This paper seeks to discuss halal tourism (Muslim-friendly tourism) as a strategic bridge to bring Taiwan into a closer and more constructive engagement with Southeast Asian nations. Halal tourism's strategic element lies not only in material benefits but also in many politico-strategic and socio-cultural factors. Developing halal tourism means strengthening Taiwan's economic performance and public diplomacy, as well as increasing its visibility among the people of Southeast Asia, which in turn stabilizes Taiwan's global position in general. President Tsai Ing-wen has put Southeast Asia as Taiwan's priority in the New Southbound Policy she adopted when she came to power in 2016, a policy which was further intensified in the second term of her administration. We argue that in the case of Taiwan, halal tourism is not only attracting tourism but also operates as a soft power to increase further the visibility of Taiwan in Southeast Asia and the broader Muslim world. First, this is an essential way for Taiwan to face an increasingly influential China in Southeast Asia. Second, halal tourism is a powerful tool to increase Taiwan's visibility and denote its identity to Southeast Asians. Third, the New Southbound Policy allows for halal tourism to become a well-developed market opportunity for Taiwan, in which China is still lagging. However, future attempts to realize halal tourism in Taiwan face some challenges.
|Number of pages||37|
|Journal||Contemporary Chinese Political Economy and Strategic Relations|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2021|
- Halal tourism
- New Southbound Policy
- Soft power
- Southeast Asia