Cultural Insights – Muslim visitors
Diversity of Muslim visitors
Being around dogs
Halal food and dietary requirements
Muslim women visitors
Welcoming Muslim visitors I would say New Zealand is already a friendly destination towards the Muslims. Muslims can be a whole spectrum of people coming from very different walks of life. Not everybody wears the headscarf or the hijab.
Alcohol and Muslim visitors Muslims don’t drink alcohol. We are comfortable people around people drinking for example on the same tour bus as us. We are not drinking, they are drinking. We are accommodating and accepting other faiths as well. You know sometimes when you go to hotels they can offer you champagne as a welcome drink. Be mindful they will not drink.
Just knowing the little nuances that comes with serving the Muslim population is that all that needs.
Being around dogs If we touch a dog we need to wash before we can pray. Any animal when you touch you need wash. But particularly with dogs we have this different stigma around it. So it kind of have escalated into a phobia I would say. One of the reasons is also because dogs are friendly. And they actually come towards you. Ideally we would like not to be situation where in close contacts with dogs.
Do males and females have different needs?
I think again this comes back to where they are coming from, and what’s their worldview. So you can find some women, for example are not very comfortable sharing let’s say, having a mixed gender bathroom. You know when you come in a group, and telling them this is a mix, now you actually see their reaction on their face. It’s not really a good way to, sometimes they are forced to say yes because they are looking at the social interaction of the other people.
Giving the information in advance to tourists saying this is a mix bathroom or toilet, so potentially in future there is no conflict.
Physical contact If you have somebody, let’s say bungee jump. Tell them, inform them the process of putting the harness. I need to touch your shoulder or I need to touch your head and then giving them the choice. Will you be comfortable me doing it or a woman to actually help you.
Halal food means there is a specific way of actually slaughtering the animals that we eat. For a restaurant for example I think it’s really important to list, identify. Maybe they could have a different menu for example. Becuase I have seen in restaurant where they actually have a separate kid of leaflet inserted into the menu. You know these are the options available.
The Muslim association here have a website where they put all the information where they can buy meat. Which restaurant to go.
Pray while travelling
When tourists actually go to restaurants, it’s like a resting kind of a stop. So a lot of them actually want to pray at that time as well. I think it’s really a welcome touch I would say a specific room. You don’t have to create a big room, just an area where they can go and pray.
If it’s not available they will not make a fuss out of it. But they feel appreciated when it’s available. When you are on a tour with a guided, just a family, they might even ask you to stop for pray somewhere. But if there are other people with them they wouldn’t do that.
Really good way to do is ask them. Like, what do you want? What are you comfortable with? What’s your preference? Treat them as any other tourist, but be mindful they are also different to some extent in certain ways.