In addition to the increasing availability of Muslim-friendly travel services, another key factor driving the demand of Muslim travel is the growth in the Muslim population itself and the rise of younger Muslim travelers. Here's a closer look at three key segments of Muslim travelers set to be the new movers and shakers of Muslim travel and what this means for the industry.
Although definitions vary, Gen Y (also known as Millennials) are those born in the 1980s to mid 1990s. This generation grew up having to adapt to a rapidly changing and wired world and learnt to adopt the internet into their everyday lives as they were transiting into the professional world.
Gen Z (also known as post-Millennials), are those born after the mid 1990s. Most of this generation never knew a life without the internet. As such, this group is extremely connected with each other and the environment around them.
Research by CrescentRating’s sister brand – HalalTrip, an online travel platform suggests that both Gen Y and Gen Z represent an important youth travel segment in the Muslim Travel Market. The global Muslim population is projected to rapidly grow largely because of its standing as the youngest population of all major religious groups, with an average age of 23 – 7 years younger than global average. As it is, global youth travel constitutes 25% of the annual travel visitor arrivals with the figure amounting to 1.1 billion.
Destinations and service providers need to ensure that their brands adapt to become well connected to the environments of Gen Y and Gen Z. As the internet and social environments play key roles in their everyday lives, the Muslim travel industry must evolve their offerings to ensure that their brands are reintroduced to these new segments and that their Muslim-friendly services are Authentic, Affordable and Accessible to these young segments.
Beyond demographics, there is also an underlying spirit and behavior binding the new younger Muslim generation. Gen M is a segment of Muslims who believe in encompassing both faith and modernity in their everyday lives, without shortchanging either dimensions. They are strong in their opinions, are not afraid to speak their minds, and are also trend and cultural setters with new vocabulary such Mipsterz and Haloodies. More importantly, with the internet they are truly a connected community (ummah).
With the rise of the mindset that is Gen M, destinations and service providers need to become more inclusive and involve this unique segment in the creation of their products and services or risk being substituted by the entrepreneurial nature of Gen M. In essence, this segment wants to be activated, and the Muslim travel industry can now tap on the potential collective ideas and contributions of Gen M to move from adaptation to innovation. Ethics and transparency will also be valued greatly, and the Muslim travel industry must appeal to both the faith and practical dimensions that Gen M seek. Brands which can enable Gen M to find their voices globally will be admired and advocated in return.
The full GMTI 2017 report is available here: https://www.crescentrating.com/reports/mastercard-crescentrating-global-muslim-travel-index-gmti-2017.html