Deputy Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sapta Nirwandar stated here on Monday that Indonesia was appointed as the host of the forum by majority of the tourism ministers of OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) members during a meeting in Banjul, Gambia, on December 6th.

The Worlds Muslim population in 2012 reached 1.6 billion, whereas the global population was 6.9 billion, while a study conducted by the Pew Research Center Forum on Religion and Public Life revealed that the Muslim population grows 1.5 percent each year.

According to Nirwandar, the potential of Shariah tourism will continue to grow as the worlds Muslim population will reach 2.2 billion, around 26.4 percent of the worlds population (8.2 billion), in 2030.

"Through this forum, we expect to strengthen the Shariah tourism position as one of the success keys in supporting the global economy," the deputy minister emphasized.

The forum is also expected to identify the business potential in Shariah tourism and increase cooperation between the OIC members.

"This forum is also expected to be able to promote Shariah tourism destinations and its products, such as hotels, travel packages, restaurants, and spas. We also encourage the business industry to see the huge business opportunity in Shariah-based tourism," Nirwandar reiterated.

The Thomson Reuters report on the State of the Global Islamic Economy 2012 showed that global Muslim consumers spent US$1,088 billion on halal food and non-alcoholic beverages in 2012. The number accounted for 16.6 percent of the global consumption of food and beverages and was forecast to reach US$1,626 billion by 2018.

Meanwhile, in 2012, the Muslim population spent US4137 billion in travelling, 12.5 percent of the global spending. The number was forecast to reach US$181 billion in 2018.

Director General of Multilateral Affairs of Foreign Affairs Ministry Hasan Kleib fully supported the forum and stated that the forum will be able to promote global Shariah tourism.