Jakarta (ANTARA) - Bank Indonesia (BI) has estimated Muslim tourists in the global halal tourism industry to reach 158 million by 2020.

BI Deputy Governor Dody Budi Waluyo stated at the Indonesia Halal Tourism Summit in Jakarta on Friday that Indonesia, with the largest Muslim population worldwide, should tap into the abundant potential of Muslim tourists.

He cited as an illustration the potential for economic movement if Indonesia can optimally develop the halal tourism market.

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In 2018, with the number of Muslim tourists reaching 140 million, the value of online shopping transactions of Muslim tourists has the potential to touch US$35 billion.

"This means there exists a market segment that must be worked on. Moreover, Indonesia is a country, with the largest Muslim population in the world," Waluyo noted.

While referring to Indonesia topping the 2019 Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) for halal tourism, Dody believes the halal tourism sector can be Indonesia's main engine in the development of the halal industry.

Waluyo believes that to develop the halal industry, there should be no objective of keeping Muslim tourists away from tourism activities, in general, or on the contrary, keeping non-Muslim tourists away from certain tourism activities.

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However, halal tourism must offer comfort and freedom to Muslim tourists to fulfill their religious obligations while traveling.

Waluyo believes that halal tourism can, in fact, help offer a sense of security and comfort as well as sound services to non-Muslim tourists.

In addition, consumers worldwide, both Muslim and non-Muslim, increasingly seek ethical and sustainable choices, with the focus on preserving the future of humanity and the planet.

Speaking in connection with tourism funding, Waluyo reminded that tourism businesses must also utilize funding sources socially and strive to produce halal goods and services.

He noted that the halal industry had become a global phenomenon that should not only be associated with religion.

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He pointed out that the halal label exemplifies good quality and serves as an identifier for Muslim and non-Muslim consumers to make informed choices.

He stated that halal tourism, as part of the halal industry, focuses on activities that are in tune with Islamic principles.

However, some parties continue to connect halal tourism only with halal food and non-alcoholic drinks.

In fact, the essence of halal tourism transcends that.

"However, in reality, halal tourism encompasses halal activities, halal hotels, as well as held on sites that are equipped with Muslim facilities for worship," he expounded.

Related news: Tourism Ministry targets 30 percent increase in halal tourism

Translator: Indra Arief, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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