The 2nd release of the annual report, MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index 2016 is the most comprehensive research done on the Halal/Muslim travel, tourism and hospitality market. A collaboration between MasterCard and CrescentRating, it analyses 130 destinations across the globe to create an Index to benchmark destinations in the Muslim Travel Market.
The second edition of the Global Muslim Travel Index, an annual report that ranks the top Muslim-friendly travel destinations in the world, has revealed this year’s top destinations.
The 2016 index is the most comprehensive research done on the Muslim travel and tourism market, created after analyzing the in-depth data of 130 destinations across the globe, according to Crescent Rating, the leading Muslim travel rating and accreditation firm behind the index.
The GMTI, which is a collaboration between Crescent Rating and MasterCard, ranks the world’s travel destinations according to a set of criteria.
The 2016 GMTI evaluated travel destinations according to 11 criteria categorized into three themes: Credibility as a family-friendly holiday and safe travel destination, Muslim-friendly services and facilities at the destination and halal awareness and destination marketing.
These are the GMTI’s top 10 Muslim-friendly travel destinations for 2016.
Malaysia, a popular tourism destination where more than 60 percent of the population is Muslim, topped the global ranking for the second time in a row. It scored a perfect 100 in both the criteria of ease of access to prayer areas and airport facilities.
2. United Arab Emirates
A country quite familiar with topping global rankings, the UAE also scored a 100 in ease of access to prayer areas. It scored highly in all other criteria, including a 99 in air connectivity, except for the criteria of Muslim visitor arrivals where it got a score of 41.
Turkey, a popular holiday destination for Middle East and North African travelers, fittingly scored the highest in the criteria of Muslim visitor arrivals with a score of approximately 93. However, it got a low score in the criteria of ease of communication, which evaluates proficiency in the languages Muslims speak the most.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country with more than 85 percent of the population being Muslim, fittingly scored a 100 in ease of access to prayer spaces. It also scored highly in dining options with halal assurance and visa requirements, where it got a score higher than those of the UAE and Turkey.
Like Malaysia, Qatar scored a 100 in both airport facilities and ease of access to prayer spaces and it scored highly in most of the other criteria. However, it scored the lowest of all the top 10 countries in visitor arrivals, and also got a low score in awareness about the needs of Muslim travelers.
6. Saudi Arabia
Arguably the country most accustomed to Muslim travelers, Saudi Arabia unsurprisingly scored highly in most criteria, also receiving a 100 in airport facilities and ease of access to prayer spaces. However, it surprisingly got a score of only 31 in the criteria that evaluates awareness of the Muslim travel market and its needs, as well as specific outreach to this segment.
Like Saudi Arabia, Oman also scored low in awareness of the Muslim travel market and its needs, sharing the lowest score in the top 10 at only 25. But like all of the Gulf countries, Oman scored highly in safety of travel, airport facilities and ease of access to prayer spaces.
Unlike Malaysia and Indonesia, Singapore is a southeast Asian country with a small Muslim population. Yet, the country scored highly in both dining options with halal assurance and ease of access to prayer areas. Surprisingly, Singapore scored higher than all of the MENA countries in the top 10 in awareness of the Muslim travel market and its needs, receiving a score of 51.
Morocco, the only North African country in the top 10, scored highly in most categories. As another popular tourist destination, it fittingly scored higher than all of the MENA countries in the top 10 in credibility as a family holiday destination.
Although Jordan slipped two spots from last year, it still got high scores in most criteria. However, the popular tourist destination got low scores in the criteria of accommodation and credibility as a family destination.