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Befriending the World - Eid al-Fitr Celebration in Taipei Bedazzles Muslims

* Taiwan’s Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) has set a new record! This year, Taiwan has emerged as the 3rd most attractive non-Muslim destination among Muslims in the world. Besides continuing to promote a Muslim-friendly environment, Taipei City Government will also host the 2019 Eid al-Fitr Celebration in Taipei and Muslim Festival at the Daan Park on June 9, allowing citizens to befriend the world!

Starting on May 6, Muslims across the globe welcome the most sacred month of the year – Ramadan, where over 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide are obliged to fast and avoid selected activities for a month, until Eid al-Fitr.

Eid al-Fitr is also the peak travel season for Muslims; according to the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2019 rating released by CrescentRating-Mastercard, there were more than 140 million travelers globally in 2018, and the figure continues to grow. It is estimated that by 2026 the Halal travel sector’s contribution to the global economy is expected to reach USD 300 billion.

CrescentRating conducted a review of 130 countries around the world, and Taiwan improved from the 5th most attractive non-Muslim destination among Muslims in the world last year to the 3rd place this year, surpassing popular tourist destinations such as Germany, Australia, and the USA. As an essential stop for international tourists in Taiwan, Taipei has achieved remarkable results in vying for market share thanks to Taipei City Government’s effort in promoting a Muslim-friendly city.

Taipei City Government’s Department of Information and Tourism (TPEDOIT) has focused its marketing activities on 2 major Muslim markets – Indonesia and Malaysia – to implement resource integration and consolidation. By participating in overseas travel exhibitions and engaging in influencer marketing (PUSH), as well as establishing Muslim bidet spray facilities, prayer rooms, and Muslim-friendly restaurants and hotels in support of Eid al-Fitr Celebration in Taipei, thereby increasing the incentive to visit Taipei (PULL). The ultimate aim is to increase the number of tourists and market Taipei. According to Liu Yi-ting, the Commissioner of the TPEDOIT, based on the experiences of partaking in overseas travel exhibitions over the last couple of years, Muslim travelers in Indonesia and Malaysia have demonstrated a high degree of interest in Taipei; not only are they astonished by the fact that the Eid al-Fitr Celebration held in a non-Muslim country can attract over 40,000 visitors, but they have also commended on Taipei’s efforts and thoughtfulness in creating a Muslim-friendly city.

Liu Yi-ting said “Mayor Ko perceives great importance in the Muslim-friendly policy, because, in order to befriend the world, Taipei City needs to be more thoughtful and mitigate foreign travelers’ inconvenience. For instance, promoting Halal food or establishing prayer rooms endows Taipei with the charisma of being a friendly city.”

Regarding food services and accommodation that Muslim travelers are concerned with, Taipei City Government has proactively promoted Halal certified restaurants in recent years, while pork and alcohol-free labels have been posted throughout major night markets. In addition, prayer rooms and bidet spray facilities have been installed at venues such as the Discovery Center of Taipei, Taipei Main Station, National Palace Museum, and TWTC Exhibition Hall 1. In light of the need to perform istinja before praying, the TPEDOIT has requested Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation to install bidet toilets on a trial basis at accessible toilets in 5 MRT stations: Dongmen, Ximen, Zhongxiao Fuxing, Taipei Zoo, and Taipei City Hall, offering convenience to Muslim travelers in Taipei City.

Furthermore, the Department of Health has collaborated with hospitals and clinics to promote a Muslim-friendly medical care environment. Taiwan Adventist Hospital has obtained MUI certification to become a Muslim-friendly hospital, complying with Halal food regulations. The Health Checkup Center also has a Muslim prayer room equipped with prayer blankets, Quran, bidet spray and Mecca marker, allowing Muslims coming to the hospital for health checkups to pray with peace of mind. By paying meticulous attention to the minute details, Taipei City Government is demonstrating its respect and thoughtfulness towards the Muslim community.

Eid al-Fitr Celebration in Taipei and the Muslim Festival is expected to be held at the Daan Park on June 9. Since the Muslim Market was a tremendous success last year, there will be Muslim gourmet food booths, Mu’min products and unique cultural experience booths at this year’s event. Moreover, the Muslim Outdoor Lecture will be debuted; focusing on the theme of Muslim lifestyle and culture, something that is seldom seen in Taiwan, lecturers will be invited to share their perspectives and experiences with the audience. If you would like to gain further insight into Muslim culture, don’t miss this rare opportunity!