Muslim travel to Asia booms

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KUALA LUMPUR, 5 November 2018: GDP impact of Muslim travel in Asia is forecast to hit USD33 billion by 2020, up 27% from USD26.2 billion in 2017, according to new research unveiled this week.

The region is set grow its market share of global Muslim travel spend to 22% or USD34 billion by the end of the decade, with non-Muslim destinations including China, Thailand and Singapore claiming a large percentage of this inbound expenditure.

The latest findings are in the ‘Global Economic Impact of Muslim Tourism and Future Growth Projection: 2017-2020’ a report issued by Salam Standard.

At the same time, Asia will directly employ 1.2 million in the Muslim travel industry by 2020, more than half the 2.3 million expected to be employed globally by that date, with 700,000 of those jobs in Southeast Asia, while the region’s total direct and indirect employment will reach 2.9 million.

Asia is also starting to generate significant outbound Muslim travel expenditure, which reached USD21 billion in 2017, or 21% of the global share, and is forecast to hit the USD29.6 billion mark by 2020.

Muslim travellers from Malaysia, Indonesia and China will lead the way, according to Salam Standard, contributing 17% of the total global outbound spend by 2020 and outpacing European countries included in the study, who will contribute just 15% between them.

In addition, the total tax impact of global Muslim travel is set to grow from USD19.5 billion in 2017 to USD24 billion by 2020, and China and Thailand are expected to be Asia’s top beneficiaries, accruing USD1.1 billion and USD1billion respectively.

“Asia is one of the top regions driving the growth of the global Muslim travel market, fuelled by a young and aspirational population and an increasingly affluent middle class who are hungry to travel the world in a faith-compatible way, whether for business or leisure,” said Salam Standard and Muslim-friendly hotel booking portal, Tripfez’s co-founder and CEO Faeez Fadhlillah.

“The robust growth in inbound and outbound Muslim tourism expenditure forecast for Asia presents exciting opportunities for Muslim and non-Muslim destinations, which will benefit national and regional economies by boosting GDP and job creation.”

The GDP impact of the global Muslim travel sector is projected to reach USD183 billion by 2020, up from USD148 billion in 2017. The industry will directly and indirectly employ 5.6 million people worldwide by the end of the decade, according to Salam Standard’s report.

Asian destinations looking to capitalise on this projected growth should also look outside the region to key Muslim travel source markets, according to the study, which found the Middle East generated the majority of global outbound spend (61%) at USD62.2 billion.

This is expected to reach USD72 billion by 2020, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE forecast to contribute an impressive 41% of the total Muslim travel spend worldwide by that date.

The report provides travel industry stakeholders, including airlines, airports, hotels, travel start-ups, technology firms, tourism boards, Destination Management Companies and Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), with advice on how to best cater and market to the global Muslim travel community.

“One in three people worldwide will identify as Muslim by 2060 and to disregard this trend would be foolhardy,” said Fadhlillah.

“With the Muslim population growth at 70% compared to the global average of 32%, the Muslim travel market presents many untapped opportunities for countries and organisations that successfully address its needs – and an enormous threat for those who ignore it.”

The full ‘Global Economic Impact of Muslim Tourism and Future Growth Projection: 2017-2020’ report will be launched on Salam Standard (www.salamstandard.org) Tuesday, November 6 during the World Travel Market (WTM) in London.

Fadhlillah will present the report’s top-line findings at the show’s first ever halal tourism seminar, which will highlight the opportunities for mainstream destinations and travel companies to tap into the lucrative Muslim tourism sector.

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