Malaysia and Singapore have kept their position as the number one destination in the global Muslim travel market as rivals are looking to close the gap fast, according to the leading annual research on the sector.
The Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2018, which covers 130 destinations, saw Malaysia retain the premier spot while Indonesia built on its year-on-year growth by moving up to joint second with the United Arab Emirates in the overall rankings.
The Index also reveals that a number of non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations in Asia moved up the rankings – a result of their concerted effort to adapt their services to cater to and attract the Muslim travel market.
Singapore retained its pole position for the non-OIC destination markets, ahead of Thailand and the United Kingdom while Japan and Taiwan surged into the top five for the first time since the GMTI was released.
The GMTI 2018, officially launched in Jakarta, confirmed the Muslim travel market is on course to continue its fast-paced growth to reach US$220 billion in 2020. It is expected to grow a further US$80 billion to hit US$300 billion by 2026.
In 2017, there were an estimated 131 million Muslim visitor arrivals globally – up from 121 million in 2016 – and this is forecasted to grow to 156 million visitors by 2020 representing 10 percent of the travel segment.
Malaysia scored an Index score of 80.6, followed by UAE and Indonesia at 72.8. In comparison, Singapore which was the highest scoring non-OIC destination, scored 66.2. Taiwan and Japan have continued to improve their overall ranking with the average GMTI scores by region contributing to Asia as the leading region in the world for attracting Muslim visitors followed by Europe.