new Muslim Home Exchange site signals maturing halal tourism
Thinking of going on a holiday but don’t have as much money to spend?
If only you had a family member staying at the country you’re visiting. Wait; hang on. Who said you don’t?
Intending to put into practice the Qur’anic ayat that all Muslims are brothers, a new website called Muslim-HomeExchange.com was launched recently to enable fellow Muslims to swap and stay at each other’s homes for an agreed period of time for free.
The website allows fellow Muslims to swap and stay at each other’s homes for an agreed period of time for free.
Website founder Hadi Oudhini, a French Muslim studying tourism in Paris, decided to embark on this idea after witnessing first hand the problems faced by Muslims when renting apartments in other countries for holiday.
“I was working at a travel agency in Paris when a Muslim brother came looking for an apartment to rent for the summer in Spain,” explained Hadi.
“He requested for a villa with an enclosed swimming pool to enjoy it with his family; but when he got there, the swimming pool wasn’t really hidden. Despite paying 1,800 Euros for it, he obviously didn’t get the level of satisfaction he was looking for,” he said.
The episode triggered him to set up a service that allows the public, both Muslims and non Muslims, to swap their homes for an extended period for free or simply to rent out their spare bedrooms to visiting guests for a small fee.
Hadi said the prevailing financial crisis and credit crunch especially in Europe is actually a blessing in disguise as it presents a huge opportunity for local entrepreneurs such as himself to offer niche hospitality services and tour packages to the growing 1.8 billion Muslims spread across the globe, using a tried and tested method.
“The home exchange concept (see homeexchange.com) was first developed in the US over fifty years ago and today, there are numerous websites offering similar services, even for the Jewish and Christian population. So this is actually a natural evolution for the global Muslim community,” he added.
Similar developments within the Islamic tourism and travel industry have also been noted. Websites such as HalalTrip.com and CrescentRating.com, which list and rate hotels based on their offerings of Islamic amenities and services, have all been quick to capitalise from the burgeoning Halal dollar and the Muslim’s growing adherence to Islamic principles, even while on vacation.
With such niche services tailor-made specifically to a large segment of the world’s population and offered at such a low cost, it is no wonder that Tourism & Hospitality has been identified by Halal Media (http://halalmedia.my) as the Halal market’s second biggest segment after food.
“Halal or Islamic-based tourism segment is growing rapidly because demand is far outstripping supply, and by a huge margin too,” said Kamarul Aznam Kamaruzaman, managing editor of Halal Media.
“There is currently a dearth of credible and trustworthy providers of Halal or Islamic friendly hotels and accommodations, and the only way to overcome this is for the Muslims themselves to step up and seize this opportunity to offer their homes in exchange for a similar provision in the future. It just makes perfect sense,” he added. - Halal Media