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Halal tourism: a prime example of boundary-pushing retail

Halal tourism: a prime example of boundary-pushing retail

Antwerp has a new hotspot for tourists, and for locals it may be a very surprising one. The neighbourhood Kiel has not been the most prosperous one for a few decades, but now it is a bustling commercial area thanks to halal tourism. But what exactly is halal tourism and what can retailers learn from it?

Much more than just shopping

What started with an occasional car from the Netherlands, has now become a phenomenon that attracts busloads of people from abroad. Halal tourism is an undeniable phenomenon, ethnomarketer Rachid Lamrabat agrees. Everyone enjoys a day out or a shopping trip, for people with specific needs such as halal food or ‘modest fashion’ – clothing that covers the skin – the importance of a place where you can confidently go is especially significant. Consequently, they are much more willing to travel.

Earlier this week, Belgian media suddenly noticed the busloads of Dutch people visiting the Abdijstraat in southern Antwerp, which has become the place to be for ‘halal tourism’ in Flanders. This is not new though, Lamrabat points out: “Before, it centered on individual initiatives with a few friends in a car, but now it is really well organized. Planners hire huge coaches and put together a whole day, including drinks and dining.”

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