PHNOM PENH, 17 June 2016: Cambodia will issue a draft sub-decree on halal food certification to attract more Muslim tourists and investors.
Khmer Times quoted Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak saying the ministry was in last stages of finalising a sub-decree, which would then be presented to the Council of Ministers for approval.
The halal food certification sub-decree has been under study for some time, according to Sos Mou Sine, vice president of the Cambodia Muslim Development Foundation.
According to the Ministry of Tourism’s Statistics and Information Department, the number of tourists from Middle East reached 7,144 in the first four months of this year, up 24.5% from 5,738 visits during the same period last year.
Although very small, when compared to other markets, the flow of tourists from Middle East could grow considerably over the few years, depending on the introduction of new direct flights to Phnom Penh. The lack of Halal food is also a drawback.
Currently, only Doha-based, Qatar Airways, flies direct to Cambodia.
Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation spokesman, Sinn Chan Sereyvutha, noted that Cambodia has entered into aviation agreements with Turkey and Dubai.
According to findings from MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2016, the global Muslim travel market was worth USD150 billion in 2015 and is projected to grow to USD220 billion by 2020.
The study also revealed that in 2015, worldwide, there was an estimated 117 million Muslim visitor arrivals, representing close to 10% of the entire travel market. This is forecasted to grow to 168 million visitors by 2020.