Thailand’ first halal hotel opens
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.