Indonesian Halal Tourism Needs to be Developed: Observer

Jakarta, MINA – The application of halal tourism in Indonesia is still considered not good enough. An observer of Andalas University (Unand) Tourism Study Center, Sari Lenggogeni, sees that there are still many parties who misinterpret the concept of halal tourism.

“Many consider that halal tourism is fully Islamic tourism which is not segment-based, even though it is not so,” said Sari as quoted from Republika, on Wednesday, October 9.

Halal tourism is basically the same as tourism in general, which provides unique and interesting attractions for tourists. But what distinguishes it, halal tourism provides space for tourists to get access to worship and halal food more easily.

According to Sari, the use of term halal tourism in Indonesia actually reduces the market segment. So, it is not surprising that the growth of tourists from Middle Eastern countries in Malaysia is far greater than Indonesia, which is the country with the world’s largest Muslim community.

Sari emphasized that halal tourism does not mean that tourism must be prioritized. According to her, Indonesia must learn from Malaysia. Sari explained Muslim tourists in Malaysia can grow rapidly because the country provides tourist needs for Middle Eastern tourists.

“In the Bukit Bintang area, Malaysia, there are many Arab restaurants. They also make attractions that are fun for tourists. The point is that Arabic tourists still want to get leisure activities themselves, with worship facilities that are easily accessible,” explained Sari.

The main problem faced by Indonesia today is the weak destination management system. Most of Indonesia’s tourist destinations are still passive. Indonesia has not created attractions that can engage tourists emotionally.

Another problem is the use of incorrect terms. According to Sari, the term halal tourism in Indonesia makes segments other than Muslims feel uncomfortable. One example of this recently happened is the halal tourism polemic on Lake Toba and Bali.

Sari said that the mention of term halal tourism would be better if it was replaced with Muslim-friendly.

“Tourism should not rule out destination DNA. This misconception is a result of using the wrong terminology,” Sari said. (T/Sj)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)