Tourism in the Muslim World: Volume 2

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Table of contents

(30 chapters)

Tourism in the Muslim World presents the first collection of scholarly writings concerning tourism in the Muslim world. Its chapters provide a synthesis of thought on this important issue for tourism and indeed for our times, offering a point of focus for tourism students, researchers, managers, and developers in Muslim countries and beyond, eager to increase their share in this 1.6-billion-strong tourism market.

Islam began in western Arabia with the preaching of Prophet Muhammad (ca. 570–632 CE) and has since spread through expansion, economic trade, missionaries, and migration. CE is an abbreviation of Common Era and is the system used in this book. In this system for recording dates, 2009 CE represents 1430 after Hegira (abbreviated as AH). During his life, Mohammad was able to unite virtually the whole of the Arabian Peninsula under Islam. After his death, Islam expanded north into Syria (636 CE), east into Persia and beyond (636 CE), and west into Egypt (640 CE), and then into Spain (711 CE). Dissention about the procedure for choice of the Muslim leader (caliph) led to the proclamation of a rival caliph in Damascus in 661 and the establishment of the Shia faith (Donner 2004). Islam arrived in the area known today as Pakistan in 711 when the Umayyad dynasty sent a Muslim Arab army that conquered the northwestern part of Indus Valley from Kashmir to the Arabian Sea (Esposito and Donner 1999). Today, the majority of Muslims worldwide are Sunni but Shia Muslims constitute the majority of the population in Iran as well as are significant minorities in Pakistan, India, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

There has been much controversy, if not dispute, especially among non-Muslims over the attitude of Islam to tourism. One may claim that this debate is mainly due to non-Muslims' misunderstanding of the true nature of the religion and its Shari'a or Islamic law. This chapter attempts to show in some detail tourism from the perspective of the Islamic creed and to demonstrate that the religion does encourage tourism and regards it as legal. To do this the chapter reviews a number of sources including the holy Qur'an.

This chapter discusses the importance and the strength of the interaction between tourism and the Muslim world, as well as the importance of tourism to overcome misunderstanding between the peoples in Islamic and non-Islamic countries. The objectives of this chapter are to look at the connections between tourism and Islam and to try to determine how these connections may develop. Tourism has brought many changes in Islamic countries. Traditionally conservative religions are particularly sensitive to such changes. This includes the Muslim world, deeply rooted in certain countries and parts of the world. As a precondition for future tourism developments, the tolerance among peoples and religions is of great importance. Better understanding will bring benefit to all.

Halal food despite its undeniable importance for Muslims is largely absent in the tourism development and planning literature. Given the fact that today Muslims represent more than 20% of world population and the number of Muslim tourists has grown significantly over recent years, there is a dire need to investigate the halal food's potential for both the tourism industry and world trade. Furthermore, it is important to investigate at both Muslim and non-Muslim tourism sites how availability of halal food has influenced the selection of a particular destination for vacation by Muslims.

Women are key participants in the tourism labor market. Maldivian women are recognized as being among the most emancipated in South Asia and the Islamic world. There is no institutional discrimination along gender lines in access to education, health services, or for jobs in the public sector (The World Bank 2004). However, the proportion of women working in the Maldivian tourism industry is relatively low. This chapter explores one of the key outcomes of a broader study on the participation of locals in the Maldivian tourism industry. The role of government in balancing religion, politics, and economy is considered imperative in positively influencing local tourism labor market participation and employment for women.

This chapter discusses aspects of the relationship between Islam and tourism in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Islam is shown to exercise considerable influence over social and political systems in the first three countries, in addition to affecting the tourism industry. It also gives rise to a series of particular demands from adherents, reflected in a movement termed Islamic tourism that encompasses product development and marketing efforts designed for and directed at Muslims. The activities of the four countries in the field are reviewed, revealing an appreciation of the volume and value of Muslim markets. However, there are challenges to overcome if the prospects for future growth are to be fully realized.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia provides an interesting case study of a Middle Eastern country that has begun to exploit its potential as a destination. Tourism in the Kingdom interacts with a variety of sectors and all elements of the Saudi society, and involves individuals as well as organizations. The country is currently facing numerous economic challenges, emphasizing tourism training and education to provide the necessary skills to meet these challenges and to ensure the successful application and maintenance of sustainable tourism practices. This chapter discusses the current state of tourism in Saudi Arabia and its planned development initiatives, with a focus on responsible tourism planning.

China is primarily a nonreligious country with less than 10% of people following Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, or other religions. Two major communication paths, the land and sea Silk Roads, directly affected the distribution and development of Muslim tourism and attractions. The combination of Islam with local custom and culture is a unique feature in China, and contributes to its development as a form of ethnic rather than religious tourism. As a result, research in China focuses on ethnic product development, minority sports and anthropological tourism, themed events, and intangible cultural heritage.

This chapter reviews the factors determining the characteristics of the tourism sector of Turkmenistan. Particular attention is given to the adoption of Islam resulting from Arabic, Seljuk, and Sufic cultural influences. The resulting distinctive form of Islam, incorporating pre-Islamic traditions and beliefs together with the persistence of tribalism, Soviet and post-Soviet governance, and the sociopolitical and economic characteristics of contemporary Turkmen society are considered in order to underpin an analysis of its underdeveloped and little-known tourism industry. An outline of the results of a small-scale preliminary case study of tourists in one of Turkmenistan's World Heritage Sites is presented as an illustration of current tourism activity and the future opportunities in its development.

Islamic tourism has developed rapidly since 2001, and Jordan has embraced this movement and encouraged the construction of important infrastructure around mausoleums. Based on an analysis of official speeches and on fieldwork with tourism specialists, the impact of Islamic tourism on political and geopolitical matters in Jordan will be considered. Leaning on different scopes and levels of analysis, it will be shown that the promotion of Islamic tourism in Jordan not only bears a major economic impact on the country, but also permits it to rewrite its national history for internal and international political purpose. Further, the discussion considers how other countries are being targeted by this new kind of tourism, and the limits of its potential development.

Iran has significant potential for an international tourism industry based on culture and heritage. However, the rich fusion of Persian and Islamic cultures that distinguishes Iran from the rest of the Middle East is not easily promoted for tourism internationally, mainly as a result of successive American and European attempts at forcing Iran's isolation since 1979. Given that Japan was a significant inbound and outbound market for Iranian tourism in the 1980s and is a close trading partner of the group of countries aligned against Iran at present, this chapter focuses on the recent development of the Iranian inbound tourism industry with the history and current status of the Japan–Iran tourism connection.

After the September 11 event in the United States, some Muslim destinations faced a severe decline in tourist arrivals because of the so-called neighborhood effect. Concurrently, other destinations performed extremely well. This chapter addresses the question of how the emergence of inconsistent tourism patterns within the same region can be explained. The analysis demonstrates that whereas arrivals from the Western countries decreased, intraregional tourism boomed and Muslim tourists avoided traveling to the Western destinations. This regionalization of travel behavior is explained by the rise of confrontational geopolitical world pictures in the Western and the Muslim worlds. This has created a new two-sided neighborhood effect, which has stabilized destinations in the Muslim world with a strong intraregional orientation.

This chapter discusses about tourism in Iran, an old civilization and a theocratic country where Islam is a dominant force. The majority of the people in Iran are Shia Muslims. References are made to conditions in Iran, its tourism industry, and the role of Islam in tourism and society. It is followed by discussion of Shia pilgrimage features. The findings show that while tourism has great potential in Iran, which is renowned for its diversity of attractions, tourism development is, however, constrained by several factors that limit the industry's contribution to economic growth.

This chapter presents findings from in-depth interviews with female pilgrims traveling from Turkey on their Hajj. The three main motives for the respondents were fulfilling one of the Five Pillars of Islam, visiting the center of the Muslim world, and seeing how others practiced Islam. For the majority of female pilgrims, the decision to go was made either jointly with their husbands or by others on their behalf. The long-lasting influences of this pilgrimage may include becoming more spiritual, peaceful, attentive, calm, tolerant, and careful. The experiences reported by respondents are discussed.

This chapter critically focuses on Islamophobic practices that are embedded in travel and tourism environments. Muslims, especially those journeying to other Western nations, are finding that their freedom of movement is restricted within environments perceived to be hostile, particularly in the context of post-September 11. The premise of this chapter is to illustrate the role of travel and tourism in continuing to reinforce Islamophobic attitudes of the West to Muslims worldwide. Importantly, the discussion critically highlights ways in which religious abhorrence, orientalist perspectives, ethnic detestation, and xenophobic intolerance significantly affect tourism experiences. These factors marginalize communities from appreciating the global attributes of tourism, especially elements that express the importance of cosmopolitan forms of citizenship.

This chapter examines the consumption experiences of Saudi Arabian female domestic tourists visiting the shopping malls of Jeddah and contextualizes this in terms of Islamic consumption more generally. First, the wider academic literature on the relations between shopping and tourism is discussed, and then aspects of Islamic consumption in terms of both shopping and tourism. Next, a review of the context of tourism development in Saudi Arabia and specifically Jeddah is provided. After a brief note on the methodology used for this study, the results from the focus groups conducted with female domestic tourists about their shopping experiences in Jeddah are discussed.

For sustainable progress of heritage tourism in Muslim regions, exaggerated and distorted notions of Islam have to be dispelled. To accomplish such an arduous task, the first step is to examine media content employed by key tourism organizations/agencies in Muslim countries. This chapter examines the heritage environments and contemporary macro environment factors in Muslim countries that are either secular or Islamic in nature. Using cultural indicators, it further analyzes the content of website marketing employed by the leading tourism authorities in the selected regions to understand if considerations and efforts are made to market Muslim heritage. The findings indicate mixed results.

This chapter examines a popular online trend—photo-sharing—in an understudied region, the League of Arab States. In contrast to online information from official bodies, anyone with Internet access can view and create destination photos. This study first searched for destination photos on, a popular photo-sharing website, from 22 Arab countries, and then content analyzed 589 Muslim and travel photos. The key results included Egypt with the most destination photos and Saudi Arabia with the most Muslim images. Common Muslim images were mosques and women with headscarves. This chapter shows that Flickr photos represent Arab images and are possible destination recommendations.

This chapter discusses the impact of tourism on the Kampong Glam Islamic heritage site in Singapore. For tourism development purposes, the main artery of the district was converted into a pedestrian mall. Planners tried to connect contemporary marketing initiatives for Islamic heritage with the historic role of Kampong Glam as a pilgrim destination, and attempted to legitimize the intense interventions. Despite these efforts, the rapidly induced changes have caused alienation of parts of the local Muslim community from the district. The chapter portrays the challenge to showcase Kampong Glam as a center of Singapore's Islamic heritage for interested tourists, while retaining the district's role as a homestead for the local Muslim minority.

The chapter explores authenticity by proposing a 360-degree perspective based on tourism and philosophy literature. The Islamic religious pilgrimage or Hajj serves as an exemplary case for a proposed model. It merges theories of authenticity into a 360-degree multidimensional analysis. The dimensions are objective, constructive, existential, and commercial. Embracing authenticity as a multidimensional concept creates room for varying and valid authenticity perceptions, as well as validating the partnership of participants and producers as cocreators of value within the tourism experience.

One important reason for study of the Muslim world is that the trajectory of tourism development may not follow a pattern identical to that found in other countries. Many of the case studies of destination development found in the literature indicate a lack of control by those within the destination, even after negative effects have become apparent, leading to the development path described by Butler's lifecycle model (Butler 1980, 2005a, 2005b). In a number of countries, and particularly in Saudi Arabia, planning for tourism has taken a different and proactive strategy that encourages tourism by Muslims from neighboring countries. The same approach has also been observed in some regions of Western China, whereby people from Korea and Japan are preferred as tourists due to their similar cultural background. This strategy may be interpreted as a means of managing the development of tourism in a manner that minimizes its sociocultural impacts, an outcome consistent with principles of sustainability. The encouragement of tourists likely to meet the requirements of Shari'a law is termed Muslim tourism.

Samirah Al-Saleh <> is a lecturer in geography and tourism at King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She is also a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Sunderland, United Kingdom. She has participated in numerous tourism conferences in Saudi Arabia and abroad. She has contributed to the journal, Al Aqiq, in a recent special edition on the topic of domestic tourism in Saudi Arabia.

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Book series
Bridging Tourism Theory and Practice
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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