SEOUL, Nov. 21 (Korea Bizwire) – A rising number of five-star hotels in Seoul are offering halal foods in their restaurants to attract Muslim guests, a small but growing market, industry officials said Monday.
The local travel and hospitality industry has sought ways to enhance convenience for a growing influx of Muslim tourists on the back of the popularity of Korean pop culture and medical tourists from the Middle East.
To catch up with the latest trend, restaurants in major hotels have expanded halal foods, which refer to foods prepared in a specific way according to Islamic law.
According to the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO)’s halal guidebook, all restaurants in the Plaza Hotel and Lotte Hotel are categorized as “Muslim-friendly restaurants.”
The Plaza Hotel, which offers a Quran for the daily prayers of Muslims, said the number of Muslim guests has risen by over 10 percent for the past few years.
Lotte Hotel, which has five Muslim-friendly restaurants certified by the KTO, said it has also seen Muslim clients up 10 percent in the past three years.
Intercontinental Seoul COEX has recruited a hotel chef specializing in halal foods to take charge of the Arabic section of “Asian Live,” one of the four restaurants in the luxury hotel in southern Seoul.
The number of Muslim travelers to South Korea has risen from 541,518 in 2012 to 752,504 in 2014. In the first nine months of this year, the figure has risen to 708,297, up 35.8 percent from a year earlier, the KTO said.