A Hokitika hotelier should know the direction of Mecca and what's on the menu down at the local Indian if New Zealand wants to take advantage of the burgeoning tourist market coming out of Indonesia and the sub-continent, experts say.
Australia's TravConsult husband and wife duo Trevor Lee and Lilly Choi-Lee told the Trenz tourism conference in Queenstown on Tuesday tourism operators should be prepared to cater for the growing numbers coming from Indonesia.
The country, which is 80 per cent Muslim, recently axed a prohibitive $NZ350 departure tax, making it more affordable for ordinary Indonesians to travel.
The bulk of Indonesia's middle class can't yet afford to travel overseas but there are still about 10 million affluent enough to do so.
However, their Islamic faith meant they had halal dietary requirements, they had to pray five times a day and their host knowing the direction of Mecca would make them feel more welcome, Mr Lee said.
It was natural for westerners to ruffle the hair or pat the head of cute children, but for travelling Muslims that was extremely offensive, he warned.
Mrs Choi-Lee said young Indonesians loved booking things over the internet and social media - blogging and posting photos of their travels - and they were looking for free wi-fi.
Meanwhile, their research of Indian tourists showed the importance of status and offering them the most expensive option first, rather than the cheapest.
"No Indian can go without Indian food for more than two days," Mrs Choi-Lee said.
Indian tourists also kept to different timetables than the country they were travelling in.
They liked to breakfast after most breakfast buffets had closed and liked to eat lunch around 2pm or 3pm and dinner at 9pm or 10pm.Accommodation business should know where local Indian restaurants were and what they served, as Indians also could only eat certain foods.
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