Gyeonggi-do is making efforts to promote tourism among Muslims. Majority of the total Muslim population of 1.6 billion live in nearby South East Asian countries, making it relatively easy to attract more visitors to Korea. According to Gyeonggi Tourism Organization, Korea had a total of 11.1 million visitors last year and 4.4% came from countries with Islam as the state religion. Of the 170,000 and 140,000 visitors from Malaysia and Indonesia respectively, 42% visited Gyeonggi-do Province.
Namiok, a dakgalbi restaurant in Eupnae-ri Gapyeong-gun Gyeonggi-do, built a 16.5 ㎡ prayer room in their restaurant as per Gyeonggi Tourism Organization’s recommendation. As a result, the restaurant, the only one serving halal chicken in the area, has been drawing more Muslim visitors since May.
Currently, Gyeonggi-do attractions with Muslim prayer rooms include Everland and Korean Folk Village in Yongin, Petite France in Gapyeong, and Skinanniversary in Paju. Recently, Gyeonggi-do provided materials such as a signboards, direction signs, prayer mats, etc. and made plans to build five more prayer rooms by the end of this year. In addition to tourist attractions, the prayer rooms will also be added to hospitals for the benefit of Muslim patients and to increase medical tourism. Plans to open more halal restaurants in Ansan, Suwon and Seongnam in Gyeonggi-do are in the works. Through collaborative efforts, the Gyeonggi Overseas Marketing Professionals Association (GOMPA) will be launching a hospitality campaign to target tourists during Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims.