Top 6 holiday destinations for fasting travelers – Part Two

4. Spain

Eager to cater to the growing Muslim tourism market, Spanish tourism authorities offers a variety of city tours and halal services that offer visitors the chance to see both the traditional and modern side of Spain, including the European country’s art, culture, cuisine, shopping and sports, particularly those that celebrate its Arab and Islamic legacy.

According to Carlos Hernandez, tourism promotion coordinator for Spain in the Gulf region, hotels also offer specific services to cater to the needs of its Muslim guests including “details like a small ‘Islamic chapel’ or an indication of the direction of Mecca” that he says “can make a big difference.” While many hotels are 100% halal, others do include a special halal menu that include “recommendations of dishes that combine fish, vegetables and fruit translated into Arabic.”

Spain’s SHA clinic also offer special detox programs to cleanse the body during Ramadan. These programs include traditional dishes and juices for iftar and suhoor as well as medical consultants, massages, nutrition advisers, workshops and exercising areas within the clinic.

5. Australia

With sunny winters providing perfect escape for Muslim tourists looking to escape the oppressive summer heat, Australia is also a great travel destination for fasting visitors.

In the Gold Coast, known for its sun-kissed beaches, the city has also opened prayer rooms in shopping malls and theme parks with many leading hotels providing halal food and copies of the Quran and prayer mats in its guest rooms. The Ramadan Lounge at the Courtyard Marriott hotel in Surfers Paradise offers fasting residents and visitors a comfortable place to break their daily fast with dates, snacks and coffee for free, three evenings a week.

They also provide a special Gold Coast Muslim Visitors Guide listing all of the city’s halal-certified restaurants.

6. United Arab Emirates

Not surprisingly, the United Arab Emirates is another popular halal holiday destination for fasting visitors who are looking to get away but not venture too far from home. With the aim to transform the city of Dubai into a hub of Islamic culture and learning, the special “Ramadan in Dubai” program provides residents and visitors with a wide variety of cultural, social and spiritual activities including the Ramadan Night market, summer camps, the annual Ramadan Majlis that offer some of the finest Arabic cuisine and annual Holy Quran recital competitions for students and adults.

“With Dubai being a leading family tourism destination, and home to many cultures, ‘Ramadan in Dubai’ will showcase the emirate’s diverse tourism offerings within a modern Arabic setting while still retaining its Islamic values and roots,” said Laila Mohammad Suhail, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment.

For those really looking to enjoy the lavishsness that the UAE has to offer, many luxury hotels lay out elaborate, Bedouin-like mega-tents that can seat hundreds of people looking to break fast in style. Complete with live cooking stations, performers, shisha parlors, and rows of delicious food including Lebanese, Egyptian and Turkish cuisine and of course, Emirati, they are definitely an experience for any local or visitor.

Even getting to and from a destination is becoming easier for fasting travelers as airlines including British Airways, Qantas flights, Emirates and Etihad seek to provide special Ramadan services and accommodate fasting guests.

“For [those] fasting during Ramadan and travelling on flights departing or arriving close to iftar, a specially packed Ramadan refreshment box will be made available,” said Aubrey Tiedt, the vice-president of guest services for Etihad. “The refreshment box includes Arabic dates, a laban drink, a freshly prepared sandwich and a bottle of water. Our cabin crew will inform guests about both suhoor and iftar timings through on-board announcements. We also have prayer mats and prayer areas on-board for our guests’ convenience.”

So for those looking to get away this Ramadan, get booking, make reservations and have a delightful experience. Ramadan Kareem!

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