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Promote Islamic tourism through hotels, resorts, halal foods: OIC tourism ministers TOURISM

(Niamey-NewsHalal, Rabi`I 14, 1437, December 25, 2015) President of the Republic of Niger H.E. Mr. Issoufou Mohamadou inaugurated in Niamey today, Wednesday 23 December 2015, the 9th Session of the Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers.

In attendance at the inauguration were Their Excellencies Ministers of Tourism of OIC Member States and H.E. Secretary General of the OIC. In his speech to the opening ceremony, the President said that Niger is proud and enthusiastic to host the 9th session of the ICTM. He stated that the tourism sector is an important support for the economy and development of OIC Member States. He added that the huge tourism potential in Member States call for greater attention to be devoted to the sector since it provides employment opportunities and impacts on other sectors of the economy.

The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani in his speech stated that the holding of the conference in Niger is very significant.

Apart from Niger being widely known for its African cultural heritage and traditionally warm hospitality, Madani said that the hosting of the conference in Niger renews confidence in the security and stability of this great country. He further said that tourism provides 1 in every 11 jobs globally and that OIC Member States received about 147 million tourists in 2013, compared with 156 million tourists in 2009 and that the return on tourism recorded a tangible increase of up to $20 billion.

The opening ceremony saw the transfer of the chairmanship of the conference from the chairman of the previous ICTM, H.E. Minister of Tourism of the Republic of The Gambia to H.E. Minister of Tourism and Artifacts of the Republic of Niger.

At the end of the conference the Ministers adopted a resolution on the development of tourism in OIC Member States in the next 2 years. They called on relevant OIC institutions to support the process of implementing the programme, including the establishment of an electronic Islamic tourism portal and the staging of cuisine and cultural festivals.

The Ministers endorsed the selection Madina al-Munawarra and the Iranian city of Tabriz as the capitals of Islamic Tourism for 2017 and 2018 respectively. They commended the plans prepared by the relevant institutions for the celebration of the city of Konyaen Turkey as the capital of Islamic Tourism for 2016.

The Ministers renewed their commitment to strengthening efforts to create awareness about tourist attractions in OIC countries through exchange of documentary films. They condemned the level of destruction, theft and looting of historical artifacts and monuments due to terrorism and armed extremism in Member States.

The resolution welcomed the offers made by the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Islamic Republic of Iran to host the 3rd and 4th OIC Tourism fairs in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

The Ministers requested the Member States to participate in the regional project on the development of sustainable tourism in the project for the “network of parks and cross border resorts in west Africa”.

The Ministers called on all Member States and relevant institutions to promote Islamic tourism through hotels, resorts, halal foods, entertainment and sports facilities in a manner compatible with Islamic Sharia. They also called for the introduction of Islamic tourism signs in international fora.