Photo for illustrative purposes only. Travellers with their suitcases at Antalya Airport in Turkey on Oct 21, 2020. Antalya is one of the most popular destinations for HalalBooking customers. Shutterstock

Islamic Lifestyle

HalalBooking reports high of $12 million sales in June as COVID-weary travelers plan summer escapes

UK-based HalalBooking reported sales of $12 million in June, a 150% increase compared to the same month, pre-pandemic, in 2019 as summer travels start for COVID-weary travelers.

The platform for Muslim-friendly accommodation worldwide said this is the first time it has sold more than $10 million in a single month. Its previous record was $5 million in sales in July 2019.

“These sales are partially a result of pent-up demand, however, in the main, they are due to the lead acquisition activities, which we have been carrying out since 2019,” HalalBooking chief marketing officer Ufuk Seçgin told Salaam Gateway.

“Even during the pandemic, we made the most of the time to develop new partnerships with companies such as Turkish Airlines, MuslimPro, Modanisa, KuveytTurk and Mastercard to target halal-conscious consumers, who we believed would be interested in our services.”

The main markets that are booking accommodation are Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Turkey and France, according to Seçgin.

The company is also expecting an increase in bookings from the UK as the government has announced relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions from July 19.

The vast majority of HalalBooking customers are clicking on accommodation in Turkey, with Antalya and South-Aegean regions the most popular destinations, said Seçgin.

“We are, however, also seeing more and more bookings for local holidays in mainland Europe, especially in places such as Spain, the French Riviera, and London,” said the CMO.

Turkey is open to international visitors on certain conditions, including that they show proof they have been vaccinated at least 14 days before their arrival. Passengers from Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka are currently banned from entering Turkey, while visitors from the UK, Iran, Egypt and Singapore must present a negative PCR test result taken 72 hours prior to arrival.

In the EU, there are different restrictions across member states as countries such as Spain and France see a surge in COVID cases.

Most customers on HalalBooking are travelling during July and August and orders are already coming through for September and October as well as for the winter months, said Seçgin.

The company says it is on track to achieve pre-pandemic level of sales although this is contingent on the severity of travel restrictions.

“We are expecting a huge demand for the autumn season for destinations such as Turkey, Morocco, and Spain and for the winter season for the Maldives, UAE, Mauritius and Seychelles as well as skiing holidays in Bosnia, Turkey, Austria and Switzerland,” said Seçgin.

“If travel becomes easier and less bureaucratic, without the need for quarantine, and with cheaper and more rapid COVID tests and providing that sufficient flights are available, we are confident of achieving our forecast.”

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