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Malaysia and Singapore Retain Top Spots in the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index 2016

Singapore, 23 March 2016 - Malaysia and Singapore have retained their positions as the top destinations in the global Muslim travel market, according to the most comprehensive research released on this the sector.

The MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2016, which covers 130 destinations, saw Malaysia keep its number one position on the list of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations with the UAE moving up one spot to second place.

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

The study also revealed that in 2015, there were an estimated 117 million Muslim visitor arrivals globally, representing close to 10 percent of the entire travel market. This is forecasted to grow to 168 million visitors by 2020 equal to 11 percent of the market segment with a market value projected to exceed US$200 billion.

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

“The MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index 2016 has now become the number one tool for destinations around the world to realign their strategies to reach out to the Muslim consumer. 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 percent of the destinations covered in the GMTI. For example, Japan and Philippines have taken some major steps over the last few months to diversify their visitor arrivals and boost their economy in the process,” said Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating & HalalTrip.

“Many already successful destinations around the world are 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. We believe that the GMTI provides real value to businesses and governments looking to tap into this important market segment,” said Matthew Driver, Group Executive, Global Products & Solutions, Asia Pacific, MasterCard.

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

The GMTI looks at in-depth data covering 130 destinations, up from 100 in 2015. This is the first time such thorough insights have been provided on one of the world’s fastest-growing tourism sectors.

The Index helps destinations, travel services and investors to track the health and growth of this travel segment while benchmarking their individual progress in reaching out to this growing market.

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 further enhance the Index. 

Malaysia had an Index score of 81.9, followed by UAE at 74.7 and Turkey at 73.9. In comparison, the highest scoring non-OIC destination Singapore scored 68.4 with second place Thailand at 59.5.

Taiwan and Japan have continued to improve their overall rankings and the average GMTI scores by region show Asia as the leading region.

The overall average GMTI score for the complete 130 destinations currently stands at 43.7.  From a regional perspective, Asia Pacific destinations lead with an average GMTI score of 56.5.

 

The top 10 OIC destinations in the GMTI 2016

RANK

GMTI 2016 RANK

DESTINATION

SCORE

1

1

Malaysia

81.9

2

2

United Arab Emirates

74.7

3

3

Turkey

73.9

4

4

Indonesia

70.6

5

5

Qatar

70.5

6

6

Saudi Arabia

70.4

7

7

Oman

70.3

8

9

Morocco

68.3

9

10

Jordan

65.4

10

11

Bahrain

63.3

 

The top 10 non-OIC destinations in the GMTI 2016

RANK

GMTI 2016 RANK

DESTINATION

SCORE

1

8

Singapore

68.4

2

20

Thailand

59.5

3

21

United Kingdom

59.0

4

30

South Africa

53.1

5

31

Hong Kong

53.0

6

31

France

51.6

7

33

Taiwan

50.1

8

34

Japan

49.1

9

35

Sri Lanka

49.0

10

36

United States

48.9

 

The full report is available here: https://www.crescentrating.com/gmti/index.html

About the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2016

First launched in 2015, the GMTI has now become the premier resource in benchmarking destinations across the world on how they are engaging with one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors in the world – the Muslim travel market.

While the GMTI 2015 covered 100 destinations, the 2016 Index has been expanded to include 130 destinations from across the world. The GMTI is not only of assistance to Muslim travellers but also helps the travel industry and investors to understand and keep track of the growth potential each destination has to offer.

All 130 destinations in the GMTI were scored against a backdrop of criteria which included suitability as a family holiday destination, the level of services and facilities it provides, accommodation options, marketing initiatives, air connectivity, as well as visitor arrivals. Each criteria was then weighted to make up the overall index score.