Referring to the 2019 Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) data, the number of Muslim tourists around the world in 2030 will amount to 320 million. It is a number that is quite tempting. Not surprisingly, Indonesia, as a Muslim-majority country, wants to take this opportunity to earn income from the tourism sector. The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy has been active in developing and promoting halal tourism, a few years back.
Moreover, several regions in Indonesia are already working on the concept of halal tourism, including West Sumatra. During this time, West Sumatra has indeed received an appreciation for stretching halal tourism that has long been carried by Ranah Minang. One proof is that West Sumatra has won two awards at 2016 The World Halal Tourism Award. Namely, the World Best Halal Destination and the World Best Halal Culinary Destination.
Deputy Governor of West Sumatra, Nasrul Abit, also wants to strengthen the role of West Sumatra as a leading province to become a halal tourist destination in Indonesia and the world. It is following the philosophy of West Sumatra, “adat basandi syarak, syarak basandi kitabullah“. So it is fundamental to work on the concept of halal tourism.
“Halal tourism is the future of West Sumatra. As an area that has a philosophy adat basandi syarak, syarak basandi kitabullah, or custom based on religions, religions based on Alquran, the concept of halal tourism permeated in the joints of the people of West Sumatra,” Nasrul Abit said.
Under Local Regulation
The application of the concept of halal tourism in West Sumatra will later be covered by local regulations that have been approved by the West Sumatra Provincial Parliament. Indeed, currently, it is still in the form of a local draft regulation (draft regulation). The plan will only be ratified as Halal Tourism Local Regulation in 2020.
Nasrul explained that halal tourism is not sharia tourism or tourism that is full of strict rules. However, halal tourism is a marketing strategy to attract tourist visits from various Muslim countries in the world.
Related to West Sumatra, facilities will be provided according to the needs of Muslims, such as a comfortable prayer place, a clean ablution place, to lodging or hotels that have qibla direction. Then provide halal and hygienic food. All facilities, except places of worship, are also the needs of all tourists.
In halal tourism, there are three ranks, namely: hilal 1, hilal 2, and hilal 3. It means that if West Sumatra carries halal tourism, not necessarily all facilities must be under Islamic sharia. Of course, there is room for diversity in this area. Besides, halal tourism also features friendly and polite service. Related to that, said Nasrul. Islam has arranged to glorify guests. Therefore, West Sumatra will make guests from anywhere feel comfortable.
The intended comfort, in addition to the facilities, also with the service. Tourism activists also asked to require their workers to be friendly, polite, and well-dressed. It must cover the genitals for women.
Nasrul said that West Sumatra had an attraction in the tourism sector. West Sumatra has complete destinations, ranging from nature tourism, historical tourism, cultural tourism, and others.
West Sumatra’s natural attractions are also varied. They are starting from the views of the beach, mountains, water tourism, geopark, historic caves, and many others. With the concept of halal tourism, tourists do not have to worry about their worship being left behind or carried out in uncomfortable conditions because West Sumatra will provide comfortable places of worship in every tourist destination.
Nasrul explained that the concept of halal tourism that would be processed by West Sumatra was not to categorize SARA differences. The sources will provide evidence that halal tourism is friendly for all circles because the concept of sharia does not preclude the convenience of non-Muslim tourists visiting Indonesia. Including to West Sumatra.
In conducting socialization and promotion, Nasrul also has his way so that tourists are interested in visiting West Sumatra. He wants to implement the storytelling strategy where West Sumatra will design a mechanism so that everyone knows that halal tourism is a readily accepted concept and will not burden anyone to visit.
Data from the West Sumatra Tourism Office said that every year foreign tourists visiting West Sumatra reach around 57 thousand people. This number considered to be minimal because foreign tourists visiting Indonesia every year are about 8 million people.
Of the 57 thousand who came to West Sumatra, around 70 percent of them came from neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. While Muslim tourists from the Middle East countries are still minimal.
According to Nasrul, it will become homework for West Sumatra. The regional government will try to intensify the promotion so that tourists from Middle Eastern countries, such as from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, and others, are interested in coming to West Sumatra.
“You can do this by inviting journalists, bloggers, and influencers from each country to review the wealth of halal tourism owned by West Sumatra,” Nasrul said.
If the concept of halal tourism has been running fully in West Sumatra, Nasrul is optimistic that it will have an impact on the economy of the community. Nasrul did not want the community to be passive in this matter. He will involve the community to be actively engaged. The public is also not too uncomfortable accepting tourists.
The most important thing, he said, in development, including tourism, is the economic impact that the region receives, especially people who are involved in MSME business, transportation, culinary, lodging, and others.
Source: Harian Republika