Marbella strengthens the focus on the Arab tourism by opening Spain’s first halal-certified hotel.
Halal is a term that is mentioned in the Qur’an, which means “allowed, healthy and beneficial”, the term includes both food and behavior. When Muslim tourists choose their holiday destination, they often choose places where they can have access to facilities that provide services that comply with Islamic law. The First International Congress on Tourism for halal tourism has just been held in Granada, where it has emerged that halal tourism until now is an uncovered sector for hoteliers and restaurateurs both in Spain and in other European countries.
Marbella has now become the pioneer in this branch of the tourism industry with its four star Alanda Hotel Marbella (formerly NH Alanda) as the first halal-certified hotel in Spain. The hotel was purchased a year ago by Saudi Arabian company Fawaz Al Hokair and is strategically located on the “Golden Mile” just 60 meters from the King Fahd Mosque (Mezquita del Rey Fahd).
The Halal Institute in Córdoba has handled the certification and there has been set very high standards for the hotel to be certified. It has been built a prayer room oriented towards Mecca, separate sections for men and women, but when it comes to bathing area it was impossible to solve practical matters to have separate men and women section so instead there are separate bathing times for men and women. Alcohol and pork are obvoiusly removed and the menus are tailored to the strict Muslim diet. All suppliers have to submit documentation for all the goods they supply, TV programs are limited in that they do not contain violent films or programs with erotic or pornographic content.
The Muslim guests receive a package on arrival which includes a prayer mat. Hotel Manager Fernando Portal argue that these changes have not had any negative impact on orders from other guests, where Brits are dominating. The Halal Institute calculates that the Islamic tourism only in Andalusia generates more than 300 million Euro per year.