(Moscow-NewsHalal, Rabi`I 26, 1437, January 6, 2016) Despite a political row with Turkey, Russia is looking for more Muslim tourists through Halal tourism. With around 23 million Muslim population, Islam is said to be second largest religion in Russia. Availability of Halal foods, Halal restaurants and Masajid in the capital Moscow and other parts of the country, makes Russia a reasonable destination for Muslim tourists.
Russia’s overall population is declining, due in part to the adverse effects of high alcohol consumption, but numbers are rising in Muslim regions, where large families are common. Tourism authorities in Russia have recently launched a program to make more halal-certified food products available in the country to attract more tourists from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other countries.
In December 2015, Russia reportedly launched a program to encourage hotels and restaurants in the country to comply with halal requirements.
In the pursuit of enhancing its competitiveness in the tourism sector, Russia has opened its national tourism promotion office, Visit Russia, in the UAE.
Visit Russia office activities are supported by the Russian Business Council in the Middle East and Africa, RBC, within a strategic partnership aimed at promoting more business and leisure travel to Russia from the Middle East.
Visit Russia offices will be opened in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries. Tourism authorities are planning to work with flydubai and Emirates to promote Russia as a tourist destination. Russia is also planning to organize familiarization trips for tour operates in Muslim countries.
The halal program will focus on Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi and the towns of the Golden Ring. Moscow has a significant population of Muslims. The city has quite a number of Masaajid such as the Islamic Cultural Centre of Russia, the Moscow Islamic Centre and the Moscow Cathedral Masjid.
Instead of European and American tourists, Russian tourism industry is now paying more attention to Asian tourists. Number of Hotel in Moscow launched Halal Service to attract Muslim visitors including prayer rooms and Quran Al Karim.
In addition to cuisine from Russia’s Muslim regions and internal republics, the program aims to make halal-certified traditional Russian dishes widely available in the country.
But recent Russian odds with Turkey spreading an adverse image of Russia among Muslims around the world. Members of Russian muslim community expressing their concerns about growing tension between Moscow and Ankara.