Stunning Alpine vistas? Check. Incredibly gorgeous lake views? Check. Muslim-friendly hotels and easy-to find halal food? Check and check!
Credit: Artur Staszewski on flickr
Welcome to Interlaken, a picturesque Swiss town nestled between the gleaming, azure waters of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, that is earning a steady flow of francs from Muslim tourists. The boom in Muslim travel comes as no surprise once you see how Muslim-friendly Interlaken is: one can easily find halal menus in restaurants and on board scenic Alpine cruises, Muslim-friendly hotels (which provide halal meals and prayer mats), as well as convenience stores stocked with halal groceries.
Credit: Mohd Khair on Facebook
The influx of Muslim tourists is welcome, and very much encouraged- as the Swiss currency strengthens against the Euro, tourism from neighbouring European countries dip, threatening the livelihood of the lakeside town which depends heavily on tourism for income. Thankfully, the steady rise in Muslim visitors- especially from the Gulf states- has managed to save Swiss tourism, when they made Interlaken their top choice destination in the country!
Gulf tourists grew 2000% over the past 12 years, which far outstrips the growth of Chinese tourists, and in 2016 alone, Interlaken earned 25% of Gulf tourist spending in Switzerland! This can be explained by the success of the promotional campaign by the local tourist office, which encouraged service staff in hotels and shops to speak Arabic, and relaxed visa rules for Emiratis heading to Switzerland.
Credit: Mark Weston on flickr
While Interlaken’s summer season wraps up in September, it heats up again in the winter, from which one has easy access to famous mountainski regions of Jungfrau and Grindelwald, as well as family-friendly resorts in Beatenberg, Habkern and Brienz-Axalp. Spring is also a glorious time of year at Interlaken, as colourful Alpine flowers bloom, creating a gorgeous landscape that is truly postcard-perfect 😍 There’s really no reason why you shouldn’t pack your bags for an Alpine getaway to Interlaken now!