Strategies for Attracting Muslim Tourists Without Obtaining Halal Certification

A case study of Takayama City in Japan

Authored by: Shuko Takeshita

The Routledge Handbook of Halal Hospitality and Islamic Tourism

Print publication date:  June  2019
Online publication date:  May  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138557055
eBook ISBN: 9781315150604
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315150604-15

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Abstract

In recent years, an increasing number of restaurants and accommodation in Japan have obtained halal certification to attract foreign Muslim tourists. Meanwhile, some scholars have cautioned against over-relying on halal certification and its commercialisation because this somehow removes halal from its original religious context. This chapter focuses on Takayama City in Gifu Prefecture as the first Japanese municipality trying to develop strategies to attract Muslim tourists without obtaining halal certification. Takayama is a castle town steeped in history and tradition, and a popular tourist destination visited by many foreigners. The owners of restaurants, accommodation, as well as city administrators have been making every effort to attract foreign Muslim tourists with two basic strategies. The first is to disclose all information on ingredients, and thus Muslims can make informed decisions as to whether a food item is halal or not. The second is to serve local Takayama cuisine that does not contain pork or alcohol. In this study, based on interviews with foreign Muslim tourists in Takayama, I analyse food issues they face while travelling in Japan. Moreover, I examine the actual conditions and effectiveness of strategies to attract foreign Muslim tourists short of obtaining halal certification.

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