SEOUL, May 23 (NNN-Bernama) — South Korea is seeking Malaysia’s expertise, as well as accreditation for its friendly hospital services to further strengthen the sector which saw one million Muslim visitors arrived in the country in 2016, an increase of 33 per cent from a year before, says Korea Institute of Halal Industry (KIHI).
Its director-general Dr James Noh said currently the sector was operated by Korea Tourism Organisation, a government agency which oversees the South Korean tourism industry.
“But I think we need some kind of accreditation from Malaysia as it is recognised worldwide (for its halal industry),” he told Bernama on the sidelines of the four-day Seoul Food 2019 that began here yesterday.
Earlier, he witnessed the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Malaysia’s Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) and KIHI which will enable knowledge and expertise sharing for the development of Muslim friendly hospitality and halal industry in South Korea.
Noh also noted that South Korea’s Muslim friendly destinations had resulted in the mushrooming of halal restaurants across the country.
To-date, there are 130 Muslim friendly restaurants including 14 halal certified, as well as one halal ski resort restaurant to cater to the high demand of Muslim tourists.
In another development, Noh said KIHI was planning to bring South Korean cosmetic companies into Malaysia.
“They can set up their laboratories or research and development centres, and together with Malaysian cosmetics companies, they could penetrate ASEAN and other Muslim markets,” he said, adding that KIHI was also hoping to invest in Malaysian halal parks.
Meanwhile, HDC vice president Hanisofian Alias said although Malaysia had a significant number of halal cosmetic players, they were lacking in terms of technology.
“They usually outsource the process, thus by partnering with South Korean experts they can produce better products and eventually going global.
“We are currently working with several domestic industry players to see if they are interested,” he said.
According to HDC, South Korean cosmetics companies have started to notice the lucrative halal market and they are now conducting more studies and test procedures for halal certification for future expansion.
Prior to the MoU signing, Hanisofian gave a 30-minute talk entitled “Effective Entry to Halal Businesses”, which saw a participation of 100 local companies.