Muslim travel market to hit $220 billion by 2020; Malaysia and Singapore dominates
Malaysia and Singapore have kept their position as the number one destination in the global Muslim travel market. (Photo: Agency)

The Muslim travel market will reach $220 billion in 2020 and it is expected to grow a further $80 billion to hit $300 billion by 2026, said a report.  As many as 131 million Muslim visitor arrivals globally were registered in 2017. This is up from 121 million in 2016 and it is forecasted to grow to 156 million visitors by 2020 representing 10 percent of the total travel segment globally.

As far country is concern, Malaysia and Singapore have kept their position as the number one destination in the global Muslim travel market as countries like United Arab Emirates and Indonesia are looking to close the gap fast, said the Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2018, which covers 130 destinations.

The Index also reveals that a number of non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations in Asia moved up the rankings – a result of their concerted effort to adapt their services to cater to and attract the Muslim travel market.

Singapore retained its pole position for the non-OIC destination markets, ahead of Thailand and the United Kingdom while Japan and Taiwan surged into the top five for the first time since the GMTI was released.

“We are now starting to see the impact of investment and commitment by destinations across the world into the Muslim travel market which is reaping rewards including a real shift in the rankings. The concerted efforts of destinations such as Indonesia, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan using data and insights from the previous GMTI reports have to be commended as they are now closing the gap,” said Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating & HalalTrip.

Malaysia scored an Index score of 80.6, followed by UAE and Indonesia at 72.8. In comparison, Singapore which was the highest scoring non-OIC destination, scored 66.2. Taiwan and Japan have continued to improve their overall ranking with the average GMTI scores by region contributing to Asia as the leading region in the world for attracting Muslim visitors followed by Europe.

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“The fast growing Muslim travel segment is an opportunity in plain sight but in order to benefit from it, it is crucial to understand the needs and preferences of Muslim travelers and how to adapt and tailor products and services for them. We believe that the GMTI provides real value to businesses and governments looking to tap into this important and growing market segment and hope that this effort will continue to drive Halal tourism,” said Safdar Khan, Division President Indonesia, Malaysia & Brunei, Mastercard.

It is estimated the ASEAN region will welcome over 18 million Muslim visitor arrivals by 2020, representing close to 15% of the visitor arrivals to the region.

“Based on our index, Indonesia continues to strengthen its position as one of the top halal destinations as a result of the support from the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism. They have done a wonderful job in enhancing the tourism landscape of Indonesia, improving the tourism infrastructure, and promoting the “Wonderful Indonesia” campaign overseas,” Safdar Khan added.

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All 130 destinations in the GMTI 2018 were scored against a backdrop of criteria with some new metrics added for this year’s research including the CrescentRating Growth-Innovation Model. Key metric criteria included access which includes infrastructure; communications and looking at how destinations market themselves to a target audience; environment and services. Each criterion is then weighted to make up the overall index score.

Top 10 Muslim countries that Muslims travel

RANK GMTI 2018 RANK DESTINATION SCORE
1 1 Malaysia 80.6
2 2 United Arab Emirates 72.8
2 2 Indonesia 72.8
4 4 Turkey 69.1
5 5 Saudi Arabia 68.7
7 7 Qatar 66.2
6 8 Bahrain 65.9
8 9 Oman 65.1
9 10 Morocco 61.7
10 11 Kuwait 60.5

 

Top 10 non-Muslim countries that Muslims travel

RANK GMTI 2018 RANK DESTINATION SCORE
1 6 Singapore 66.2
2 18 Thailand 56.1
3 19 United Kingdom 53.8
4 24 Japan 51.4
5 27 Taiwan 49.6
5 27 Hong Kong 49.6
7 32 South Africa 47.7
8 35 Germany 45.7
9 36 France 45.2
10 37 Australia 44.7
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