Lonely Planet Writer

New Zealand launches halal food guide to encourage Muslim travellers to visit

New Zealand is hoping to attract more Muslim travellers with the release of a new halal food guide.

The Koran among food and lit candles.
The Koran among food and lit candles. Image by Mohammadesmaeil Shafazand / EyeEm

The comprehensive guide – made with the cooperation of the Kiwi Muslim Directory – covers certified halal outlets, Muslim-owned eateries and vegetarian restaurants. The outlets serve a wide range of cuisine, with a particular focus on the fresh seafood, cheese and lamb that New Zealand is known for. Travellers can also use the guide to scout out halal-certified grocery stores and takeaways. The guide aims “to give memorable experiences to Muslim travellers who visit New Zealand and to ensure that they will get the best experience in enjoying high quality foods in this country,” said Tourism New Zealand regional manager for South and Southeast Asia, Steven Dixon.

The new halal food guide wants to showcase the best in New Zealand food.
The new halal food guide wants to showcase the best in New Zealand food. Image by Tourism New Zealand

Halal tourism is a fast-growing area of the industry and covers more than just food. Some Muslim travellers are seeking out hotels that specifically cater to people of Islamic faith, with no-alcohol policies and separate swimming and spa facilities for men and women. A report by Thomson Reuters estimated that Muslim travellers spent US$142 billion in 2014, placing them third highest in the spending sector of global travel. New Zealand is not the first country to try and tap into the lucrative Muslim tourism market.

Earlier this year, Turkey announced plans to have 100 halal hotels by 2017. The second international halal tourism conference took place in June in Konya and named the city, the capital of Islamic tourism for 2016. Japan created a halal bento box earlier this year, while Russia has plans to open several halal hotels. Muslim travellers can also use the Salam Standard when choosing a holiday. It’s the world’s first online halal hotel referencing tool and includes information such as the availability of prayer mats, alcohol and halal-certified products. Meanwhile, sales of the ‘burkini’ have skyrocketed after 15 towns in France banned the swimwear aimed at Muslim women.