In what has to be among the first such official efforts from a non-Muslim majority country, Tourism New Zealand and Christchurch International Airport have launched a new culinary tourism guide to New Zealand focussing on meeting the needs of Halal travellers.

The guide provides general tourism information, together with a list of Halal classified restaurants and cafes, from halal-certified through to those which offer vegetarian dishes or vegan cuisine. There’ also a separate North and South Island cuisine guides.

Tourism New Zealand said Muslim tourists’ expenditure is estimated to rise to more than 13 per cent of global tourism expenditure by 2020, and the country hopes to capitalize on a huge, growing and increasingly upwardly mobile user base. Geographically, NZ is close to the world’s largest Muslim population country Indonesia, along with Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore and others in South-east Asia.

According to numbers from last month, the number of Indonesian travellers to New Zealand were 141 per cent higher than August 2011.

The New Zealand Halal Guide will be distributed internationally to travel trade and their customers, New Zealand Embassies and other key offshore partners.

It will also be distributed to travel agents and consumers at key offshore events attended by Tourism New Zealand. An online version will be posted on Tourism New Zealand’s consumer and trade websites.