Growing Muslim travel market shows preference for city breaks, shopping

More of the tourists surveyed prefer city breaks than beach holidays; pictured, tourists in London

City breaks and shopping are more popular with the world’s fast growing Muslim travel market than beach holidays and museum visits are, according to an IPK International study commissioned by ITB Berlin as part of the World Travel Monitor.

High growth of Muslims travelling abroad
The report identified “the most interesting source markets” when it comes to Muslim travel demand are Indonesia, India, Turkey, Malaysia and the Arab countries.

Source markets with a predominantly Islamic population showed growth rates that were 40% higher in the past five years, compared to the rest of the world.

Muslims are the world’s fastest-growing religious group and by 2030 will make up an estimated 25% of the world’s population.

More of the tourists surveyed prefer city breaks than beach holidays; pictured, tourists in London

City breaks top the list
While city breaks and sun and beach trips are the most popular holiday types, the Muslim travel market presents a different picture, the report said.

For the segment, city breaks top the list with a market share of over one-third, followed by tour holidays and sun and beach holidays.

In general, the report said that holidays are less important for Muslim travellers, who take more trips for business, visiting friends and relatives, and other leisure reasons.

Religious trips and pilgrimages in particular play a much greater role and make up 10% of foreign trips – 10 times higher compared to the rest of the world.

More shopping, less sightseeing
Apart from preferring other types of holidays, Muslims also tend to pursue different activities when travelling, according to the study.

Whenever they visit cities, shopping is on top of the list. In contrast, sightseeing – the number one attraction for other travellers – visiting museums or seeking out good food is less important for this segment.

Also, tour holidays are shaped differently with less focus on sightseeing or museum visits and more focus on nature and shopping instead.

Germany the most popular destination in Europe
For Muslims traveling abroad, the UAE is the most popular destination worldwide. Germany comes second, followed by Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Looking at each continent, over 60% of trips abroad by Muslims go to Asia (including the Middle East) and around one-third to Europe. By comparison, trips to Africa, North and South America only have a very small share of the market.

Young and highly educated
Measured against all other international travellers worldwide the percentage of female travellers from Islamic countries is below average. However, in recent years their numbers have increased steadily.

The study also revealed that Muslim travellers are much younger than average, with 75% aged between 25 and 44.

In terms of education, there is a larger share of those with high education levels.

The World Travel Monitor is based on the results of representative interviews with more than 500,000 people in over 60 global travel markets.

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