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Thailand’ first halal hotel opens

Profile Photo By: Steve Shellum
September 1, 2016

Thailand’ first halal hotel opens

Al Meroz hotel in BangkokPredominately Buddhist Thailand has opened its first halal hotel as hopes to attract more Muslim visitors and boost one of the few bright spots in its economy.

Nearly 30 million foreign tourists came to Thailand last year but only about 658,000 were from the Middle East, according to industry data.

The four-star Al Meroz hotel in Bangkok hopes to play its part in changing that, and to cash in. “There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. It’s a huge market,” the hotel’s general manager, Sanya Saengboon, told Reuters. “Just one percent of that market is enough for us to thrive.”

The Al Meroz, which features mosque-like architecture, has two prayer rooms and three halal dining halls. Rooms cost from 4,000 baht all the way up to 50,000 baht (US$116 to US$1,445) a night, said Sanya.

Eager to tap into a growing Muslim tourist market, Thailand launched a mobile application last year which helps tourists search for halal eateries and Muslim-friendly attractions.

Thailand saw a 10 percent increase in arrivals from the Middle East in 2015 compared with 2014, data from the Department of Tourism showed.

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