Cape Town Time:


Building a Muslim-friendly Cape Town

23 December 2019

Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato and the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities, Alderman James Vos, recently embarked on an official visit to Dubai.

The reason for the visit was to sign a City Agreement with Dubai Municipality aimed at promoting travel and trade benefits for Cape Town.

The delegation also used the opportunity to meet with numerous stakeholders such as Emirates Airlines and Tourism agencies. The meeting with the airlines company was to discuss the possibility of increasing the number of flights between Dubai and Cape Town.

The delegation also shared the City’s Muslim Friendly Tourism Strategy with the outbound tour operators to position Cape Town as a preferred destination.

“By 2026, the Halal travel sector’s contribution to the global economy is expected to jump 35% to US$300 billion, up from US$220 billion in 2020,” said Alderman Vos.

“As a world class City, we pride ourselves on being a forward-looking and inclusive city. The Muslim culture is part of Cape Town’s DNA, and we have a rich and intervoven heritage with Cape Malay Muslims accounting for almost a quarter of Cape Town’s population.”

Through the City's destination marketing agency, Cape Town Tourism (CTT), we are implementing numerous strategies to attract this growing market segment. CTT has partnered with the Crescent Rating, known as the world's leading authority on Halal travel. The organisation’s unique rating and accreditation service is globally recognised as a premier independent standard for the Muslim travel market.

Alderman Vos added that through Cape Town Tourism, the City recently conducted sector research to understand the current status of the service and facilities offered by travel and tourism players in Cape Town targeting the Muslim traveller.

“What we discovered was that most respondents do not have a clear understanding of this market segment,” said Alderman Vos. “We also found a notable confusion about Halal food and the non-permissible use of the term ‘Halal-friendly food’. We then published the Halal Tourism Basic Guidelines and Glossary, which holds all the relevant terms and basic guidelines in one place.

“Additionally, we will continue to educate local stakeholders about the Muslim travel market and the needs of the Muslim traveller, in collaboration with the Crescent Rating to increase awareness and competencies.”

Cape Town Tourism has established the first-ever Chef Exchange Programme in partnership with Crescent Rating to train chefs on Halal gourmet cuisine.

Said Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism: “Every year, we monitor where our visitors come from and the growth or decline in those patterns; what we have realised is that while key source markets exist, the opportunities for growth can come from outside those markets, which is why an initiative such as encouraging Muslim-friendly tourism holds such potential to boost our tourism economy. The drive to attract the Muslim visitor is part of a larger marketing strategy that’s designed to ensure that, in all aspects of tourism, Cape Town can hold its own as a competitive player on the world stage.”

So what can we look forward to in the future?

The City will roll out a Muslim-friendly rating drive to increase the number of Muslim-friendly products, especially in the Hotel and Restaurant sector and publish a Cape Town Muslim-friendly Visitors Guide. The guide will create visitor comfort and ease of travelling, which will make the trip planning phase easier for those looking for a Muslim-friendly travel experience in our city.

The main purpose for implementing these strategies is to achieve growth in tourism arrivals from our key source markets. The hospitality industry forms the backbone of Cape Town’s economy accounting for thousands of jobs. We are always looking for new and exciting ways to promote tourism that will drive demand and make business sense. It’s all about the economic opportunities.

“As the largest metropole in the Western Cape, we pride ourselves on being the go-to-city in Africa and globally for tourism and business opportunities,” said Alderman Vos.