KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — Malaysia is the most popular destination with global Muslim travellers for the third year, according to MasterCard’s Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2017.
Respondents ranked Malaysia ahead of the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia as the most visited destination in the Muslim travel market out of 130 major nations surveyed.
The report co-published with CresentRating, a leading authority in halal travel and tourism, stated that the countries were ranked based on how well they cater to Muslim travellers.
Singapore topped the list for non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations that are Muslim friendly, followed by Thailand and the United Kingdom.
Among the criteria considered when ranking nations were ease of access, communication and outreach, environment and services.
The study also highlighted six major faith-based needs of Muslim travellers, which are halal food, prayer facilities, ablution-friendly washrooms, Ramadhan services, no non-Halal activities and recreational facilities, and services with privacy.
Muslim tourism is set to be a US$220 billion (RM950 billion) industry by the year 2020.
Muslim travellers rose from 117 million in 2015 to 121 million last year, and are predicted to grow to 156 million visitors in 2020.
The GMTI also found that Asia was the most attractive continent for Muslim tourists followed by Africa, Oceania and Europe.