Muslim Travelers 150m By 2020

Muslim Travelers 150m By 2020Muslim Travelers 150m By 2020

In 2014, the Muslim travel market was worth $145 billion with 108 million Muslim visitors representing 10 per cent of the entire travel economy. It is forecasted to grow to 150 million visitors by 2020 and 11% of the entire segment with a value projected to grow to $200 billion, according to the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2015.

The GMTI looks at in-depth data covering 100 destinations, creating an overall index based on a number of criteria providing insights into one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors in the world today. Around 30 destinations accounted for 80% of Muslim visitor arrivals with the top country being Saudi Arabia. This included religious travel to Saudi Arabia, Arabian Marketer reported.

All 100 destinations in the GMTI were scored against a backdrop of criteria which included suitability as a family holiday destination, the level of services and facilities it provides, accommodation options, marketing initiatives as well as visitor arrivals. Each criterion was then weighted to make up the overall index score.

The Muslim population is growing rapidly across the world and is expected to become 26.5 per cent of the global population by 2030. The implication is the Muslim consumer is increasingly becoming one of the most sought-after segments for the ‘consumerism’ global market economy.

Furthermore, an explosive demand for products and services is seen that are aligned with these travelers’ religious beliefs. It is evidenced by looking at the rapid growth of markets such as halal food and Islamic banking, two of the eleven economic silos of the Muslim Lifestyle Marketplace.

The recent launch of the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI), in Singapore and Malaysia, is one of the most important developments in the Muslim lifestyle space as it gives the industry a transparent travel methodology, a unified starting point, much like the SAMI Halal Food Index launched in 2011.

“The MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index has today set a real precedent for the tourism industry. Not only is it the most in-depth research that we have undertaken so far on the fast-growing Muslim travel market, but has provided all stakeholders with some invaluable insight into how the halal-friendly tourism sector is growing and developing from a global perspective,” commented Fazal Bahardeen, CEO, CrescentRating & HalalTrip.

The GMTI provides an interesting insight on the landscape of the current state of the Muslim travel market and, more importantly, the potential it offers to destinations that want introduce and/or expand their tourism market.

“We are pleased to partner with CrescentRating to develop the Global Muslim Travel Index as we see it as an extension of our efforts in giving consumers peace of mind when travelling, through our seamless payment solutions. Travel continues to be a core passion for consumers and we are confident the GMTI will prove to be a trusted resource for this important, fast-growing traveler segment,” said Matthew Driver, President, Southeast Asia, MasterCard.

The destinations within the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Countries (P)GCC) have a distinct advantage in the Muslim travel market because of comprehensive Muslim-friendly facilities, food, services, and communication; English and Arabic being two of the main languages spoken by Muslim travelers.