Tourism is a complicated concept that covers a wide range of social, behavioural, economic, political, cultural, and environmental considerations. The concept of tourism consists of a set of activities, services, and benefits which all give tourists particular experiences. Islam is considered a major tourism market globally; however, special values of Muslims – who have particular needs in their system of beliefs – have not been well defined in the tourism market. Islamic tourism is all marketing and product development effort that are directed at Muslims, even without completely religious motivations. Efforts that emphasize the significance of Muslim and non-Muslim tourists as new markets and destinations for tourism; In other words, such efforts try to promote tourism among Muslims, develop new tourism destinations, and strengthen inter-organization and inter-government cooperation in the Islamic World.
The religious-conservative concept for Islamic tourism has not yet been theoretically articulated. But various opinions and remarks in the discussions on the future of tourism in the Arab and Islam worlds as well as some practices of hotel’s managements indicate that articulations and implementations are just a matter of time. The whole idea is based on the conservative interpretation and understanding of Islam. Merging elements of the extremely conservative Islamic lifestyle with the modern tourism industry could indeed present new tourism options, spaces, and spheres. Excluding the fundamental isolationistic views which reject practically any tourism activities beyond pilgrimage, the religious-conservative concepts may be described as “community tourism”. Islamic resorts and hotels as well as Islamic destinations and programs are shaping some tourist activities; Islamic resorts funded and owned by Islamic finance institutions, alcohol-free accommodations, no in-door disco/nightlife hotels, gendersegregated fitness and sport facilities, conservative in-door dress-codex, availability of prayerrooms on site, women floors and “Islamic” entertainment programs. Many elements of this concept are indeed implemented in the domestic tourism in Saudi Arabia and Iran. Halal tourism is a subcategory of tourism which is geared towards Muslim families who abide by rules of Islam. The hotels in such destinations do not serve alcohol and have separate swimming pools and spa facilities for men and women. Malaysia, Turkey and many more countries are trying to attract Muslim tourists from all over the world offering facilities in accordance with the religious beliefs of Muslim tourists. The Halal tourism industry also provides flights where no alcohol or pork products are served, prayer timings are announced, and religious programs are broadcast as part of entertainment offered on board. The cultural concept for Islamic tourism includes visions and ideas that outline the inclusion of Islamic religiouscultural sites in tourism programs with “pedagogical” and self-confidence-building elements. It tries to encourage a re-orientation inside the tourist destinations towards less consumption and “western-culture” loaded sites towards more Islamic historical, religious and cultural sites. The economic concept for Islamic tourism is an extension and expansion oriented concept which focuses on the importance of intra-Muslim and intra-Arab tourism in terms of inclusion of new tourist markets and tourist destinations. The economic concept is the most wide-spread and widely discussed in the Arab and Muslim worlds at different levels. It considers the Muslim countries as one of the emerging tourist markets of the future with huge economic, demographic and destination potential. This book, Islamic Tourism, focuses on such issues as engagement (by Muslims), places (Islamic destinations), products (residential places, foods, and beverage), dimensions (economic, cultural, religious, etc), and managing service processes (marketing and ethical issues).