From hotels with segregated swimming pools to jelly made from seaweed instead of pig bones, Buddhist Thailand is chasing halal gold as it welcomes Muslim visitors and touts its wares to the Islamic world, reports AFP.
Inside the cavernous dining hall of the five-star Al Meroz hotel in a Muslim suburb of Bangkok, an elderly man with a wispy beard recites verses of the Koran as a nervous-looking groom awaits the arrival of his bride. The young man bursts into a smile as his soon-to-be wife appears, clad in a brilliant white dress with matching headscarf.
The ceremony is one of dozens of marriages held over the last few months at the Al Meroz—the city’s first entirely halal hotel.
Thailand has long been a draw for the world’s sun-seekers and hedonists, drawn to its parties, red-light districts, cheap booze and tropical beaches.
But it has also seen a huge influx of visitors from Muslim countries, part of a quiet but deliberate strategy by the Southeast Asian nation to diversify its visitor profile.