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The special needs of Muslim women that the travel industry needs to consider

Muslim tourists globally represent the fastest growing travel segment in the world. With most of these travelers being young and married with families the decision process on where to holiday will be made by all the members in the family. The comfort level of the women and the facilities available to them will play an important role in deciding the holiday destination of these Muslim families. Like all holiday makers Muslim travelers too want to enjoy every single activity and experience the country through its sights sounds and flavors. Muslim travelers do have certain unique needs in comparison to their counterparts when they travel, like halal food, prayer facilities, separate leisure facilities and family activities, which is why they will have to look for destinations that have Muslim friendly-facilities so that they can enjoy their holiday like every other individual.

The potential to capture the Muslim tourism market is making countries and travel and tourism related businesses offer better facilities to encourage more Muslim travelers to choose to visit their respective countries. In order to cater to this segment of travelers, their unique needs will have to be met. Being able to find halal food in the chosen holiday destination is very important, as experiencing a destination through its cuisine is one of the best ways to discover and enjoy a country. Muslim travelers will also need to locate prayer facilities in their holiday destination; as missing their prayer is not an option. Although travelers can shorten and combine prayers, abandoning it completely is a major sin, therefore when Muslim travelers research destinations for their vacation they are also sure to look into the availability of prayer facilities. Some mosques only offer prayer facilities for men, thus leaving the women without a place to offer their prayers. With more women traveling and working, Masjids need to have a separate area for these women to take wudhu and pray as well.

Other special needs of Muslim women that should be considered are, providing separate recreational and leisure facilities in hotels and other recreation areas. As Muslim women need to adhere to the Islamic teachings and dress appropriately as well as not socialize with anyone unrelated from the opposite sex, certain aspects of a holiday are not possible for them. Swimming in a mixed swimming pool, visiting a mixed spa facility or other social activities where they might not be able to dress in accordance to the teachings of the religion is not allowed. In the past, most Muslim women missed out on many fun and relaxing activities but now with some countries catering to the demands of this growing segment of travelers, Muslim women are able to enjoy quite a few of these activities too. Some hotels have separate swimming pools for men and women, while others have separate timings for women to use the swimming pool. They also have separate spa facilities where women and men are able to enjoy a relaxing massage in the privacy of an enclosed area. Even a beach holiday can now be enjoyed by Muslim women as there are beaches which are completely secluded and are for women only.

In the past women were happy just sitting on the sidelines while their husbands and kids took part in all the activities. However in more recent times women too want to enjoy all that their husbands, brothers, fathers and sons enjoy. These women are educated and adventurous and demand better facilities and are finally getting what they deserve as travel related businesses are finally realizing that in order to capture the growing Muslim travel segment they need to make women happy as well, and this can be accomplished only by providing better facilities for them and making sure their needs have been considered when creating and marketing holiday packages.