THE Davao City Tourism Operations Office (DCTOO) is holding consultations with Muslim scholars and tourism industry player to craft guidelines towards making Davao City a Halal-Friendly Destination.
DCTOO chief Generose Tecson said she met with two alims in the city and some tourism industry players on Tuesday, November 12 to understand the concept of Halal and the things an establishment can do to accommodate Muslim customers.
“Naglevel off po kami para maintindihan ng tourism players ano ba yung halal. Nagkaroon kami ng usapan kung ano yung pwedeng gawin ng each sector para maging halal-friendly siya (We levelled off to help tourism players understand halal. We had a discussion what each sector can do to make their businesses halal-friendly),” she said in a press conference, Thursday.
She said some of the things establishments like hotels and shopping malls can provide for the Muslim customers could be a prayer area and mats, a place to wash their feet, bidets, a space for non-pork dishes, Qu’ran, and the identification of the qibla or the direction of the sacred shrine of the Kabah in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Tecson added the non-government organization (NGO) Mercy Islamic Foundation in Davao City has also offered to help them in listing the required Halal-friendly facilities in an establishment, locating the qibla, and providing them with Quran and prayer mats, among others.
She, however, clarified the initiative is different from certifying the city as a Halal Tourism Destination because it entails a long process.
She added that establishments who have followed the guidelines may also apply for a halal-certification.
“Marami na tayong establishments na may local halal-certification pero hindi ko pa siya masasabing halal-friendly until merong magsabi, from maybe the alims na yan okay yan (We have a lot of establishments with local halal certification but I cannot say it is already halal-friendly unless someone in authority like an alim say it is),” she said at the sidelines of the I-Speak forum.
She cited a barbeque restaurant along the airport bypass road which has a prayer area as a good example of a halal-friendly establishment.
She hoped the initiative will also encourage visitors from Muslim countries to come to the city.
“Halal-market is a very big market. We have the Doha flights and we know most of them are Moslems,” Tecson said.
She said they target to finalize the list this November.
On December or January, they will begin introducing the list with the tourism industry leaders and assess if it can be implemented in their business. If not, Tecson said they can consult the Muslim organization for alternatives.
Tecson said they hope to launch Davao City as Halal-Friendly Tourism Destination during the Araw ng Dabaw on March next year.