Faeez Fadhlillah, CEO and co-founder of the travel booking engine Tripfez, is today named as the 2017 PATA Face of the Future. This is the most prestigious honour open to young tourism professionals in the Asia Pacific region.
“I feel so honoured and humbled to have been recognised with the prestigious PATA Face of the future award. This award is recognition for my co-founder Juergen Gallistl and the amazing team at Tripfez & Salam Standard who have put in tremendous effort in promoting the concept of inclusive travel focusing on localisation of our travel products for Muslim travellers. Muslim travel is the fastest growing segment in travel and contributes more than $138 billion to the global GDP. It created more than 4 million jobs worldwide based on the Salam Standard Global Economic Impact of Muslim Tourism 2015/2016,” he said.
Travelling around the world has become much easier for Muslim travellers, as a result of the creation of a unique online hotel reference tool. Known as Salam Standard, it sets out to provide information on Muslim-friendly amenities and services available at hotels and resorts around the globe.
So what is the Salam Standard?
Faeez Fadhlillah, CEO and co-founder of one of Asia Pacific’s leading travel and tourism companies, Lagisatu Travel Sdn Bhd, is also the creator of this unique concept.
He says, “Salam Standard is based on the feedback of 50,000 Muslim travellers from around the world. We conducted an extensive global campaign, asking those surveyed what services and amenities were most important to them when travelling. The Salam Standard helps people to select hotels according to this Muslim – based criteria. No other review portal provides such comprehensive information.”
“Salam Standard provides Muslim travellers with a one-of-kind reference tool, enabling them to choose Muslim-friendly accommodation that adheres to their Islamic principles.”
Muslim travellers can use the website to identify specific accommodation requirements provided within the hotels. The standard is divided into three main categories – Bronze, Silver and Gold – depending on the range of services and amenities provided to Muslim guests.
For example, Bronze standard properties must have Muslim prayer mats available and Kibblat directions (signs pointing to Mecca) in the room; or can at least make these available. A Quran can be requested.
Silver rated properties offer prayer mats and Kibblat directions as well as a list of halal restaurants. No alcohol is provided in the guest room mini bars.
Gold standard is higher than either of these. In addition to prayer mats, Kibblat directions, information on local halal restaurants and removing alcohol from mini bars, a Salam Standard Gold property offers halal food on site which has been certified by a recognized certification organization.
The creation of this unique portal has been hailed positively by tourism organizations worldwide. Malaysia has long been recognized as a global leader in the Muslim travel market, and Tourism Malaysia’s deputy director general Dato’ Abdul Khani Daud says, ‘the introduction of Salam Standard will not only help hotels worldwide cater to the needs of this burgeoning sector, which we strongly support, but also help Muslim travellers seeking a blessed journey.”
More than 10,000 properties worldwide have already joined the Salam Standard initiative. AccorHotels, Movenpick Hotels and Resorts, Rotana Hotels & Resorts, Anantara Hotels & Resorts, Rixos Hotels, Archipelago Hotel Groups and Berjaya Hotels & Resorts are amongst the many high profile partner companies involved in the project.
Indonesian based hotel chain Archipelago International has now more than 60 hotels registered with Salam Standard: 31 are classed as Bronze Standard; 21 meet Silver Standards; and 16 hotels within the chain meet the Gold standard.
Faeez Fadhillah is intent on expanding the concept to as many hotel chains, worldwide, as possible saying, “our aim is to encourage hotel operators to offer more facilities for muslim travellers, ensuring they experience the holiday of a lifetime.”
Juergen Gallisti of Salam Standard says, “the response to our launch was very high. Surprisingly, predominantly from non – muslim countries, which is very humbling for us. We are hoping to increase our presence in Europe this year. Many Muslim travellers choose Europe as their prime destination. Our current records hold most European hotels in capital cities such as London. Many European hotels are becoming aware of the opportunity to promote their properties to Muslim travellers by joining Salam Standard and those who do are enjoying a great increase in sales from this group, when they display their participation with Salam Standard on their website.”
By Tahira Khan