The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has launched its first App designed specifically for the growing number of Muslim visitors to find their way around the country.
The App for iOS and Android is both an online and offline guidebook that will help Muslim visitors find mosques, halal restaurants and hotels, shopping centres with prayer rooms, and other facilities of cultural importance to Muslim travellers.
A critical component of the newly-launched strategy to position as a Muslim friendly destination, the App is initially in English and Thai but will be expanded to include Arabic and Bahasa Indonesia later. It also has a very important search and navigation feature to help quickly locate specific places and estimate the time it will take to get there from a users’ current location.
It was developed with the support of the Halal Science Centre of Chulalongkorn University, the Foundation of the Islamic Centre of Thailand, Halal Standards Institute of Thailand and the Tourism Council of Thailand
Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, Acting Governor, TAT, said, “We are especially happy to launch this App in the holy month of Ramadan. We hope it will be useful to the many Muslim visitors from Indonesia and Malaysia who may chose to visit Thailand during the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr (Hari Raya) holidays at the end of the month.”
The Muslim-friendly destination strategy is primarily aimed at the 240 million-strong Islamic populations of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, which are expected to grow strongly after the ASEAN integration process advances from 2016 onwards.
Mrs Juthaporn said, “The Muslim population worldwide is about 1.6 billion, representing 23 percent of the total global population and, still, has plenty of room to grow. Thailand has great potential to serve this market. Today, we are seeing a whole new generation of young Thai-Muslims emerging nationwide, and it is very important for them to seek promising opportunities in the tourism sector.”
She noted that Thailand is already the top destination for Middle East travellers in Asia. Amongst the non-Muslim countries, Thailand is ranked second in the world by the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2015.
Mrs Juthaporn said, “We believe this is because we have the required range of products and services for Muslim travellers. We are already seeing many of our shopping complexes providing facilities for Muslim prayers. Halal food is also becoming commonplace. We are also seeing increasing investor interest in developing halal-tourism hotels. All this is good for us because it will create jobs for our emerging younger generation and promote national inclusiveness and integration.”
TAT has also produced a number of guidebooks and brochures to help Muslim visitors; such as, “Halal Check-in Thailand (which contains a list of halal-certified restaurants) and Islamic Attractions in Southernmost Provinces (Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani).
The app can be downloaded here: http://www.tourismthailand.org/muslimfriendly