppage of incoming and outgoing flights. For both Halal travel firms and the whole tourist sector, such losses will have a devastating effect.
Strategies to Increase Halal Tourism During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 epidemic has had long-term social, psychological, socio-economic, and cultural impacts on tourist stakeholders. The epidemic has created a ‘abundant’ new context for tourism academics and researchers to undertake study. However, the COVID-19 tourist impact surveys must disregard or abandon existing tourism and travel industry approaches. The COVID-19 impacts on different geographic organizations and stakeholders must be studied simultaneously via feasibility studies, tourist demand predictions, and best practices. They theoretically give limited scope for improving crisis management knowledge and enhancing the function and bounds of tourist science and business. The goal of this effort is to inspire scholars to use the COVID-19 to rethink and rebuild their research techniques for tourism development and research. Thus, it seeks to develop methodologies and goals to inspire and measure tourism studies’ purpose, function, and impact. Crises spur new technology development and adoption. These are not inescapable, unchallengeable, or impossible to re-form and re-calibrate to individual demands and standards. Scientists must be satisfied that COVID-19 tourist research can ensure final outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic has a substantial influence on tourist companies (intermediaries, transportation planners, and accommodation or attraction providers) dependent on industry features including size, venue, management, and governance. Similarly, the diverse repercussions of the COVID-19 are foreseen and crucial for debate in certain market sectors. COVID-19 tourism research may uncover pandemic forces. Due to the context variations, enhanced predictive skills may be used to anticipate or test any particular suggestions on finding any inconsistencies and weaknesses in distinct tourist stakeholder groups. The recent COVID-19 cases and challenges have compounded the situation for travel stakeholders. As COVID-19 is intended to retain and improve present ideas and models, small commercial hotels are at danger of losing their property holdings. This is due to the prolonged recession and increased travel expenses. Regular governance, recruiting, leadership, and promotion chances fail to engage and keep individuals who have altered their ideals and principles.
Economic implications of tourism on education have increased. It has hampered global employment generation potential. Students must also cope with training disruptions, recruiting, and fluctuating career chances due to virtual learning and teaching. Academic institutions and tourism programmes are facing declining new student enrolment, marketing and government backing, and research funding. Tourism academics should investigate new ways to measure organizational distance, taking into consideration the mental health and privacy concerns of COVID-19 stakeholders. Similarly, designing and executing more “sustainable,” adaptive, and flexible tourist education techniques, and developing students with transferable and practical abilities in other business sectors, must be investigated. Also, additional COVID-19-related topics need research. Since the 2008 economic crisis, tourism has boosted social entrepreneurship. COVID-19 enables tourist social programmes to create social impact, solve COVID-19 social issues, and aid people in need. Growing social tourism businesses in COVID-19 present several chances to use and comprehend this idea in new biological, stakeholder, and environmental contexts.
The bet should now be on “better, more pleasant travel, individualized service, while keeping cheap costs.” Hotel improvements, better employee quality, tour group sales and client registration, and digital technologies should be considered by the tourist business. Special emphasis should be given to family entertainment: children’s and teen programmes, meals, and entertainment systems. Tourism must first offer high-quality sanitary measures to prevent future pandemics. To protect personnel, guests, and disinfectants, hotels may need masks and gloves. Restaurants should serve clients in shifts to minimize congestion. To preserve social distance, the beach might be split into blocks. Moreover, scientists, governments, and the tourist business should collaborate to improve tourism. To make their ideas more sustainable, travel businesses and their partners in each area may start now. It’s time to reinvent the tourist business and its offerings. Review the efforts to avoid desertion, especially following the corona-virus epidemic from mass tourism. Specifically, the report suggests that the Government establish a big programmes with specific suggestions to promote tourism.
The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy has split the plan into three phases: Stage 1: The government gives cash to the Covid-19 catastrophe mitigation initiative. Develop tourist crisis management procedures and tactics that are integrated with Covid-19 crisis management and the activation of the Tourism Crisis Center (TCC). Destinations, industry, institutions, and marketing are also preparing for Phase 2. The government helps tourism sites enhance facilities, tourist attractions, and IMTI standard accessibility. Second, promote investment-friendly policies and halal tourism. Prioritize tourism in national, regional and international recovery efforts as well as in national development assistance. In order to control cash flow in the tourism sector, it is necessary to restructure costs. A tourism company might be regarded alive or bankrupt even if it is losing money. A partnership framework for tourist players must also be created to help tourism cope with financial constraints. Activating Promotions is the objective of Phase 3, also known as the Normalization Phase (Paid Media, Owned Media, social media, Endorser). Promote your business through publishing, branding, and participating in Muslim-friendly tourism activities. In the aftermath of Covid 19, the area needs a tourism and creative economy strategy. This Covid – 19 procedure is necessary for tourism players and visitors to follow to avoid Corona virus transmission.
Some of the protocol recommendations include:
- Body temperature checks for workers and visitors
- Setting the working time to a normalize framework
- The third shift period should be abolished. If the third shift is required, then the task should be handed over to under 40 years old workers.
- Additional supplements should be provide to employees, such as vitamin c
- Use of masks for both employees and visitors should be mandatory
- Areas should be clean every four hours, including toilets and prayer rooms