Are Japanese hotels really serious about the concept of halal? With a heavy heart, I would say they may not be that enthusiastic about Muslim guests as you we may like to think. Whenever we ask them whether they would like us to promote their Muslim-friendly services including halal food, other amenities targeted to the Muslim guests, most of them would say they are not interested in reaching out to the Muslims living in Japan or visiting the country as travelers. In fact, the sad truth is they do not take Muslim guests seriously.
To my understanding, there are quite a few reasons behind this attitude. Let us discuss these reasons one by one.
- No. of Muslim guests staying in these hotels is limited. Most of the Muslims visiting Japan do not ask these hotels tough questions about halal. Somehow, these guests do not make enough efforts to make their voices heard by the hotel staff properly. They often end up eating non-halal foods as well. The language barrier may be one of the reasons. As a consequence of this attitude by their Muslim guests, it does not make business sense for these hotels to seriously think about halal
- Most of these hotels are almost always fully booked by local and foreign guests who do not have any specific requirements about their dietary needs.
- Halal is too difficult a concept for many of these hotels. Most of the staff members are clueless about how to treat their Muslim guests. Although, they get basic training in understanding the nitty-gritty details of the concept of halal. So, they do not want to take halal too seriously as it is complicated to them.
- There is a huge demand for hotels by the local guests as well. So, why should they care so much about the guests who require these hotels to think out of the box and invest huge amounts of money and m, management resources to get ready for their Muslim guests.
I am not saying that all the hotels are like this. Of course, there are quite a few hotels in many parts of the country which have obtained halal certificates. They have taken the pains to understand the concept of halal and, are, now ready to serve their customers. But, these hotels may not be in big numbers.
The issues discussed above are just my opinions. There is no substantial data involved in this research. However, the fact of the matter is that, whenever we talk to hotels in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, we find them really cold on the concept of halal. They do not seem to be interested in promoting their halal offerings to the world.
We do not think it is appropriate to mention the names of any of these hotels, the majority of the hotel management share similar views about the concept of halal and Muslim guests. They are not ready to think out of the box and actually try to make serious efforts to attract Muslim guests.