Moscow hotel goes ‘halal’ in bid to woo Muslim visitors

MOSCOW: No bacon for breakfast, a room for prayers and a Quran on your bedside table: a hotel in Moscow has launched a special “halal” service as Russia tries to attract visitors from the Muslim world.

“Around 70 percent of our guests are from overseas and 13 percent of these — or some 5,000 people — come from Muslim countries, especially Iran,” said Lyubov Shiyan, marketing director at the Aerostar hotel.

“Our Muslim visitors were constantly asking for a separate prayer room or a special menu,” she said. “We wanted everyone who came here to feel at home.”

To make that happen, the hotel had to go through a rigorous procedure before it could finally be certified halal by Muslim officials in Russia and launch the service this month.

But the extra work looks like it could be worth it.

These are tough times for Russia’s tourism industry with the numbers of visitors — especially from the West — nosediving in recent months amid the worst East-West tensions since the Cold War over the crisis in Ukraine…