ISTANBUL – Catering to the growing global halal market, Turkey will launch its first Muslims-friendly cruise on the Aegean Sea next month for religiously observant travelers in the country.
“It will not be just a cruise which does not have alcohol or pork-related products. It will be a cultural and historical tour which promises an atmosphere of social networking,” Kemal Gunay, Fusion Tour general manager, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday, August 5.
The country’s fist halal cruise was announced by the Antalya-based Fusion Tour company on Tuesday as a new approach that aims at tapping into the $145 Billion worth global halal tourism sector.
Themed “On the track of the Ottomans,” the first halal cruise will sail to Greece without alcohol, pork-related products and gambling on board.
Adhering to Islamic Shari`ah, the cruise will include segregated sports centers, single-sex spa facilities, separate Turkish baths and prayer rooms.
“We don’t even have a painting on a wall of the ship which is against Islamic values,” Gokmen Aydinalp, tour project manager, claims organizers have thought of everything.
“Although the tour has been just announced, interest is quite high right now because there is a huge demand for this concept.”
Inspired by kosher-friendly and Catholic cruises internationally, the Muslim-friendly cruise will sail from Turkey’s Izmir on September 27 to the Greek islands of Rhodes and Crete along with the port city of Piraeus by October 2.
Experts believe that adopting the new tourism trend was attributed to overall progression of Turkey’s travelling culture since 2000 coupled with the effect of the economy’s development.
“It is a result of a wish by Turkey to do tourism in accordance with its own values, instead of copying what the West has done so far,” Oya Akgonenc, a professor at the Political Science and International Relations Department of Ankara-based Ufuk University takes, stated.