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In this Issue
Hospitality, The essential component in ...
I have been visiting Europe every year for the last fifty years to attend specialised exhibitions related to my work and
industrial interest. Currently I am focusing on tourism. From the exhibitions I go to visit companies: to see and train
sometimes, or sign contracts to buy machines, tools and materials for my shoe factories and related items. To-date I have
attended more than 250 exhibitions – on average five a year.
These exhibitions are located in different places, sometimes in main
cities, such as Paris, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Hanover, Milan or London.
Sometime they are held in small cities such as Brimens in Germany,
Florence in Italy, and other places in Europe including Poland.
As a rule, I do not plan my visits or arrange any programmes or
bookings. You find me always busy trying to solve the dilemma of
securing accommodation while taking part in these exhibitions. Similar
things happen when I travel for business in the busy time of exhibitions
and work seasons. The hotels are not sufficient to accommodate the
increasing demand despite the escalation in hotel construction. Hotels
have been booked by exhibitors a year in advance so how did I manage
to find a place to sleep?
When hotels are filled with tourists and exhibitors, I will reveal my
strategy for finding accommodation for the one, two or three nights I
spend at the exhibition.
Brimens is a small town in Germany that has two large hotels and few
guest houses. It used to host the largest and most important
international footwear exhibition that features the most important
developments in the technology of this industry.(6)
Green forests and pure airin Jordan
The society of graduates of the Islamic Sciences College organised
a trip to Ajloun reserve, 80km from Amman. The reserve is managed
by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature. Since I am one
of the graduates and a travel writer, in addition to meeting the head
of public relations in the Royal Society, I took part in the trip which
started on August 5th. We traveled to the north of Jordan passing
through Jarash to reach Ajloun with its green forests, pure air and
roads lined with oak trees.
Next morning, we went out with our guide for a 10km walk in the oak
forest. The beautiful scenery and the fresh air helped us to keep
going without feeling tired. The guide told us about the different types
of birds, animals and trees found in the reserve.
I was pleased to visit the reserve and I invite you all to visit it and
to enjoy the nature walks. I also advise you to bring your families
and children to enjoy the walk in the green mountains and
inculcate in them the love of nature. Above all, you’ll be delighted
with the hospitality. The people receive you with a smile and send
you home with a smile. They are the people of the mountains and
you are their guests.
Welcome to Jordan. Welcome to the mountains of Ajloun and their
beautiful, peaceful reserve.(75)
A paradise lost and found again
For many, Kashmir is an emotive political destination but, politics aside, it is a truly beautiful part of the world. It is
difficult to write about a place like Indian Kashmir and Pakistani Kashmir without offending someone, including those
who feel that there should be only one Kashmir.
When speaking about present day tourism we
are speaking about Indian Kashmir. Its capital
Srinagar, has been described as a pre-eminent
tourist destination: "The Happy Valley", "The
Vale of Tears". Certainly the Moghul Emperors,
who built the famous Shalimar Gardens,
delighted in the summer retreat climate. During
early British colonial days in India, the British
also found the mountain climate congenial after
the intense summer heat of the Indian plains
and they set in motion the tradition of
houseboats, now the centre of a luxury style of(8-10)
The state that preserved Malay culture ...
KELANTAN, Malaysia — I'm often reluctant to return to a destination that has given me so many warm memories over
the years, for fear that they will be shattered by the winds of change. More often than not, they usually are.
That was my mindset as I set out on my revisit to the Malaysian state of Kelantan after an absence of 17 years .Would
it have the same charm? Would I be able to even find some of the scenes captured in my photo album back home?
Much to my surprise and delight, it
proved to be as comfortable as
slipping on an old favorite sweater.
There still are a few places left in
the world that you can return to
after a number of years and pick
up practically where you left off,
and Kelantan might be at the very
top of that short list.
Oh, it's put on a little population
around the middle and shows a
few more roadlines since my last
visit here in 1987, but time should
be so kind to all of us.
Roughly the size of New
Hampshire, Kelantan inches
along almost grudgingly into the
21st Century as it clings
tenaciously to roots that date
back to 8000 to 3000 B.C. when
the territory first established trading links with
the Chinese Empire.(12-14)
Significant role for Muslims
One of the main characteristics of the Kingdom of Belgium is the diversity of its ethnic groups. It is made up of two main
ethnic groups, French speaking Walloons and Flemish speaking inhabitants. In addition, Belgium has an important
Muslim community 85 percent of which is made up of Moroccans and Turks. It also includes Tunisians, Algerians,
Palestinians, Iranians, Senegalese, Egyptians, Albanians and others.
In 1988, the size of the community prompted
the Belgium authorities to accept the
representation of Muslims within the "The
Executive Committee for Muslims". After the last
elections a woman of Moroccan origin became
a government minister. This is a historical
precedent in Europe and a source of pride for
the Moroccan, Arab and Islamic communities
since it is a clear recognition of the vital role this
community plays in the social, economic,
political and cultural life of the country.
Feeling at home
Forty percent of Belgian Muslims live in
Brussels a city of about a million people, the
capital of the European Union.(16)
The island of surprises
You start enjoying the beauty of Singapore even before you land. When the airplane is touching down you can see the
633 sq. km, country as one canvas painted in green and blue, surrounded by the Indian Ocean. The people extend a
warm welcome to their guests. There are three million of them of Chinese, Indian and Malaysian origin.
Singapore is on the Indian Ocean a hundred
miles to the south of Malaysia and the two
countries are joined by a bridge which can
be crossed in a few minutes by car or train.
Over fifty airlines transport people and
goods to Singapore which is close to other
ASEAN countries. Sea transport is also
available and plays a major role in crossing
to other countries and nearby islands.
The majority of the population speaks fluent
English, as well as a host of indigenous
languages of the multi-ethnic Singapore,
such as Mandarin, Malaysian, Tamil,
Chinese, Indian and others.
Due to its location on the equator, it has a
tropical climate and the weather is hot all
year round with average temperatures
between 24 and 32 degrees centigrade.(18)
The Golden Land
Myanmar in south East Asia is bordered from the north and north east by China, from the south east by Laos and
Thailand, and from the west by India and Bangladesh. It also overlooks both the Andaman Sea and the Bay of
Bengal. It has an area of about 677,000 sq. km. and is considered the biggest of the south East Asian countries.
Myanmar is a hilly land with valleys and
surrounding mountains where the mountains
form a horse shoe shape from the northern,
eastern and western sides. There is flat land
between the mountains where the rivers of
Ayeyarwaddy, Chindwin and Sittanung flow
through farm land and settlements. The
country is hot and rainy for most of the year
with average temperatures of 20 to 35
The population is around 52 million. They
speak Burmese and English. The major
religions are: Buddism 89. 2 %, Christianity 5
% and Islam 3.8 %. The most important
ethnic groups out of a total of 35 are: Rakhin,
Kayah, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Kachin and Shan.(20)
An amazing archipelago
Indonesia is made up of 13,677 islands gathered in the world’s largest archipelago that stretches for 5120 km.. Most of
these islands are mountainous, with some reaching a height of 5200 m. There are active volcanoes on some of the islands.
The equator runs through most of the islands
bringing hot and rainy weather for most of
the year. Because of their location at the
meeting point of the Indian and Pacific
oceans, the islands are surrounded by coral
reefs. They are ideal for diving, fishing,
water sports and other activities on the
longest beaches in the world.
You can reach Indonesia by air or sea
through local and international air and
shipping lines. The country has a complex
network of roads and railways, especially on
the larger islands: Sumatra, Java,
Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali and others.
The capital Jakarta is situated on Java Island
whose population is around 100 million - half
the entire population of Indonesia. Many of
the international hotel chains have branches
in this city and there are three star hotels and
flats as well modern shopping malls with
local and foreign goods.(22)
The land of the happy dawn
Thailand had four capitals over the years.
The first was Sukhothai in 1238. It remained
the capital for 112 years and was famous for
its richness, beauty, and lavish food.
Sukhothai is about 500 km from the present
The capital moved to Ayuthya in 1350.
During the next 417 years Ayuthya was the
home of 33 kings who fought the Burmese
44 times. When it was burned in 1767
Thonburi became the next capital but only
for 15 years until it was moved to Bangkok
during the rule of King Ram I. The locals call
Bangkok "Krungthep" – Latin for "The City of
Angles". It is still the capital of the 14
provinces of the Thai Kingdom.
All kinds of travel
Traveling in Bangkok itself, or in other
cities, puts you in touch with difference
scenes from the lives of the Thai people.(24)
A tourists' wonderland
As the legendary Arab explorer Ibn Batouta rightly said in his famous book The Wonders of Landscapes and Exotic
Voyages, written after 35 years of traveling: "The one who heard is not like the one who saw!"
We have heard and read a lot about Asian
countries, with their dragons and dinosaurs, but
few of us have visited these countries and many
would like to travel to these exotic lands. The
large Asian capitals compete for their share of the
international tourist trade. The top competitors
come from the ASEAN countries (Association of
South East Asian Nations), which was created in
1967 with ten members: Malaysia, Singapore,
Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, Burma,
Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea and Thailand.
Since the creation of ASEAN,
these countries became a
considerable force and tourist
and travel agencies in the west
encourage their clients to travel
to the NIC (New
Islamic culture before immigrants arrived
The flow of Muslim immigrants to Britain started in the late 19th century when a number of Muslim sailors took up
residence in port cities. However it was not until the middle of the 20th century that Muslim immigrants, mostly from
the British colonies of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh started settling in Britain in large numbers. But the British
people did not have to wait for the arrival of the immigrants to be introduced to Islamic culture and heritage.
In the early 19th century Lord Frederic
Leighton (1830 – 1896) the English classical
painter and sculptor acquired an
extraordinary collection of Islamic treasures
in his house which was later turned into a
museum and opened to the public.
Leighton House is a journey to the Orient, a
historical tour that should not be missed.
All the rooms are designed to compliment
each other. With the exception of one room
on the ground floor they are decorated in
Victorian colours. Leighton made the ground
floor room a unique Islamic-Arab room with
architecture and decorations to match. Here
the spirit of the orient is revived. Arabesque
embellishes the hall, the high doomed ceiling
is painted with bright colours and some
Quranic verses are carved on the edges that
have an Ottoman touch.(30-34)
of Archaeology in Iraq
Since its foundation in 1932 as a memorial to the life and work of Gertrude Bell, the British School of Archaeology in
Iraq (BSAI) has been the main institution in the United Kingdom responsible for organising archaeological fieldwork in
Iraq, Mesopotamian Syria and the Persian Gulf. It was funded from private sources, principally the Gertrude Bell
Memorial Fund but also a considerable sum deriving from individual subscriptions donated to an Appeal Fund. It first
received a Treasury grant in 1947, which enabled it to appoint its first Director in Iraq (Professor Sir Max Mallowan,
Agatha Christie’s husband). It carried out excavations in Iraq and Syria before World War II and again from 1948
worked continuously in Iraq until 1990.
9The secretary, Joan Porter MacIver,
normally steers clear of politics but she could
not help commenting on the
shortsightedness of failing to establish a
Ministry of Tourism in the interim government
announced at the beginning of June. "I can’t
understand why that happened. I know that
tourism is something they are counting on in
the future, especially as Iraq is so important
in terms of its historical legacy. The Iraqis
have always been very proud of that and it is(36-38)
Every morning seems to be a good morning for
Islamic Tourism Magazine (ITM) and its website
(ITW). ITM is now bi-monthly, our first French-
Arabic issue was published last month and
other Occidental and Oriental languages may
also be added soon.
The website ITW is near completion and we
have an active team working on it. We have
added more country profiles and have
managed to attract more advertisers for both
the ITM & ITW. The French language has also
been added to ITW.
We are continuously approached to help with
handling the publicity for various events, the last
of which was the WTTC conference in Doha.
Recently, we supported the Kazakhstan
International Travel Fair through the magazine
and the website and we are entering into a
barter deal to support the Beijing International
Travel Exhibition 2005.
Many media organization have taken an interest
in our publications and written about them. They
have also published material from ITM & ITW
and acknowledged them as their sources.(40)
The door is always open
When Leman Ozkan, the Trade Relations Manager for Europe of the North Cyprus Tourism Centre, says the Turks
are the good guys it is difficult not to believe her.
On April 24th this year over 65 percent of the
Turkish Cypriots in North Cyprus voted for
reunification and the island’s entry into the
EU as a one country. But over 75 percent of
the Greek Cypriots in the south of the country
voted against reunification.
"This showed the whole world that the
Turkish Cypriots are willing to co-operate",
Ms Ozkan emphasized. The EU, USA, UK
and the Organisation of Islamic Conference
all made some references to the results of
the referendum and suggested that some of
the embargoes imposed on the north should
The island of Cyprus has a total area of(42-44)
A new term in the Islamic Calender
Hajj and Umrah are traditionally talked about without specifying a certain season. But a new campaign by the Saudi
Ministry of Hajj is going to change that. It is well known that there is a discrepancy between the lunar and Gregorian
Calendars. The latter has well defined seasons while the former has its months changing over time so that Ramadan,
for example, could be in summer, but years later it could be in winter. The same goes for Hajj and Umrah.
But for the next few years Hajj is not going to
be in summer and a new religious and
commercial concept has been devised to
encourage Umrah over the summer period
(Mid-July to Mid-September). It may sound
strange at first but it seems to make sense. If
summer is not going to be a busy religious
season for a few years and many Saudis
take their holidays abroad, it means a large
number of facilities are not going to be used
during this time. It seems like a good idea to
market the idea of a summer umrah. This is
exactly what the new campaign by the Saudi
Ministry of Hajj is doing.(46)
Marvelous models of Islamic architecture
Throughout its history Egypt remembered the cities which were once the capital. When King Mena unified the two
frontiers: the Meccan and maritime of the country, in 3400 B. C., he made Menef the capital (close to al-Jezza). It
remained the capital until the invasion of Egypt by Alexander the Macedonian in 232 B. C., when the Alexandrian city
in the north became the capital of Egypt in Romanan times.
In 18 A. H.(639 A. D.), the Moslem armies
penetrated and conquered Egypt under the
leadership of Amr Ibn Al As and the town of
Al Fastat was made the capital. The
governor Jawhar Squalli, decided in
359 A. H. (969 A. D.) to call it Cairo
by developing it so that it could(48-54)
The International Flower Exhibition
For the last twenty years I have been hearing about The International
Flower Exhibition held annually in Syria. This year I was invited by the
Syrian Tourism Ministry as a representative of Islamic Tourism
The exhibition, at Tashrin Park in the centre of Damascus, was opened
by the Minister of Tourism, Dr. Saadallah Aga Al-Qala, in the presence
of the diplomatic corps and many interested members of the public
who come every year to select plants and flowers for their gardens.
Participants included the Lebanese Tourism Ministry and a number of
companies from Jordan, Turkey and Egypt.
Delicate fragrances from roses and other flowers emanated from the
stands which excelled in both content and presentation and competed
to be the best. At the end of the exhibition the Syrian Ministry of Tourism
hosted a lavish dinner for Arab and foreign journalists.(56)
New tourist destinations in the UAE
During the last decade Dubai has turned into a
major international tourist and travel destination.
Extraordinary projects like the seven-star hotel Burj
Al Arab, the Palm and World Islands, Hydropolis –
the first underwater hotel in the world –, Dubai Land
etc. demonstrate excellent investment and
marketing strategies in the tourist sector.
The boom of tourism in Dubai also has a significant
impact on the other six emirates of the federation, but here different
strategies for the expansion of tourism are being applied. Abu-Dhabi
encourages business and congress tourism but restricts the expansion
of mass tourism. Sharjah is promoting cultural tourism. The reconstruction
of the old central district of Sharjah into a heritage and arts
area with museums, a theater, handicrafts markets and architectural
monuments represents a unique effort in the region.
Although Ras Al Khaimah has a first class international airport,
important historical sites and an attractive natural landscape, the tourist
infrastructure is still underdeveloped. Only six hotels with 1142 beds
are available. A strategy that encourages the development of
ecological, medical and sport tourism can place Ras Al Khaimah on the
world tourist map.(25)
International conference discusses effect of 9/11 ...
The BRISMES (British Society for Middle Eastern Studies) annual conference was held at the London Middle East
Institute at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies. It was addressed by Gunter Meyer of the Centre
for Research on the Arab World (CERAW) at the University of Mainz (Germany) who pointed out that September 11
and the "war against terror" caused dramatic changes in the flow of tourists into and out of Arab countries. Some Arab
tourist destinations are suffering from a massive decline in the number of tourist arrivals while others are benefiting
from a tremendous surge in holiday makers. The information on these new trends in international tourism is extremely
scanty. Nevertheless, all Arab countries are at present promoting the expansion of the tourist sector in an
unprecedented manner. Even some GCC countries, which rejected any form of international tourism in the past, have
started to develop new projects for attracting tourists from all over the world and from Muslim countries in particular.
Tens of billions of dollars are being invested in the UAE alone to raise the number of tourist arrivals to 15 million people
in 2010. Other Arab countries have similar plans.(58-60)
Waits for millions of tourists
Algeria is a vast country with proud people who sacrificed millions to
gain their freedom and independence. God blessed it with lots of
resources and beautiful. nature. Its two neighbours Morocco and
Tunisia are giants in the world of tourism but Algeria is determined to
compete with them and become a jewel in the crown of tourist
destinations on the western side of the Arab world.
Natural beauty and climate
Algeria is the second largest Arab country after
Sudan with an area of about 2,381,741 sq. km.
It also has a Mediterranean costal line of
about 1200 km and a a variable terrain which
encompasses flat land, deserts and
mountains. In the south there is a famous
peak Tahat but the most famous peaks are
those of the Atlas mountains.
The climate is also variable. Wet Mediterranean
weather dominates the eastern side where
oaks grow. The south east has semi-
Mediterranean weather allowing the growth of
oak forests. Elsewhere you find arid or semi-arid
weather (from the Wahran hills to the Atlas
Mountains) before you drop to a desert climate.
These varied climates, together with a diversity
of interesting plants, attract tourists who are
seeking a non traditional form of tourism.(62)
Cultural tourism at its best
Yemen is a tourists’
paradise with numerous
attractions including its
diverse nature and souks
changing and adapting to
modern times yet
preserving their unique
Yemeni flavour. Within
these souks, one discovers
the kindness of Yemenis,
their gentle nature, their
multiple dialects, their
customs and habits and
their authentic popular
Souks are everywhere: in
every city and village on
the plains and in the
mountains, in the coastal
towns and of course in the
capital, Sana’a. The souks
attract the attention of any
visitor. There are weekly
souks, daily souks and
occasional souks which
are held during certain seasons or to
commemorate particular events. But they all
give an insight into the daily life of the
country with its deep historical roots. The
names of these souks change according to
the days and places where they are held and
according to the goods on the market(64)
Month of piety and solidarity
Probably the Moslem religious rite most universally observed, Ramadan, the ninth month of the lunar calendar, has
a special significance for the Moroccans and for the rest of the Islamic community: billions of people in the four
corners of the world.
The fast during this month is one of the five
pillars of Islam. Ramadan means more than
abstaining from food, drink, cigarettes or
sexual relations between sunrise and sunset.
It means fighting against inner human
desires. It is a time devoted to internal
reflection, devotion to God and self-control.
Moreover, it is an invitation to gain a better
understanding of the life of people who do
not always have enough to eat. The majority(66-70)
from monastery to mosque
Iraq is a country of Islamic monuments : mausoleums, shrines of saints which are visited by pilgrims, monasteries
and famous mosques. This is to be expected in a country which was the crucible of human civilizations, the land of
the prophets and the center of the Islamic Khalifat; Baghdad was the capital of the Abbasside dynasty and the
beacon of Islamic cultural radiation.
The area of Baratha is
regarded as one of the older
sites in the Islamic history of
Baghdad. Historical tales
indicate it was built 108 years
before Baghdad (House of
Peace). Before that it was a
Christian monastery. This
area is between the center of
Baghdad and the town of
Kadimiya - a distance of
about 10 km. Baratha, is the
name of the founder of the
monastery. In the Assyrian
language it means "the son of
the wonders" and in Arabic
"soft and red ground".
Several prophets reportedly
honored the place by praying
in The Second Regional Website and Internet Exhibition
Islamic Tourism magazine is keen to keep in touch information
technology profesionals who are concerned with the world of the
internet and websites to inform them about new developments in the
magazine. These include a French-Arabic edition of the magazine in
addition to the Arabic-English edition. The magazine’s weekly
website is also in three languages. That is why Islamic Tourism took
part in the Second Regional Websites and Internet Exhibition which
was held in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
The three-day exhibition was opened on July 23rd in the Meridian
Conference Hall by the Jordanian Minster for Communication and
Information Technology, Dr. Fawaz al-Zua’bi. The Minister spent
about 15 minutes at the Islamic Tourism stand listening to the
explanation given by the head of the Amman branch about new
developments in the magazine and the website. He also received a
valuable gift in the form of a complete set of Islamic Tourism
Magazines published to date.
This exhibition was distinguished by the calibre of the participants
and visitors most of whom are experts in the field of services and
media websites. They were impressed by the magazine’s(76)
for Islamic Tourism Magazine
With the publication of this issue ITM celebrates its third year of publication. The magazine
was established in difficult times. Its first issue came out just after the 9/11 atrocities
in New York, amid a charged atmosphere against any "Islamic" predicate. But this tense
reaction did not deter the publisher from going ahead with the project thinking that the
poisoned air was just a summer cloud that would soon drift away leaving clear skies for
understanding between nations and dialogue between civilizations.
The project then sailed in uncharted waters but soon gained confidence and steered a
steady course. The magazine went from a quarterly to bimonthly publication, adding
more bilingual editions, such as the Arabic/ French one. After three years, the magazine
is proud to have put the name of "Islamic Tourism" in a prominent place on the map of
One takes delight and encouragement from the support of the many good people in the
travel and tourism industry, as well as academics and ordinary readers. Over the months
and years we received lots of letters of appreciation and recognition. Recently, Professor
Guenter Meyer from Germany used the BRISMES conference in London to draw the
attention of the participants to the contribution of Islamic Tourism Magazine to the debate
about tourism in Islamic countries and the Middle East.(2)
© A S Shakiry and TCPH Ltd.