In the vibrant setting of the Halal in Travel Global Summit 2023, hosted by CrescentRating, a panel discussion took center stage, featuring the voices of the next generation of Muslim travelers - the Gen Zs. Born in the late 1990s to the early 2010s, these tech-savvy travelers are set to redefine the travel industry with their distinctive preferences and perspectives. As their spending power grows, destinations around the world are compelled to ponder how they can effectively appeal to this dynamic generation.
Powered by technology and an interest in authentic cultural experiences, Gen Z Muslim travelers are not merely following the beaten path. Today, we delve into the intriguing minds of Gen Zs, represented by esteemed panelists from HalalTrip—Siti Sufiyyatun Mohamad Sani, Adrie Yadi, Nur Hazirah Jamaludin, Muhammad Jodi Pratama, and Adila Ilma—as they share their thoughts on travel preferences and the significance of halal travel experiences.
Food plays a central role in the lives of Gen Z Muslim travelers. According to Hazirah, she has a passion for trying diverse cuisines, with a particular interest in authentic local street food. Destinations known for their vibrant food scenes and culinary offerings highly appeal to this generation. Sufi echoed the sentiment and emphasized the importance of having access to halal food and Muslim-owned establishments.
Social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok heavily influence Gen Z's travel decisions in the digital age. They seek picturesque destinations with stunning aesthetics that are visually appealing. Adrie shared experiences from Japan, Korea, and Paris, where Gen Z travelers are captivated by unique spots that provide an opportunity to capture special moments that are exclusive to those places. The desire to share visually appealing experiences on social media creates a compelling draw for this tech-savvy generation.
Jodi highlighted budget considerations for Gen Z travelers. With limited financial resources, Gen Zs tend to prioritize cost-saving options for accommodations and transportation. Gen Zs appreciate destinations that offer various budget-friendly accommodation options and are transparently listed online with authentic reviews from previous travelers. While affordability is crucial, providing inclusive experiences for Muslim travelers, such as prayer facilities in hostels, enhances the appeal of a destination.
For Sufi, immersive cultural experiences are a top priority when traveling. Gen Z travelers look beyond tourist hotspots and seek local immersion better to understand a destination's culture and way of life. This preference reflects their desire to engage meaningfully with the communities they visit, gaining unique insights and reflections on their own lives.
Adila highlighted the diverse mindset among Gen Z travelers. While some seek safety and security when traveling, others embrace adventure and spontaneity. This generation is characterized by its willingness to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations and venture beyond traditional tourist sites. Adrie further emphasized that safety concerns may not be at the forefront for some adventurous Gen Zs, who prefer to focus on enjoying their experiences to the fullest.
Beyond the panel's discussion, food tourism emerged as a prominent trend for Gen Z travelers. Exploring local cuisines has become a means to connect with people and cultures worldwide. Food has the power to transcend language barriers, bringing travelers and locals closer through shared gastronomic experiences. The demand for halal-certified or Muslim-owned food establishments has fueled a culinary tourism surge, enriching Gen Zs' travel experiences.
Jodi highlighted the importance of inclusivity and empathy in the travel industry. Being mindful of different religious needs and cultural sensitivities creates an environment where all travelers feel welcome and respected. Halal travel, as Sufi explained, goes beyond just food preferences. It also encompasses prayer facilities and accommodations catering to Muslim travelers' needs, fostering a sense of belonging and ease.
Jodi believes that responsible tourism is a growing concern among Gen Z travelers. They increasingly seek opportunities to give back to local communities, volunteer, and engage in sustainable travel practices. Participating in educational and philanthropic activities while abroad offers a deeper understanding of global issues and cultivates gratitude for one's privileges.
Gen Z Muslim travelers are a dynamic force reshaping the travel industry. Their preferences, from culinary adventures to immersive cultural experiences, influence how destinations cater to their needs. Inclusivity, empathy, and a desire for authentic engagement underscore their travel choices. As technology continues to evolve, social media will play an essential role in inspiring and guiding Gen Z travelers on their quest for meaningful and unforgettable experiences across the globe.
More information and sessions of Halal In Travel Global Summit 2023 are available through this link!