The second edition of the world’s biggest international halal tourism conference was held in Konya, Turkey between 3 – 5 May 2016.

Although we have announced earlier that Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu will open the conference, Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Mahir Unal made the opening.

Before the opening Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu and Dr. Bandar Fahad al Fehaid, President of Arab Tourism Organization of the Arab League came together and signed an agreement to boost business between Turkey and Arab countries. According to the agreement Arab Tourism Organization will open an office in Turkey. Mr. Cavusoglu said that Turkey expects to welcome at least 10 million tourists from Arab countries.

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Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Halal Tourism Conference 2016, Mahir Ünal, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, said, “We are delighted to host this conference on this historic day.

“As a Minister of Tourism I will continue to support this kind of tourism and our aim as a tourism destination is targeting 50 million tourists into the country.

“We would like to thank the delegates who have come to this event and how we can all grow together.”

Turkish Minister added that 7.6 million Muslim tourists visited Turkey in 2015, it represents a 30% growth compare to last year.

A recent study has revealed that in 2015 the estimated total Muslim visitor arrivals were 117 million representing close to 10% of the entire travel economy. This is forecasted to grow to 168 million visitors by 2020 and 11% of the market segment with a market value projected to exceed $200 billion.

Alongside the conference, a three-day exhibition promoted their businesses around the world.

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Delegates from over 30 countries with over 110 buyers attended the conference including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Croatia, Singapore , UK, USA, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa, Kuwait, Qatar including tourism boards, travel agencies, tour operators, hotels and airlines. This year’s event also featured from Hajj and Umrah providers, financial institutions and food and drink businesses.

htc-arabtourismorganizationGuest speakers at the event were Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of Crescentrating & HalalTrip, Zulkifly Md. Said, Director General of Islamic Tourism Centre, Riyanto Sofyan Chairman of the team for Accelerated Development of Halal Tourism, Indonesia, Irfan Onal, Director General, Ministry Of Culture and Tourism Promotion, Dr Khalid Al Rasheed, Arab Tourism Union, Rafi-Uddin Shikoh, CEO of Dinar Standard and Tariq Mahmood, Director and Founder of Andalucian Routes.

Topics and workshops that are discussed over the two days include Halal Tourism & Technology, Opportunities and trends within Muslim women and young travel market, The market opportunity for European destinations, How to meet the demands of the 21st Century Muslim traveler and Integrating travel and technology to deliver the ultimate Halal Friendly travel experience.