The government of Gangwon province is gearing up to make the Winter Olympics in February 2018 “Muslim or halal-friendly” to attract more visitors from Muslim countries such as Malaysia.
Gangwon Province Governor Choi Moon-Soon told The Malaysian Reserve that the local authorities are already working to ensure the venue will be provided with halal food and prayer facilities.
“We are working towards that so there will be more Muslim visitors during the Games,” said Choi in an interview.
He said the Gangwon province would implement the plan according to the module that is used on another Musl im-friendly destination, Nami Island.
“We are getting more popular among Muslim travellers due to our strategy of making it friendly to them, not only in terms of halal food, but other tourism aspects as well.
“We want Gangwon to be as famous among Malaysians, as how popular Kota Kinabalu and Johor Baru are among Koreans,” Choi said.
Gangwon’s city, Gangneung, will be hosting the ice event together with Pyeongchang. Gangneung is also the city where the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Businesswomen Forum is currently held.
Choi said there is no denying that the halal industry is gaining momentum in the global market and the city intends to tap on its potential and leverage it for the entire province.
“WIEF Businesswomen Forum is the first forum to be held in the North-East Asian region. Why we are doing it? Firstly, for exposure to our province.
Secondly, we want to meet with halal industry players to see how we can work together in the future.
“I would like to welcome Malaysian corporations to work together with us in areas we are unfamiliar with and vice versa. There are various aspects we can venture on like culture and sports for example,” Choi said.
Choi and his administration is working towards facilitating a more halalbased industry as he expects it to grow bigger within five years.
“I can’t quote any percentage the halal sector would take within the overall market — maybe 10% to 20%, but most importantly we are making inroads. Making the first move is important,” Choi added.