Eight countries from the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region have ranked among the top ten destinations in the global Muslim travel market.
The MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2016, which covers 130 destinations, saw the UAE moving up one spot to second place on the list of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations, with five out of the other six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain, also being placed among the top ten destinations. Malaysia retained its number one position on the list.
South Africa has taken the fourth spot while Singapore has retained its pole position for the non-OIC destinations, with Thailand, United Kingdom and Hong Kong making up the top five.
The study also revealed that in 2015, there were an estimated 117 million Muslim visitor arrivals globally, representing close to 10 percent of the entire travel market. This is forecasted to grow to 168 million visitors by 2020 representing 11 percent of the market segment with a market value spend projected to exceed US$200 billion.
Asia and Europe were the two leading regions in the world for attracting Muslim visitors – accounting for 87 percent of the entire market.
The GMTI 2016 is the most comprehensive research available on one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors in the world, which represents 10 percent of the entire travel economy.
The GMTI looks at in-depth data covering 130 destinations, up from 100 covered in the 2015 index. This is the first time such thorough insights have been provided on one of the world’s fastest-growing tourism sectors.
The Index helps destinations, travel services and investors to track the health and growth of this travel segment while benchmarking their individual progress in reaching out to this growing market.
All 130 destinations in the GMTI have been scored against a backdrop of criteria including suitability as a family holiday destination, the level of services and facilities provided, accommodation options, marketing initiatives as well as visitor arrivals.
Each criterion was then weighted to make up the overall index score. This year, two new criteria – air connectivity and visa restrictions – were added to further enhance the Index.
Malaysia has an Index score of 81.9, followed by UAE at 74.7 and Turkey at 73.9. The highest scoring non-OIC destination were Singapore which scored 68.4 followed by Thailand at 59.5.
Taiwan and Japan have continued to improve their overall rankings. The overall average GMTI score for the complete 130 destinations currently stands at 43.7. From a regional perspective, Asia Pacific destinations lead with an average GMTI score of 56.5.
For a complete archive of more than 60,000 articles published since 1995 search the CardFlash.com library.