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Trailblazing Change: The Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) Transformation Over Time

Sep 2023

Since its inception, the Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) has undergone a remarkable journey of evolution and expansion, transforming itself into a pivotal tool in the world of travel assessment. Originally known as the Crescentrating Annual Ranking, this index started in 2011 by assessing only the top 10 Muslim-friendly destinations. However, this modest beginning was just the tip of the iceberg for what would later become an essential global Muslim travel market resource.

From 10 to 140 Destinations: A Decade of Growth

In its early years, GMTI's focus was limited, examining only a handful of destinations to determine their Muslim-friendliness. However, with each passing year, it expanded its horizons. In 2012, the index covered 20 destinations, demonstrating its growing importance. The following year marked a significant leap as it evolved into the Crescentrating Halal Friendly Travel (CRaHFT) Ranking, encompassing 50 destinations in 2013 and expanding to 60 in 2014. This transformation signaled a more comprehensive emphasis on Halal-friendly services and facilities in the travel industry.

The Birth of the Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI)

The year 2015 marked a pivotal moment in GMTI's history as CrescentRating partnered with Mastercard to take the index to the next level. With this partnership, it was rebranded as the Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI). This rebranding emphasized the global nature of Muslim travel and the need for an industry-wide standardized benchmark. Simultaneously, the number of destinations evaluated surged to 100, underlining the widening scope and recognition of Muslim travel needs. This transformation underscored GMTI's commitment to providing comprehensive insights into destinations for Muslim travelers.

Steady Expansion and a Temporary Pause

From 2016 to 2019, GMTI continued to expand its reach, evaluating a total of 130 destinations. The index was on a consistent growth trajectory, promising a more inclusive assessment of the global travel landscape for Muslim travelers. However, the unforeseen global pandemic in 2020 led to a temporary pause in the ranking. The travel industry faced unprecedented challenges, forcing GMTI to pause its assessments for 2020 temporarily.

Resuming Assessment: Stability and Recovery

Despite the setbacks caused by the pandemic, GMTI made a triumphant return in 2021, resuming its evaluation with an even broader scope. It assessed 140 destinations, reaffirming its commitment to providing valuable insights to Muslim travelers and the global travel industry. Over the past two years, 2022 and 2023, GMTI has maintained its assessment of 138 destinations, signaling stability and consistency in the wake of the ongoing recovery and growth of the global travel industry post-pandemic.

Impact on Muslim Travel

The Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index has not only evolved but also made a significant impact on Muslim travel over the past decade. It has played a vital role in helping Muslim travelers make informed choices about destinations that cater to their needs, promoting inclusivity in the travel industry, and encouraging destinations to become more Muslim-friendly.

A Vital Benchmark for the Travel Industry

Today, GMTI is a vital benchmark for the travel industry, guiding travelers and businesses alike. It assesses destinations on the availability of Halal-friendly services and various other factors that matter to Muslim travelers, including prayer facilities, accommodations, and overall hospitality. This holistic approach ensures that travelers comprehensively understand a destination's suitability for their specific needs.

The Ongoing Journey

As GMTI celebrates its journey of evolution and impact, it continues to evolve further. With each passing year, it adapts to changing travel trends and the evolving needs of Muslim travelers. Its commitment to providing valuable insights and fostering inclusivity in the travel industry remains unwavering.


The Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) has come a long way since its inception. It started as a modest ranking of just ten destinations and grew into a comprehensive assessment of 138 destinations worldwide. Its journey underscores the increasing importance of catering to the needs of Muslim travelers in the global tourism landscape. GMTI's impact on the travel industry and its commitment to inclusivity testify to its enduring significance. As the travel industry continues to recover and adapt post-pandemic, GMTI remains a beacon of guidance for Muslim travelers and a driver of positive change in the travel sector.

Visit this link to download the GMTI 2023 full report!

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