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Emergence of Muslim Women Travelers as a Sub-segment

Nov 2019

The Muslim Women in Travel 2019 report is the latest research by Mastercard and CrescentRating. Women travelers represent one of the fastest-growing segments within the travel market. It is estimated that they represent two-thirds of international travelers. Muslim women travelers are a subset of the women traveler population.

In 2018, there were an estimated 63 million Muslim women travelers - making up 45% of the global Muslim visitor arrivals. Muslim women travelers are an emerging sub-segment of the Muslim Travel Market. They present a unique set of lifestyle preferences and behavior patterns in their travel consumption. It is vital to gain a deeper understanding of their travel motivations and decision-making process.

Insights on Muslim women travelers are based on an online survey and interviews conducted with more than 3300 respondents over a 4-month period in 2019 with majority of the respondents coming from the South East Asia region. There were 6 age groups examined: 18-24 (Gen Z), 25-34 (Millennials), 35-44 (Millennials and Gen X), 45-54 (Gen X), 55-64 (Baby Boomers), 65+ (Baby Boomers and Traditionalists).

The report seeks to evaluate and understand the potential of the Muslim women traveler market for tourism destinations, tour operators, airlines, and other businesses in the tourism and hospitality industries. The research areas examined include: (1) use of social media, (2) travel profiles, (3) travel motivations, (4) trip planning patterns, (5) challenges and prejudices and (6) travel experiences sought.

Some of the key drivers to the rise of Muslim women travelers include the rapid growth of young and educated Muslim women population and the growth of middle class in countries with large Muslim populations such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Gulf countries. Since the year 2000, there has been 50% increase in Muslim women participation in the workforce across diverse sectors. Many of these women have higher disposable incomes and, along with the global trend of proliferation of women travelers, are empowered to travel, discover and experience destinations.

The younger women who are driving the growth of this segment will be entering their peak earnings and spending more on travel within the next decade.

Listed below are the top Muslim women outbound markets categorized according to OIC and non-OIC.

Top 10 OIC:

  1. Indonesia

  2. Malaysia

  3. Saudi Arabia

  4. United Arab Emirates

  5. Kuwait

  6. Turkey

  7. Egypt

  8. Iran

  9. Kazakhstan

  10.  Nigeria

Top 5 Non-OIC:

  1. India

  2. United Kingdom

  3. France

  4. Germany

  5. Russia

Top Muslim Women-Friendly Destinations

Based on the survey, the top 4 destinations that are seen to be Muslim women-friendly are Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Indonesia. All of these destinations are OIC countries and have consistently ranked high in the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI).

These destinations have many Muslim travel services such as halal food, prayer spaces and recreational spaces with privacy. Non-OIC destinations that made it to the list includes Japan, Singapore, South Korea, United Kingdom and Australia.

 Download the full report here



Saadia Zahidi (2018) Fifty Million Rising: The New Generation of Working Women Transforming the Muslim World


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