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Japan eyes more Muslim visitors to boost tourism

Japan will begin a model project during the current fiscal year to help regional communities attract more foreign visitors with diverse dietary and cultural habits,…

Japan will begin a model project during the current fiscal year to help regional communities attract more foreign visitors with diverse dietary and cultural habits, such as vegetarians and Muslims.

The Japan Tourism Agency will provide subsidies to promote the use of pictograms showing food ingredients, the development of menus for such visitors and the establishment of prayer spaces for Muslims.

With the number of foreign visitors to Japan increasing, the country faces a need to expand comfortable environments for vegetarians and Muslims.

The city of Okayama certifies accommodation facilities deemed friendly to Muslims. The city of Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto Prefecture, focuses on promoting halal meals prepared in accordance with Islamic law.

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The agency hopes that many other local governments will follow suit.

The model project will require cooperation between local governments, so-called destination management organisations, or DMOs, and businesses in the restaurant, hotel and travel industries.

Participants will draw up sightseeing programmes that can accommodate the needs of foreign visitors with diverse dietary and cultural habits.

Islamic law prohibits consuming alcohol and some soy sauce containing alcohol, in addition to pork. Some vegetarians avoid eating not only meat and fish but also dishes containing broth made from animals.

The model project will support the development of original Japanese food menus for Muslims and vegetarians from abroad.

Subsidies will also be provided to support the establishment of prayer spaces for Muslims at tourist information centres and roadside rest areas.

The number of tourists from Southeast Asian countries with large Muslim populations, such as Indonesia and Malaysia, is also increasing steadily, according to the agency. (Japan Times)

 

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