The Muslim travel market is expected to expand rapidly over the next couple of years. The market segment was worth as much as $145 billion in 2014, with 108 million Muslim travellers representing 10% of the entire travel economy. In response to this, the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) was launched to provide in-depth Muslim travel insights on travel and tourism services, to let travellers around the globe better understand the various facilities and services offered by holiday destinations to Muslim travellers.
The travel insights of GMTI 2015 benefit all those in the hospitality sector – travellers, tourism boards, economists, travel service providers, stakeholders, industry specialists and more. It can be used as a tool to provide an understanding of how Muslim travel impacts the overall travel market.
When ranking destinations based on how well they cater to Muslim travellers, GMTI 2015 focuses on three main areas: the destination's suitability as a holiday destination, family friendliness and safety; the Muslim-friendly services and facilities available at the destination; and the Halal awareness and reach out to Muslims by the destination.
1. Muslim visitor arrivals
2. Family-friendliness of the holiday destination
3. Safe travel environment
4. Dining options and Halal assurance
5. Ease of access to prayer places
6. Airport services and facilities
7. Accommodation options
8. Muslim travel market awareness and reach out
9. Ease of communication
Based on the above criteria, a total of 100 destinations including 29 OIC destinations and 71 non-OIC destinations were analysed for GMTI 2015.
The results saw the emergence of Malaysia as the best Muslim-friendly destination in the OIC destination category– for the fifth year in a row – followed by Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Singapore was ranked first in the non-OIC destination category Singapore ranks first, with Thailand, UK, South Africa and France making up the top five. The top 100 destinations that were ranked also account for more than 95% of the total Muslim visitor arrivals for the year 2014.
The Primary Index – GMTI40 – tracks the average score of the top 20 OIC and top 20 non-OIC destinations to form a key index to monitor the performance of the Muslim travel segment throughout the year. The GMTI40 will be updated quarterly to provide frequent monitoring of the sector.