SA ranks in Top 5 destinations for Muslim travellers

2016-03-24 11:30 - Louzel Lombard
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Cape Town - South Africa has maintained its spot among the top five most popular destinations in the global Muslim travel market, according to research released in the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index for 2016.

The study also revealed that in 2015, there were an estimated 117 million Muslim visitor arrivals globally, representing close to 10% of the entire travel market. 

The survey, which covers 130 destinations, saw South Africa come in fourth place again on the list of non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations.

South Africa had an Index score of 53.1 placing it 30th in the overall combined ranking. Singapore scored 68.4 with Thailand posting 59.5. Malaysia had an Index score of 81.9 placing it at the top position in the overall combined ranking.

Singapore retained its pole position for the non-OIC destinations, with Thailand, the UK, South Africa and Hong Kong making up the top five.

The Top 10 non-OIC countries and the Top 10 countries for OIC for Muslim travel are: 

Malaysia kept hold of the top spot for OIC destinations with the UAE moving up to second place while Indonesia jumped two places to take the fourth spot. 

Asia and Europe were also revealed as the two leading regions in the world for attracting Muslim visitors - accounting for 87% of the entire market.

“One of the biggest trends we are seeing is non-OIC destinations making a concerted effort to attract the Muslim tourist and they now represent over 63% of the destinations covered in the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI)," Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating & HalalTrip says. 

"For example, Japan and Philippines have taken some major steps over the last few months to diversify their visitor arrivals.

Matthew Driver, for MasterCard says that successful destinations around the world are also looking to diversify their visitor base to maintain tourist growth rates in today’s increasingly competitive travel market.

"The fast growing Muslim travel segment is an opportunity in plain sight but in order to benefit from it, it is crucial to understand the needs and preferences of Muslim travelers and how to adapt and tailor products and services for them."

The GMTI 2016 is the most comprehensive research available on one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors in the world, which represents 10% of the entire travel economy.  

All 130 destinations in the GMTI were scored against a backdrop of criteria that included suitability as a family holiday destination, the level of services and facilities it provides, accommodation options, marketing initiatives as well as visitor arrivals. 

Each criteria was then weighted to make up the overall index score.  This year, two new criteria - air connectivity and visa restrictions - were added to the Index.    

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