Malaysia and Singapore Retain Pole Positions in The US$220 Billion Muslim Travel Market- as Rivals Close in Fast: Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index 2018

April 11, 2018 | Jakarta
    • Malaysia and Singapore retain their position at the top of the list of OIC and non-OIC markets respectively for the eighth consecutive year
    • Indonesia sees a rise in its position and is now tied with United Arab Emirates in second place.
    • Singapore retained its premier position amongst non-OIC destinations with a significant improvement in its standing along with Japan and Taiwan.
    • In 2017, there were an estimated 131 Muslim visitor arrivals globally - up from 121 million in 2016 - representing 10 percent of the entire travel industry.

Malaysia and Singapore have kept their position as the number one destination in the global Muslim travel market as rivals are looking to close the gap fast, according to the leading annual research on the sector.

The Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2018, which covers 130 destinations, saw Malaysia retain the premier spot while Indonesia built on its year-on-year growth by moving up to joint second with the United Arab Emirates in the overall rankings.

The Index also reveals that a number of non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations in Asia moved up the rankings - a result of their concerted effort to adapt their services to cater to and attract the Muslim travel market.

Singapore retained its pole position for the non-OIC destination markets, ahead of Thailand and the United Kingdom while Japan and Taiwan surged into the top five for the first time since the GMTI was released.

The GMTI 2018, officially launched in Jakarta, confirmed the Muslim travel market is on course to continue its fast-paced growth to reach US$220 billion in 2020. It is expected to grow a further US$80 billion to hit US$300 billion by 2026.

In 2017, there were an estimated 131 million Muslim visitor arrivals globally - up from 121 million in 2016 - and this is forecasted to grow to 156 million visitors by 2020 representing 10 percent of the travel segment.

“We are now starting to see the impact of investment and commitment by destinations across the world into the Muslim travel market which is reaping rewards including a real shift in the rankings. The concerted efforts of destinations such as Indonesia, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan using data and insights from the previous GMTI reports have to be commended as they are now closing the gap,” said Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating & HalalTrip.

“This year we have revamped the Index criteria to better reflect the growth strategies implemented by destinations to welcome the Muslim travelers resulting in positive movement across the Index. We have also released the ‘CrescentRating Growth & Innovation Model’ to help destinations practically use this report to strategize growth and innovation for this fast paced travel segment,” added Mr. Bahardeen.

Malaysia scored an Index score of 80.6, followed by UAE and Indonesia at 72.8. In comparison, Singapore which was the highest scoring non-OIC destination, scored 66.2. Taiwan and Japan have continued to improve their overall ranking with the average GMTI scores by region contributing to Asia as the leading region in the world for attracting Muslim visitors followed by Europe.

“It has been a pleasure to work with CrescentRating in providing in-depth insights on the Muslim travel market for related stakeholders in the tourism industry. Many already successful destinations around the world are looking to diversify their visitor base to maintain tourist growth rates in today’s increasingly competitive travel market. The fast growing Muslim travel segment is an opportunity in plain sight but in order to benefit from it, it is crucial to understand the needs and preferences of Muslim travelers and how to adapt and tailor products and services for them. We believe that the GMTI provides real value to businesses and governments looking to tap into this important and growing market segment and hope that this effort will continue to drive Halal tourism,” said Safdar Khan, Division President Indonesia, Malaysia & Brunei, Mastercard.

It is estimated the ASEAN region will welcome over 18 million Muslim visitor arrivals by 2020, representing close to 15% of the visitor arrivals to the region.

“Based on our index, Indonesia continues to strengthen its position as one of the top halal destinations as a result of the support from the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism. They have done a wonderful job in enhancing the tourism landscape of Indonesia, improving the tourism infrastructure, and promoting the “Wonderful Indonesia” campaign overseas,” Safdar Khan added.

The GMTI is now the premier insights-driven data helping destinations, travel services and investors track the health and growth of this travel segment while benchmarking their individual progress in reaching out to the Muslim traveler.

All 130 destinations in the GMTI2018 have been scored against a backdrop of criteria with some new metrics added for this year’s research including the CrescentRating Growth-Innovation Model.

Key metric criteria included access which includes infrastructure; communications and looking at how destinations market themselves to a target audience; environment and services. Each criterion is then weighted to make up the overall index score.

Top 10 OIC Destinations

1 1 Malaysia 80.6
2 2 United Arab Emirates 72.8
2 2 Indonesia 72.8
4 4 Turkey 69.1
5 5 Saudi Arabia 68.7
6 6 Qatar 66.2
7 8 Bahrain 65.9
8 9 Oman 65.1
9 10 Morocco 61.7
10 11 Kuwait 60.5

Top 10 Non-OIC Destinations

1 6 Singapore 66.2
2 16 Thailand 56.1
3 22 United Kingdom 53.8
4 25 Japan 51.4
5 27 Taiwan 49.6
5 27 Hong Kong 49.6
7 32 South Africa 47.7
8 35 Germany 45.7
9 36 France 45.2
10 37 Australia 44.7

The full report is available at:


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Editor’s Notes

About Crescentrating Pte Ltd
CrescentRating is the world’s leading authority on halal-friendly travel. The company’s vision is to lead, innovate and drive this segment through practical and deliverable solutions in what is regarded today as one of the fastest growing segment in the tourism sector. The company uses insight, industry intelligence, life-style, behaviour and research on the needs of the Muslim traveller to deliver guidance on all aspects of halal-friendly travel to organisations across the globe.

CrescentRating’s services now include rating & accreditation, research & consultancy, workshops & training, ranking & indices, event support/partnerships and content provisioning.




About Mastercard
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