(AhlulBayt News Agency) - As the South Korean hotel industry has been directly hit by the steep decline in the number of Chinese tourists due to China’s retaliation over the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, five-star hotels have been recently making every effort to attract 1.7 billion Muslims around the world.
South Korean hotels are competitively introducing customized services for tourists. Recently, five-star hotels are acquiring the "Muslim Friendly” certification which was introduced by the KTO. There are four stages of the Muslim friendly restaurant classification system. When restaurants sell dishes using Halal certified food ingredients on a regular basis, they can obtain the Muslim Friendly certification.
According to hotel industry sources on August 6, the number of Muslim tourists who visit South Korea is increasing rapidly. The data from the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) shows that the number of Muslim tourists stood at 980,000 last year, up 33 percent from the previous year, and is expected to reach 1.2 million this year.
Lotte Hotel Seoul, which is located in Sogong-dong, Seoul, saw the number of guests who are from Middle East surge 40 percent this year from a year earlier. The Plaza also said the number of Muslim guests increased nearly 20 percent this year, accounting for 10 percent of the total guests.
Sheraton Seoul D Cube City Hotel’s signature restaurant, Feast, also obtained the Muslim Friendly certification last month. In addition, Grand Hilton Seoul Hotel's buffet restaurant and Atrium Café received the certification last month. Sheraton provides the Quran, prayer mat, compass and Tasbih to help Muslim guests have religious rituals at anytime and anywhere.