When choosing a halal holiday, Muslim travel destinations are based on more than the location and the hotel. They also factor in Islamic religious values, such as Iman (faith) which may mean halal food, segregated facilities for men and women, prayer facilities and avoiding haram - things forbidden or proscribed by Islamic law.

A recent paper in the International Journal of Tourism Research suggests that if companies want a bigger piece of the halal Muslim market they should develop products and services that are Sharia- compliant. Halal tourism market is estimated to grow to $186 billion by 2026, according to the Global Muslim Travel Index. Initiatives toward more Sharia-focused travelers would enable increased tourism from this emerging sector.

The data for the study was gathered via 21 semi-structured interviews conducted among Sri Lankan Muslims (17 male and 4 female).  The findings have sever limitations, a tiny number of interviewees from just one country and a low number of female respondents, but if  halal tourism is 12 percent of global tourism there is money to be made for companies looking to enter a new niche.

Lead author Dr. Padmali Rodrigo, Research Fellow in Marketing at the University of Portsmouth, says, "Given the growth in Halal tourism, understanding the values that influence Muslim consumers travel decisions are important as it would allow companies to provide a unique and authentic travel experience to Muslims, which would make them feel safe, secure and welcomed. Therefore, we argue that consumption values need to be broadened to include religious values such as Islamic values that stem from Iman."