Effort to lure more ASEAN Muslims

Staff Report

In line with government efforts to bring in more foreign tourists, the ASEAN-Japan Center will provide guidance on its website starting Monday to help the tourism industry be more accommodating for Muslims.

According to the center, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations market accounts for 600 million people and is growing, and most ASEAN member states have Muslim residents. The website will offer guidance to Japan’s travel companies, hotels and restaurants on how to provide suitable hospitality to Muslims.

To educate Japanese on Islamic culture, the center will keep the content simple but will provide important information such as the difference between “halal” and “haram” and directions to area mosques.

Also, by using its extensive network, the center will use the website to pass along opinions from Muslims about Japan, such as the desire for convenient prayer facilities and more free Wi-Fi in major cities to match the services offered in other parts of Asia.

“Although service for Muslims doesn’t have to be perfect, I would like Japanese people to offer a little attention to Muslims, like adding seasoning,” said Dananjaya Axioma, director of the center’s tourism and exchange division. “I hope this digital content will help promote understanding of Muslims.”

The move is a followup to a seminar in November on how to boost the number of Muslim tourists from ASEAN member states.