Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia are helping to drive the rapid growth of the Muslim travel market, a new report has revealed.

The latest Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) for 2017, which covers 130 destinations, revealed that Malaysia is the top destination for Muslim travellers, with Singapore second and Indonesia third. Singapore also ranked as the top non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destination.

The report also found that, in total, Muslim travellers made 121 million international trips last year, up from 117m in 2015. And this is forecasted to grow to 156m by 2020 representing 10% of global travel. By this time, the sector is expected to be worth US$220 billion, up from US$155bn in 2016.

Muslim travellers made 121 million international trips last year
Muslim travellers made 121 million international trips last year

Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating and HalalTrip, said that the growth of Muslim travel is being driven by new types of traveller.

“We are definitely seeing the influence of a new breed of young travellers, millennials and Gen Z who are combining technology with a real desire to explore the world while still adhering to their faith-based needs. They will be the driving force for the next phase of growth,” Bahardeen said.

“These younger travellers want greater choice, unique experiences and constant connectivity which can be seen with the growth of other Muslim lifestyle segments, such as halal food and modest fashion which link perfectly with the travel market.

“As Muslim travel continues to diversify, keeping on top of the demographics of the travellers though these insights from the GMTI will be paramount for destination management teams and decision makers who are ultimately sourcing solutions for this market.” he added.

Safdar Khan, MasterCard’s division president for Indonesia, Malaysia & Brunei, commented; “With an overall expenditure of around US$155 billion in 2016, the Muslim travel market remains a strong driver for the continued growth in travel across the world. It’s constantly evolving with major forces such as changing demographics and digitization shaping the way the industry is progressing.”

Asia remained the top region in the world in terms of attractiveness to Muslim tourists, with an average GMTI score of 57.6, based on factors such as accessibility, communication, environment and services. Africa took second place at 47.0, followed by Oceania (43.8), Europe (39.9) and the Americas (33.7).

Southeast Asia drives growth of Muslim travel market by: Farah Grimm published:


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