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Growing importance of Muslim travel highlighted in new study

Growing importance of Muslim travel highlighted in new study

A new ground-breaking study has revealed Muslim tourists represent a major niche market – worth as much $126.1 billion last year.

The figure is expected to grow at 4.8 per cent per annum through 2020, compared to global average of 3.8 per cent.

In a challenging global economic environment, the study – entitled ‘Global Muslim Lifestyle Travel Market: Landscape & Consumer Needs - highlights how airlines, tourism destinations, and hotels/resorts can benefit by engaging with a market that has a young demographic, is growing in affluence, and is increasingly asserting its unique needs on the tourism industry.

The study has been released by DinarStandard, a New York based marketing research and advisory firm focused on the Muslim markets & Crescentrating, pioneer in the development of Halal-friendly travel.

The study covers the largest outbound and inbound Muslim travel markets.

Examples covered of the many tourism destinations, airlines, and hotels/resorts already engaging with this niche market include, Australia’s Gold Coast that is attracting Muslim tourists by offering a Gold Coast Ramadan Lounge.

However, the study shows that this customer segments needs are yet to be realised.

The study estimates that the global Muslim tourism market of $126.1 billion in outbound expenditure is 12.3 per cent of the total global outbound tourism expenditure in 2011.

The Muslim tourist spending is set to grow to $192 Billion by 2020 representing 13.4 per cent of the global expenditure.

Comparatively, this Muslim tourism market as a whole is larger than the largest spending tourist market in the world - Germany - and almost twice that of China’s in 2011.

“With the rapid growth of the Muslim travellers, there was a need for a comprehensive global study on this segment of travellers.

“This Study will now let travel industry players to evaluate the potential of the Muslim lifestyle travel market by region, and develop key engagement frameworks for a high impact market strategy,” said Fazal Bahardeen, chief executive of Crescentrating.

Key Insights

  • MENA markets represent 60 per cent of total global Muslim tourist outbound expenditure in 2011.
  • The top Outbound Muslim tourism source country in 2011 is Saudi Arabia with followed by Iran, UAE, Indonesia and Kuwait.
  • Muslim communities living in non-Muslim countries also have sizable outbound tourism expenditure share. The largest of these markets are Germany, Russia, France and UK.
  • The top destinations for Muslim tourists are Malaysia, Turkey, and UAE, followed by Singapore, Russia, China France, Thailand and Italy.

The study incorporated a top-down and bottom-up approach conducting a primary survey online focused on top Muslim tourist markets, industry interviews, as well as secondary research utilizing credible sources such as the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), government agency interviews, and other secondary research mechanisms.