Due to the increasing number of Muslim visitors to Japan, Osaka’s Kansai International Airport has decided to become the first Muslim friendly airport in the country by significantly increasing the number of prayer rooms, and restaurants that serve halal meals and other services to accommodate Muslims from all overb the world.
In the recent years, there has been a structural shift in the demographics of foreign visitors to Japan. Due to uncertain political relationships between Japan and China, the tourists from the later to the former have significantly dropped while foreign visitors from Malaysia and Indonesia have increased more than 150% during the same corresponding time period.
Kansai In’l Airport will provide the following three main types of services to ts Muslim visitors. Most of these services have already started during this year.
- Expanding the number of prayer rooms to three at the airport
- Providing halal food in restaurants and shops
- Expanding customer service for Muslims staying at Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport
Kansai Int’l Airport already has a prayer room in the terminal, but it will add two more by March 2014 in the international departures lounge area.
Restaurants and food stores will also cater to Muslim travellers by introducing a service providing halal meals prepared in a special kitchen for in-flight meals served on international routes. According to Islamic law, halal meals must be prepared according to certain methods and may not include pork, alcohol or foods containing those ingredients. The food is available in the Special Waiting Room in Terminal 1, the Kansai Airport Meeting Room at Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport and the Group Dining Hall in the airport’s Sky View observation hall.
Kansai Int’l is the first Japanese airport to openly adopt a “Muslim-friendly” policy. Recently, it became the largest airport of Japan in terms of the number of foreign travvelers visiting Japan.