Islamic Countries Tourism Chain (ICTC)
Today, development and promotion of tourism is becoming a global purpose. It has gone beyond the national schedules and has changed to a multinational schedule or even a regional one. Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (ICCIA), subordinate to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, took measures in holding Tourism Seminars to promote Tourism in Islamic Countries. Islamic Chamber Research & Information Center (ICRIC), with cooperation of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) embarked on an initiative to establish the link in the tourism services in OIC Member countries in order to develop the Muslim Quality Tourism Supply Chain through providing long term planning including conceptual framework, rationale, doctrine, strategy and implementation mechanisms for establishment of this multi-national chain.
Definition of Islamic tourism Comprise all marketing and product development efforts that are directed at Muslims, even without completely religious motivations (Henderson, 2010) Efforts that emphasize the significance of Muslim and non-Muslim tourists as new markets and destinations for tourism (Ala Hamarneh, 2011); In other words, such efforts try to promote tourism among Muslims, develop new tourism destinations, and strengthen inter-organization and inter- governmental cooperation in the Islamic World. Islamic tourism: a motivational perspective in a well-known quotation, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says, “Acts are rewarded based on their intents and motivations.
And everyone shall be rewarded based on what they intent to do” (Sahih- Al Bukhari, 2011). Therefore, Islamic tourism can serve as an activity which roots in Islamic motivations and principles. Such activities may include Hajj, Umrah, and so on. Other activities are those performed to give thanks to the merciful God whose greatness and generosity is observable everywhere.
Halal Tourism as a concept is composed of three elements: 1) Strengthening and promoting Islamic culture and values; 2) Creating economic advantages for Muslim societies; 3) Improving Islamic self esteem, identity and beliefs. Following the growing prominence of Halal food and Islamic finance, the global travel industry is slowly realizing the opportunity in addressing large and growing Muslim consumers with unique travel related needs
In Muslim-majority countries, specialized hotels are offering complete non-alcoholic environment, accessible prayer facilities, beach resorts with sections for covered women, as well as heritage-based tourism packages. All of this for a Muslim tourism market estimated to be $137 billion in 2012 (excluding Hajj and Ummrah) representing a significant 12.5 % of global expenditure.
Growth of the Muslim population and its increasing income has caused millions to increasingly take up travel for leisure, adventure and exploration. When Muslims travel however, they are also keen to observe their religious obligations such as daily prayers, modesty in clothing, cross-gender interactions and Halal food. Hajj and Umrah (pilgrimage to Makkah) as one of the five pillars of Islam has also inspired millions of Muslims to travel away from their homelands, not only for the pilgrimage, but to other destinations as well.
It is estimated that ihe global Muslim spending on tourism (outbound) to be $137 billion in 2012 (excluding Hajj and Ummrah). Total global spending during the same period is estimated to be $1,095 billion in 2012 making the Muslim tourism market to be 12.5 % of global expenditure and Muslim tourism expenditure is expected to grow to $181billion market by 2018.
However, the value can be much more if Muslim countries schedule a plan to join in a network and help each other to promote tourism attractions and improve their Halal services to tourists. Whereas, tourism is known as the most profitable industry in the world, Islamic countries should enjoy these inter-religious conditions and compete to boost their incomes.
A definition of Islamic tourism based on motivational perspective can be defined as traveling activities of Muslims when moving from one place to another or when residing at one place outside their place of normal residence for a period less than one year and to engage in activities with Islamic motivations. It should be noted that Islamic activities must be in accordance with generally accepted principles of Islam; i.e. Halal. Islamic tourism as a trade activity (Halal tourism) In the Islamic literature, the term “Halal” means religiously acceptable and refer to those things that can be used by Muslims (Diyanat Isleri Baskanlig, 2011).