Kenya developing halal rules with eye on Muslim tourists

Kenya is developing halal standards for certification of hospitality facilities in a move targeting Muslims’ growing demand for leisure travel.
The Tourism Regulatory Authority (TRA) said the guidelines will benefit tourists who jet into the country from Islamic markets.

Leisure travel among Muslims is regarded as a fast growing segment of tourism in the world. In 2015, Kenya received 40,875 tourists from the United Arab Emirates, up from 24,828 the previous year.

TRA director-general Lagat Kipkorir said the standards were being developed in partnership with the Kenya Bureau Standards.

“We have already developed a detailed plan that entails drafting, stakeholder involvement, quality assurance preparations and training prior to roll out,” said Mr Kipkorir.

Muslim consumers have distinct demands based on age and nationality. Mr Kipkorir said the proposed guidelines are necessary to ensure halal catering, accommodation and conferencing services.

He said that consultation was underway to finalise the financing of the guidelines and standards formulation process. Already, Kenya is set to host a Halal International Conference later this year.

The process of developing the standards might take about six months, Mr Kipkorir said, adding that halal certification would take effect early next year.

TRA concluded the classification of hotels across the country last October with the goal of improving services offered to tourists by resorts, lodges and camps.

The agency is also working on standards for the entertainment industry aimed at improving service delivery to customers.

“We shall then present the minimum standard draft to entertainment investors and stakeholders around the country so that they can present their views to improve the proposed criteria,” he said.

TRA says it will involve the 47 county governments in the process of formulating of standards since they issue licences to entertainment service providers.

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