PUTRAJAYA August 27, 2012: The Muslim tourist sector is booming and Malaysia has been hailed in an independent study as a top destination for the multi-billion dollar industry.
“Based on the number of trips, the top destinations for Muslim tourists are Malaysia, Turkey and UAE.
“The next six markets are Singapore, Russia, China, France, Thailand, and Italy,” stated the Global Muslim Lifestyle Travel Market: Landscape & Consumer Needs Study survey conducted by United States-based marketing research firm DinarStandard.
It estimated that the Muslim tourism market was worth US$126.1bil (RM390bil) last year, or 12.3% of the world's outbound tourism expenditure, surpassing Germany as the largest-spending tourist market and almost twice that of China's tourist spending last year.
The survey had 992 Muslim tourist respondents between May and June and was produced in partnership with the Singapore-basedCrescentrating travel portal.
In the report, Malaysia was highlighted for catering to Muslim tourists' needs.
For 67% of the survey respondents, having halal food options was marked as the most important factor in choosing a travel destination.
According to the survey, a quarter of the international tourism expenditure growth between 2005 to 2010 was produced by mostly Muslim-majority nations who are also member countries of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
In 2010, travellers originating from Asian countries made up 30% of the total global tourist source.
“There is a multi-billion dollar customer base whose latent needs are yet to be met by the tourism industry.
“Muslim tourists may very well be the largest untapped niche market of the tourism industry,” said the report.