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Malaysia and Indonesia top Muslim travel index


KUALA LUMPUR, 11 April 2019 – For the first time, Malaysia and Indonesia share the top spot in the Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index 2019.

The report includes 130 destinations globally, within and outside the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) [1].

Singapore continues to be the top Muslim-friendly travel destination among non-OIC destinations, followed by Thailand, the United Kingdom, Japan and Taiwan.

The GMTI tracks the health and growth of Muslim-friendly travel destinations in four strategic areas – access, communications, environment and services.

The Muslim travel market is one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in the world, but despite its huge potential, remains relatively untapped.

In 2018, there were an estimated 140 Muslim visitors worldwide – up from 131 million in 2017 – representing 10% of the global travel industry.

By 2026, the Halal travel sector’s contribution to the global economy is expected to jump 35% to USD300 billion, up from USD220 billion in 2020.

By that time, Muslim visitors globally are forecast to grow to 230 million visitors, to represent more than 10% of tourists worldwide.

Climbing up from number two, Indonesia now shares the top spot with Malaysia, with a score of 78 on the Index.

Other OIC countries including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Oman and Brunei continue to be popular with Muslim tourists.

Among non-OIC countries, Singapore, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Japan and Taiwan have retained their positions in the top five and have further improved their scores on the Index.

In a first for South Korea and the Philippines, these countries have entered the top 10 non-OIC destinations, displacing Germany and Australia.

Spain has also entered the list of top 10 non-OIC countries, emerging as a key Halal-friendly European destination for Muslim travellers this year.

In an effort to attract more Muslim tourists, non-OIC destinations have been much more active, as compared with some OIC destinations, in developing their capacity and capability to attract Muslim travellers. For example, destinations such as Spain, South Korea and the Philippines have developed useful resources and travel guides that cater to Muslim preferences by listing best Halal restaurants and nearby prayer facilities. 

Halal Travel 2.0

The Halal travel market has undergone significant changes in recent years. At the start of this decade, businesses, hotels and tour operators provided functional services that catered to the needs of Muslim tourists – Halal Travel 1.0. These offerings included Halal food options, water-friendly washrooms, and prayer facilities.

Driven by the rapid pace of digital and technological transformation, a new phase of Muslim travel is emerging, one that is defined by experience and connectivity – Halal Travel 2.0. Halal Travel 2.0 leverages technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality, to better engage Muslim travellers in the digital age. 

CrescentRating has defined five categories that can help further develop the Halal travel sector. The Halal Travel Development Goals provide an overarching framework that serves as a blueprint for the travel industry. Organizations and partners can use these goals to guide their growth strategies in the Halal travel sector.

Five goals

Integration, Diversity and Faith: Enable Muslims to be active citizens of the global community while remaining spiritual.

Heritage, Culture and Connection: Connect Muslim travellers to one another, to the local community, and to the heritage and history of their chosen destination.

Education, Insights and Capabilities: Enhance understanding among communities. Increase academic and industry knowledge that can improve the capabilities of stakeholders.

Industry, Innovation and Trade: Create new opportunities to increase commerce through tourism and drive growth across multiple sectors.

Well-Being and Sustainable Tourism: Recognize the responsibilities of stakeholders in the travel sector and the social impact on travellers, the wider community and the environment.

“As the Muslim travel market continues to grow and evolve, we believe, this report along with the ‘Halal Travel Frontier 2019’ report released earlier this year, sets the stage for the next phase of development in this unique travel segment- Halal Travel 2.0. The report also presents the five ‘Halal Travel Development Goals’ as well as the updated ‘Muslim Faith-Based Services Needs’ to help all stakeholders develop clear plans to grow the market,” said CrescentRating & HalalTrip CEO Fazal Bahardeen

“Mastercard is committed to working with partners to expand this dynamic travel segment. As more Muslim travellers explore the globe, they will need a trusted, safe, and secure digital payments solutions,” said Mastercard division president Indonesia, Malaysia & Brunei Safdar Khan.

The full report is available at:

Top 10 OIC Destinations

1 1 Malaysia 78
1 1 Indonesia 78
3 3 Turkey 75
4 4 Saudi Arabia 72
5 5 United Arab Emirates 71
6 6 Qatar 68
7 7 Morocco 67
8 8 Bahrain 66
8 8 Oman 66
10 10 Brunei 65

Top 10 Non-OIC Destinations

1 10 Singapore 65
2 18 Thailand 57
3 25 United Kingdom 53
3 25 Japan 53
3 25 Taiwan 53
6 29 South Africa 52
7 31 Hong Kong 51
8 34 South Korea 48
9 36 France 46
9 36 Spain 46
9 36 Philippines 46

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