The global Muslim population reaches 1.6 billion people with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of more than US $ 7 trillion. The consumption of Muslim population reached US $ 1.8 trillion or 11.7% of the consumption of the world population, higher than China which reached 10.3%. While the consumption of the Indonesian Muslim population is only 12.4% or almost 1/8 of global Muslim consumption. The growth of the Muslim market is expected to reach US $ 2.6 trillion by 2020, or an average growth of 6.3% per year, while the growth of Muslim tourists is predicted to be even higher, at 9.1% per year. How tempting this market is for our tourism.
For Indonesia, our competitiveness regarding halal tourism (halal tourism) is indeed still inferior to Malaysia, Singapore or Thailand. The contribution to GDP is only around 9.6% and contributes to foreign exchange of US $ 11.9 billion, as well as our ranking on the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI), which is still below Malaysia which is ranked 1. The number of Muslim foreign tourists visiting Indonesia in the year 2015 only 2.2 million. Still inferior to Singapore (3.6 million), Malaysia (6.18 million) and Thailand (4.8 million).
Our target in 2019 is to bring 5 million Muslim tourists, 242 million Muslim tourists, and rank 1 GMTI. Halal tourism is an important portfolio for national tourism to reach the target of 20 million foreign tourists by capturing global Muslim tourists.
Moreover, our country is a country with the largest Muslim population in the world, by default we can say that tourism is halal tourism. We formed the Halal Tourism Development Acceleration Team chaired by Pak Riyanto Sofyan, who has spent many years in the halal industry, especially the hospitality sector.
In formulating a strategy to develop halal tourism, I see there are three opportunities that we must take. The first opportunity is our diverse and developed tourism attraction. We have three product portfolios or destinations that can be developed for halal tourism, which consist of cultural tourism, nature tourism, and man-made tourism.
Second, our Muslim-friendly amenities (hotels, cafes, restaurants, etc.) are also ready. As I said before, by default our country is definitely Muslim-friendly. In Japan or Thailand, in order to be Muslim-friendly they must specifically build mosques or prayer rooms. In Indonesia, mosques and prayer rooms are available everywhere to the villages. We don’t need to build again. Following the implementation of the Halal Product Guarantee Law in 2019, it is certain that halal awareness among tourism industry players will increase dramatically.
Third, there are opportunities for collaboration with multinational institutions or organizations to develop halal tourism infrastructure. Related to this, I believe that King Salman’s arrival will increasingly attract investors from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East to invest in tourism infrastructure in Indonesia.
To develop halal tourism in the country, we set 10 main halal tourism destinations consisting of Aceh, West Sumatra, Riau, DKI Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, DI Yogyakarta, East Java, Lombok / NTB, and South Sulawesi. However, for now we are still focused on five destinations, namely Aceh, West Sumatra, Lombok, DKI Jakarta, and West Java.
By looking at these opportunities and challenges, I formulated three main strategies to accelerate the development of halal tourism. What are they?
First, Global Leadership. For halal tourism, Indonesia should be the leader. For this reason, we have to be champions in every meeting or competition.
We have won 12 out of 16 award categories at the 2016 World Halal Tourism Award and 2016 International Travel Week in Abu Dhabi. Last year we also held a halal tourism competition with 14 categories contested and intended not only for destinations but also hotels, airports, and travel agencies.
We must also continue to improve our ranking in GMTI as a global standard in assessing halal tourism competitiveness. In 2014 our position is ranked 6th, I expect to be ranked 1st in 2019.
Second, the marketing strategy using the Destination, Origination, and Time (DOT) models that we have formulated. Which destinations do we want to offer, which originations / markets we will aim at, and when they will do what, we must formulate in detail. For promotional strategies, we use the Branding, Advertising and Selling (BAS) model. While for media strategies we use Paid, Owned, Social Media, and Endorser (POSE) models.
Third, Destination and Institutional Development. We develop and strengthen the competitiveness of attractions and products to further strengthen our country as the main halal tourism destination in the world. The programs carried out include the development of destinations and the halal tourism industry and increasing the capacity of industry players. Furthermore, we strengthen the halal tourism ecosystem by providing input for improvement and development to all tourism stakeholders, preparing training curricula for halal tourism human resources, and of course educating the public to be more concerned with halal tourism.
Dr. Ir. Arief Yahya, M.Sc.