DAVAO CITY’S tourism sector is preparing a to-do list that will make hotels and restaurants “halal-friendly” — instead of the more complicated process of becoming halal-certified — to attract the Muslim market that can be flown in by Qatar Airways’ direct flights to Doha.
“These are lists of the things na puwede mong gawin para maging (that are doable to make us) halal-friendly,” Davao City Tourism Operation Office (DCTOO) head Generose D. Tecson told the media last week.
She cited as examples setting up a prayer area and signs for the Qibla or the direction to face during prayer, providing prayer mats, and a separate table and utensils in the kitchen that will not be used for pork.
“We hope to be able to come up with the list this month and start the orientation in December this year and January next year and maybe launch the city as a halal-friendly destination by Araw ng Davao (in March),” Ms. Tecson said.
She added that while halal is broad, the tourism industry can be made to understand its fundamental concepts as an integral part of the Islamic faith and take simple steps to cater to Muslim guests.
The DCTOO is getting assistance from the local Muslim scholars, the Mercy Islamic Foundation, and some private sector members for the halal-friendly program.
“Many do not understand the (halal) certification, so to simplify things, Mercy Foundation offered to help us… We want to be a halal-friendly destination,” Ms. Tecson said. — Maya M. Padillo