Thirty-nine local companies have been awarded Halal certifications since the label was created last year, according to the Cambodian Halal Secretariat.
A trade promotion official at the Ministry of Commerce, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Khmer Times that between 50 to 60 companies have applied for certifications from the Cambodian Halal Steering Committee, an agency of the Ministry of Commerce.
The source said obtaining the certificate takes about one month and includes an inspection to the business’ premises by officials.
“Companies must bear in mind that if they wish to have the certificate they must ensure their food is prepared in strict adherence to Halal standards,” the official said.
The source said that the number of applications has risen remarkably in recent months. After Phnom Penh, the provinces of Battambang, Kampot and Kampong Cham have seen the highest number of applications, according to the official.
“Having more Halal options will lure more Middle East tourists to Cambodia,” the source added.
According to Arab News, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation said recently that about 800,000 Muslims live in Cambodia.
Last week, the Tourism Ministry announced that it is targeting visitors from countries in the Middle East, a region believed to have great potential for Cambodia’s tourism market.
During the first three months of the year, Cambodia welcomed nearly 1,780 tourists from the Middle East, a 40 percent quarter-on-quarter hike.
Top Sopheak, Ministry spokesman, said the ministry is aiming to diversify its tourism market, which is now dominated by China.
“To attract more Muslim tourists, we are promoting Cambodia in the Middle East, and we hope to see more and more tourists from this region in years to come,” he said.
He noted that last month, ministry representatives participated in the Arabian Travel Market 2019 in Dubai, where interest in Cambodia ran high.