Malaysia has been named as the number one destination across the globe in the Muslim travel market, according to the MasterCard – Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2015. The results of the research saw Malaysia take the top spot on the list, for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations, followed by, Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Singapore came first for the non-OIC destinations, which also saw Thailand, UK, South Africa and France make the top five.
Fazal Bahardeen, CEO, Crescent Rating and Halal Trip said, “The MasterCard – Crescent Rating 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. Crescent Rating has seen a recent huge shift towards more destinations targeting this sector like Japan and Taiwan, and it is a trend we expect to continue.”
The GMTI looks at in-depth data covering 100 destinations, creating an overall index, based on a number of criteria. This is one of the first times such thorough insights have been provided into one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors in the world today, and will provide travellers, governments, travel services and investors comprehensive benchmarks across a number of important criteria enabling them to track the health and growth of this travel segment.
The study also revealed that in 2014, this segment was worth US$145 billion with 108 million Muslim travellers representing 10 per cent of the entire travel economy. This is forecast to grow to 150 million visitors by 2020 and 11 per cent of the market segment with a market value projected to grow to US$200 billion. Saudi Arabia saw the highest number of Muslim arrivals into the country in 2014 with 10.2 million followed by Turkey at 8.1 million. Malaysia scored an Index score of 83.8, followed by Turkey at 73.8 and UAE at 72.1.
Matthew Driver, president, Southeast Asia, MasterCard, said, “We are pleased to partner with Crescent Rating 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 and using our payment products. 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 traveller segment.”