Malaysia has retained its position as the top performing destination in global Muslim travel market which is expected to be worth US$220 billion by 2020, Bernama News reported.
The Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2017, which covers 130 destinations, saw Malaysia keep the top spot, while Indonesia moved up to third place in the overall rankings.
All 130 destinations in the GMTI were scored against a backdrop of four key strategic criteria – access, communications, environment and services.
The index shows a number of non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations in Asia move up the rankings, a result of the concerted effort to adapt their services to cater to and attract the Muslim travel market.
Singapore retained its pole position for the non-OIC destinations, with Thailand, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Hong Kong rounding up the top five. Japan moved up two places to take sixth spot with Spain entering the top 10 for the first time.
Asia has remained the leading region in the world in terms of attractiveness for Muslim tourists with an average GMTI score of 57.6, with Africa coming in second at 47.0, followed by Oceania (43.8), Europe (39.9) and the Americas (33.7)
“We are definitely seeing the influence of a new breed of young travelers, millennials and Gen Z who are combining technology with a real desire to explore the world, while still adhering to their faith-based needs,” Chief Executive Officer of CrescentRating & HalalTrip, Fazal Bahardeen said.
“They will be the driving force for the next phase of growth. These younger travelers 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,” he added.