The global Muslim friendly tourism market has been predicted to reach $243 billion in 2021 at an annual growth rate of 8.3 percent.
"More than 230 million Muslim tourists are expected to make domestic and international travels by 2026, and this activity is expected to inject $300 billion into the global economy," said Dr Cem Tintin, a senior researcher of the Statistical, Economic and Social Research Centre for Islamic Countries, in"Development of Muslim Friendly Tourism in Dhaka" seminar today.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Bangladesh Tourism Board jointly organised the seminar at a Dhaka hotel.
Bangladesh's tourism market has huge potential in Muslim friendly tourism, said Mahbub Ali, state minister for civil aviation and tourism, adding that Bangladesh has every element of Muslim friendly tourism, including Muslim friendly culture, food habit, and transportation.
Tourists need not hesitate to have foods in hotels in Muslim majority Bangladesh, said Mahbub.
Not only Muslim countries but non-Muslim countries like Australia, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and New Zealand have also focused on Muslim friendly tourism products and services, realising the importance of Muslim friendly tourism, said the state minister.
The government's metro rail project, being built for reducing traffic congestion in the city, would make it easier for tourists to visit the country in future, elaborated Mahbub.
Though the market has so much potential, there are so many challenges to developing Muslim friendly tourism, said speakers at the seminar, adding that national rules and regulations are still underdeveloped in many countries and there is no specific standards and certification on Muslim friendly tourism.
"Tour operator and guides, accommodation and visa issuing system should be developed in our country for further development of Muslim friendly tourism," said Md Anowar Hossain Bhuiyan, a researcher of Muslim friendly tourism and also an assistant professor of National University.
Bangladesh ranked 19th in the Global Muslim Travel Index 2019. The OIC also declared Dhaka as "OIC City of Tourism 2019."