Foreword by Safdar Khan, Division President, South East Asia Mastercard for Global Muslim Travel Index 2022.
A travel boom is on the horizon, after what has been a turbulent two years for the industry.
Tourists are taking to the skies again, as countries relax travel restrictions and reopen borders. There are signs to show that travel is on the verge of a comeback as people look to reconnect, as well as explore new destinations and create new experiences.
Research from the Mastercard Economics Institute shows that for the first time since the pandemic, global leisure and business flight bookings have surpassed pre-pandemic levels. In Asia Pacific, if current flight trends continue, the region will see an estimated 430 million more passengers than the year prior, with pentup demand and savings likely to help fuel this growth.
As we navigate the new economy in a less restricted, post-vaccine environment, Mastercard’s research finds travelers spending more money on experiences, rather than on things when in the destination. This trend is also being witnessed in Asia, where Singapore recorded one of the highest international tourist spends on in-destination experiences. Other markets across the region, however, revealed a more mixed picture, with low levels of inbound tourism seen in Indonesia and South Korea, whose borders opened in April this year.
As travel starts to take off again, it appears to have taken on a new meaning – people don’t just want to see the world, but rather, they want to experience the world.
At Mastercard, we believe that for the travel industry to recover sustainably, there is a need to ensure all players in this field can find opportunities for success. This requires considering what travelers are looking for, understanding how people’s habits have evolved over the last two years, and adapting to technology trends to ensure new demands are being met. With the rise of environmental sustainability, businesses must look beyond developing personalized travel experiences, and consider how they may incorporate sustainability in their offerings.
Asia Pacific is renowned for its popularity with Muslim travelers. As queues and crowds once again become a familiar sight at airports, it is important to look at the changing nature of travel, and the shifts in the demographics of Muslim travelers due to the rising influence of Gen Z, Millennials, and women.
Mastercard is deeply committed to supporting a full and resilient recovery of global travel across all travelers’ profiles. That’s why we continually collaborate with our partners – HalalTrip and CrescentRating – to develop insights for businesses and governments, and to build new capabilities to offer safe, seamless, and exciting travel experiences.
Check out the Global Muslim Travel Index 2022 here.