The latest Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2023 Report – which ranks 138 destinations – has a new tool that offers insight into Muslim Women Friendly Destinations for the first time.
According to CrescentRating’s CEO Fazal Bahardeen, only the top 10 destinations were ranked for 2023, but all 138 destinations will be scored in the 2024 index.
Three other new tools in the eighth edition, launched last week, also include the Muslim Travel Intent Tracker, Muslim Traveller Responsible Tourism Framework and the GMTI Performance Matrix.
Fazal noted the 82-page report – the longest so far – offers deeper insight and recommendations regarding this demographic of 110 million international arrivals in 2022 and is forecast to reach 140 million this year.
“By 2028, Muslim arrivals are expected to hit 230 million, with projected expenditure of US$225 billion,” he said, adding that GMTI will start researching Gen Z travellers and the Muslim cruise market.
Fazal also announced the introduction of “live tracking” by the 1H2024.
Safdar Khan, division president, South-east Asia, Mastercard, said the GMTI showed faith-based travellers had evolved in their needs.
Both organisations shared the same commitment in using the power of data and insight to create more relevant solutions and unearth new economic opportunities, he added.
Malaysia, which has dominated as the number one Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destination, shared the 2023 ranking with Indonesia, followed by Saudi Arabia in the top three positions.
Among non-OIC destinations, Singapore was number one, followed by the UK and Taiwan.
Malaysia was in top spot again in the Muslim Women Friendly Destination, while Indonesia and Qatar were joint second among OIC countries. Singapore, Taiwan and Japan were the top three for non-OIC countries.
The report found that global travel behaviour was impacting trends among Muslim travellers, with the demographic increasingly incorporating sustainability into their travel; opting for destinations and activities to improve their health and wellness; finding opportunities for immersive experiences and authenticity; and incorporating personal development into their travel plans.