Croatia has potential for halal tourism and products

ZAGREB, 2.11.2016.

The market for halal products is one of the fastest growing in the world and Croatia has great potential to develop halal production and tourism, it was said at a congress marking World Halal Day Croatia 2016 which started on Wednesday in the northern coastal town of Opatija.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic opened the congress saying that she valued the cooperation with the Islamic Community in Croatia and that a lot had been done jointly to promote the economy and a lot had been done to help understand Islam and eliminate xenophobia due to lack of knowledge or incomprehension.

Halal-standard and Centre for Halal Quality Certification were established in Croatia in 2010 whereas respect for tradition and religious and cultural heritage has existed much longer and in particular over the past one hundred years since Islam was recognised as official religion in Croatia, Grabar-Kitarovic said.

In the six years of halal standards and certification it has become recognised in domestic economic circles as a guarantee of permanent and added value with potential to do business according to Islamic rules and to become an important segment of Croatia's export economy, she said, adding that the global halal market has developed over the past few years at a rate of 30%.

The President underscored that certified hotels, restaurants and agencies have made Croatia one of the world's desirable halal destinations and that she is convinced that the Islamic Community in Croatia will continue to facilitate access to new markets for Croatian enterprises and will continue to contribute to a better understanding of the Islamic world and Europe.

She believes that the congress can be seen as recognition of Croatia's experience of joint life of the Christian majority and Islamic minority together with other confessions which can be of value for all of Europe.

The global halal market is valued at around two thousand billion US dollars annually and is one of the fastest growing markets in the world, the congress heard.

Croatia has about 2,500 halal products and demand is growing.

The head of the halal certification centre Aldin Dugonjic said that this was a large market and because of the quality of halal food it was being consumed not just by Muslims but was becoming an important factor in the food industry in general.

According to Dugonjic, 64 producers, 15 hotels, 10 restaurants and 7 travel agencies in Croatia have been assigned with halal certification and Croatia is a regional leader for the production of halal food and the European halal for the development of halal tourism.

Mufti for Croatia Aziz ef. Asanovic said that the congress was one of the largest world events on the halal stage. Participants in the congress included the CEO of a global halal consultative company seated in Singapore - United World Halal Development Mohamed Jinna, state minister in the United Arab Emirates Rashid Ahmad Muhammad Bin Fahad, president of the Iranian Chamber of Guilds Ali Fazeli, representatives of the Turkish Economy Ministry and others.

The congress attracted about 40 experts and 20 exhibitors from more than 30 countries.

World Halal Day Croatia is a unique event about trends and potential halal markets in various economic branches including halal tourism, Islamic banking and finance, halal cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. (Hina/FaH)