Adapting for the Muslim Arab Traveler

As hospitality marketing becomes more data-driven, and destinations and hospitality providers become more aware of the Arab traveler as the optimal customer segment, it’s only natural that they start to find ways to better accommodate and retain this high spending tourist type. Adapting for the Muslim and Arab traveler is a rewarding transition that will yield high returns. In this blog, we outline the Muslim Arab traveler’s psychology and consumer behavior so you can view things as they do. Although a large majority of Arabs adhere to Islamic religious obligations, there are still those that don’t. This blog covers the needs of those Arab travelers looking to have a “halal” vacation.

What Does the Arab Traveler Look For When Traveling?

Note that we use Arab traveler and Muslim traveler interchangeably in this blog. Although not all Arabs are Muslim, a large majority of them are. For a while, Malaysia, Turkey, and UAE were the most visited countries by Arab travelers for the widespread availability of all of the below-mentioned features. Without further ado, here they are:

Halal Food

Food constitutes a large part of any trip, especially when it comes to sampling local delicacies. Most Arab travelers can’t simply eat any food, and that’s because they’re of the Muslim faith. If you’ve had Muslim friends, then you are most likely aware that ham and pork are off the menu since Muslims can’t eat pig meat. But the truth of the matter is a bit more complicated. Even the meat of animals usually consumed by Arabs is prohibited in certain circumstances. Furthermore, the list of forbidden foods extends well beyond pigs. 

What can Muslims Eat?

There’s a simple rule one can use to identify what Muslims can eat. Here it is: The animals that Muslims are forbidden to consume are wild animals with fangs, and birds with talons that use them to catch prey and eat carcasses (therefore making birds such as chickens and ducks acceptable to the Muslim). Everything else is permissible.

The topic can be convoluted as there are types of crows that eat only carcasses and other farm crows that don’t. In that case, the farm crow is edible while its larger scavenger counterpart is not. Furthermore, off-putting animals such as bats are prohibited, but all animals that live in the sea (this excludes crocodiles since they live on land) are permissible.

Secondly, the way the animal has been slaughtered also plays a role. Even an animal that is permissible can be made impermissible if it is not slaughtered correctly. How must animals be slaughtered for a Muslim to consider them safe to eat? A ritual slaughter must be conducted by a Muslim person who faces the animal in the right direction before saying an Arabic invocation and slaughtering the animal quickly and painlessly. Sea creatures need not be slaughtered, and they are the only food category that is permissible to consume when found already dead. Moreover, animals slaughtered by Christians or by Jews (a.k.a Kosher food) are also permissible for the Muslim.

Prayer Facilities

Muslims pray five times a day, and although the obligation to pray while travelling is made more flexible and shortened, the need to find a quiet and suitable place away from prying eyes is still very present. But before the actual performance of an obligatory prayer, ablution or a ritual wash is customary for Muslims. Special ablution taps in the washrooms will make the Muslim traveller feel at home. Further to this point, Muslims wash themselves after going to the loo, so the availability of water in the toilet, and a mechanism to utilize that water is another great addition. A small showerhead toilet spray will do this well.

Although a travel prayer mat can suffice when a need to pray arises for this traveler type as Muslims can pray anywhere. Having a suitable place to pray at their convenience will greatly affect this customer segments satisfaction rates as they feel more welcome. This can come in the form of simply allotting a room with a large enough carpet to carry many people, and a sticker on the roof or wall to show travelers where to pray towards, this direction is known as the Qibla. There will be a need to have separate rooms for each gender, which leads us to our next point.

Different Gender Recreation Facilities

Muslim men and women don’t mix if they aren’t family or married. Their houses are designed in a way where there is an area allotted for female guests, and another for male guests. In some cases houses are designed with two separate entrances – one for each gender. The same concept extends to recreational activities. Spas for example must have separate quarters for each gender, especially as seeing that both genders will be mildly dressed on these occasions.

Some locations have allotted an “only-female” beach to cater for the Arab traveler, and travel platforms like the Halal Travel Guide have a whole trip category that is female-only. Having shared facilities for things that are less sensitive such as a tour on a bus, isn’t that big a deal, although some families will insist that non-family member males cannot be seated next to their female family members. It’s important to be cognizant of this especially when planning seating arrangements.

No Alcohol Near the Muslim Arab Traveler

It is a given that Muslims do not drink. But it’s also a fact that they don’t like to be surrounded by people who drink. This is especially true for family travelers as parents try to prevent their children from even witnessing drunk behavior and all that entails it. This does not necessarily mean that accommodation and event managers need to drop alcohol from the menu altogether (it can however be explored as an option if they decide to target exclusively Muslim Arab travelers), but simply outlining an “alcohol free zone” will suffice. Interestingly enough, sites like Halal Bookings, offer an option for Muslim travelers to place their bookings in Hotels that are alcohol free. 

Modestly Dressed Caterers and Waiters

The same way Muslims like to dress moderately, they also like to be surrounded by those who do the same. Having a dress code for your employees that covers the chest and thigh areas well will aid greatly with that.

Gulf Reps and the Arab Traveler

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East, with over 60 years of regional and industry experience. Specializing in directing the Arab traveler segment to your region or destination, we have served clients on six continents, delivering transformative results to everyone from hoteliers to tourism boards. Our mix of world-class marketing expertise, PR specialists, unparalleled connections and relationships plus our eclectic mix of marketing channels makes working with Gulf Reps the only sure way to drive Middle Eastern tourists to your destination.

To find out more about our services, you can call us at +971 (0)4 703 6333 or write to us at

The Importance of Arab Travel Bloggers

What is a Travel Blogger?

A travel blogger is a type of travel influencer whose output is usually limited to blogs, photographs, and at times, vlogs. Essentially, a travel blogger will either have their own website where they post reviews for travel based services and destinations, or they will contribute pieces to another travel website similar to how a travel writer would. What distinguishes travel bloggers from the usual travel influencer is their story-telling ability. At times it may not even seem to the reader that they are reading a review, and that’s the mark of a good travel blogger: the service being reviewed or even the destination itself becomes secondary to the story. These writers’ ability to create such alluring pieces with your destination as the background setting is often what magically convinces travelers to engage with your brand. Travel bloggers have already established traffic directed towards their website, and they lead those viewers to pay attention to your brand or service. Read on as we discuss the benefits an Arab travel blogger can present to your brand.

What’s the Difference Between Travel Bloggers and Travel Influencers?

Simply put, a travel blogger curates subjective content that is rich in-depth and they tend to spend more time on trips researching and digging for details and stories. In contrast, a travel influencer is more visual in their delivery and more prompt. In addition, a travel influencers main channel for reaching their target audience is usually a social media platform such as Instagram, whereas a travel blogger will own their own website. Furthermore, travel bloggers are a dying breed and are harder to find, whereas their “visual-storyteller” cousins are higher in numbers.

Websites Vs. Social Media Platforms

Websites are more organized and easier to navigate as an alternative to social media platforms. An individual searching for African destinations reviewed by their favourite influencer, for example, will have to manually sift through said influencers social media accounts or hope that the influencer categorized their posts through the use of hashtags. With a website, however, it’s as simple as clicking on the “travel destinations” tab and then selecting the Africa sub-section from a selection of the available continents.

Many other navigational features such as finding links to relevant service providers/travel vendors, or even to a destination’s website are easily accessible on travel bloggers’ websites. Furthermore, as websites are search focused and social media platforms are not, a single blog reviewing a location will continue to show up on Google’s search results years from its post date, whereas with social media sites, posts and content have a short lifespan and can easily be buried. The obvious exception is YouTube which with the aid of its algorithm will oftentimes push years old content on to viewers even when that content has not been searched for.

Arab Travel Bloggers

At any rate, the modern influencer is tech-savvy and usually doubles as their own media and video editing team. Therefore it’s not too far fetched to find a travel influencer who does both social media and travel blogging. In this blog, however, we focus exclusively on travel bloggers and why it’s important that your travel blogger be Arab if you are attempting to attract Arab travelers. 

1) Language

Not all Arabs speak English, and although the ones that travel regularly will most likely have good spoken English, it may very well be the fact that they are more comfortable using their Arabic mother tongue — especially when searching online. Arab travel bloggers offer the benefit of reaching your target market through the language they are most comfortable with.

2) Arab Travel Bloggers Have Similar Tastes and Habits to the Average Arab

Although not all Arabs are the same, they do have one common denominator, and that is Islam. Whereas a European or American traveler can cover the same destinations an Arab traveler would want to enquire about, their coverage will be lacking in that there will be many unanswered questions pertaining to an Arab.

For example, an Arab would likely want to know about the availability of Halal food, or the presence of separate gender facilities. An Arab Travel Blogger will adequately cover these interest points. For more on the Muslim Arab travelers behaviour and preferences read our blog on adapting to the Muslim Arab traveler.

3) There is Power in Resemblance

Shared characteristics and personal similarities are the cornerstones of attraction. According to Psychology Today, we are attracted to people who resemble us. Further to that, there are two kinds of similarities, they are “shared similarities” or actual similarities, and “perceived similarities” or simply believing someone is similar to you. Perceived similarities can be proven to be false, but when they aren’t — by virtue of the perceived person never being happened upon in real life (as is the case with most travel bloggers) then the liking of that individual from onlookers – or readers in this case, is incredibly high. In addition: people with shared similarities experience less liking of each other than the liking they would feel for someone with perceived similarities that they never meet.

Why is the above important? Because rapport is a prerequisite to influence, and with the right influencer you can rest assured that your marketing efforts as are as potent as can be.

Gulf Reps

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East, with over 60 years of regional and industry experience. Gulf Reps has served clients on six continents, delivering transformative results to everyone from hoteliers to tourism boards. Our mix of world-class marketing expertise, PR specialists, unparalleled connections and relationships, paired with an eclectic mix of marketing channels, makes working with Gulf Reps the only sure way to drive Middle Eastern tourists to your destination.

To find out more about our services, you can call us at +971 (0)4 703 6333 or write to us at