With less than a week left for GMTI 2015 to be released, here's a throwback to 2011 – when CrescentRating released its very first Halal travel market research publication on the top Muslim-friendly destinations for 2011. Listed below are the top 10 rankings of the best destinations for Muslim travellers for the year 2011:
1st Place: Malaysia
Malaysia was ranked the best destination for Muslim travellers in 2011. Receiving over 23 million visitors in 2009, the country offers a wealth of facilities for Muslim travellers and has emerged as one of the top destinations to spend a Halal-friendly holiday.
2nd Place: Turkey
Turkey received more than 25 Million visitors in 2009 and it is home to a wide variety of attractions ranging from the Hagia Sophia to the Blue Mosque to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. It has particularly gained popularity amongst Muslim travellers for being a Halal-friendly beach holiday destination.
3rd Place: Egypt
The rich Islamic heritage of Egypt and its abundance of facilities for Muslims have earned it spot number 3 on the list of the top Muslim-friendly countries for 2011. It received nearly 12 million visitors in 2009 and is also a top travel destination worldwide.
4th Place: Morocco
Another African country to make the list, Morocco was ranked the fourth best Muslim-friendly destination for 2011. The country attracted close to 8 million visitors in 2009 and is famed for its fantastic food and cuisine, in addition to its many attractions.
5th Place: Indonesia
Indonesia – the largest Muslim country in the world – was ranked at 5th place. Offering travellers over 17 thousand islands to explore, the country is famed for being an excellent travel destination. Its large Muslim population ensures that plenty of facilities will be available for Muslim travellers to ensure a hassle-free visit. It attracted 6 million visitors in 2009.
6th Place: Thailand
Thailand has been in the forefront of the Halal food industry for a considerable amount of time and is well aware of the needs of Muslim travellers. It earns itself the sixth position on the list of top Muslim-friendly destinations and remains one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, attracting over 14 million visitors in 2010.
7th Place: Sri Lanka
Named the "Number one place to go in 2010" by New York Times, Sri Lanka is an excellent destination for Muslim travellers. With 8% of its population comprising Muslims, travellers will be able to find ample Halal food in the country, as well as many mosques across its cities.
8th Place: Singapore
Singapore is an ideal destination for food, shopping and entertainment. It was ranked 8th on the list of top Muslim-friendly destinations and attracted 8 million visitors in 2009. The country is home to a large Muslim community – with over 70 mosques and Halal food readily available almost everywhere.
9th Place: South Africa
South Africa is one of the best destinations for Nature and Wildlife Tourism. It is also home to a large Muslim population and is home to many travel attractions that cater to the needs of Muslim travellers. Muslim travellers will also be able to find many Halal-certified restaurants in all the major cities.
10th Place: Australia (Gold Coast)
In 2011 the Gold Coast in Australia actively undertook measures to support the needs of all travellers. In order to make Muslim visitors feel comfortable, it implemented many Halal-friendly facilities and services in the area. The Gold Coast was also very active in certifying Halal restaurants in 2011.
A new and updated list of the best Muslim-friendly destinations for travellers will be unveiled when the MasterCard-Crescentrating Global Muslim Travel Index is launched on the 4th of March, 2015. The new Index takes several variables and factors into consideration for its rankings and provides an outlook of the global Muslim travel industry accordingly.