Young Muslims to drive $300 billion boom in Islamic travel: study

DAILY SABAH WITH AFP
ISTANBUL
Published 26.10.2017 13:16
A young tourist snaps a photo of Istanbul's Blue Mosque on a foggy day (Sabah Photo File)
A young tourist snaps a photo of Istanbul's Blue Mosque on a foggy day (Sabah Photo File)

Young Muslims worldwide are expected to almost double their spending on travel in the coming years, driving a boom in Islamic tourism that will make the sector worth $300 billion, a study said Thursday.

Halal travel, a term used to describe tourism geared toward Muslims, has grown recently, with airports, restaurants and hotels seeking to provide Muslim-friendly facilities and services, such as prayer rooms and halal food outlets.

Fazal Bahardeen, chief executive of Islamic travel specialist HalalTrip, which carried out the study with Mastercard, said older Muslims typically travel in large families once a year while young Muslims, aged 20 to 36, take multiple trips.

"Travel within this young generation of Muslims is booming as consumers with more disposable income seek more exotic experiences and far-flung destinations than their parents," said Fazal.

"Their per-trip expenditure could be lower than the earlier generation but since they make multiple trips per year, their overall expenditure is higher."

Fazal said that within the next five to 10 years, many Muslims would be entering the stage of their lives where they earn, spend and travel the most.

Spending on travel during 2016 for young Muslims was at around $55 billion, while the total Muslim travel segment was worth $156 billion, he added.

The figures are expected to increase respectively to $100 billion by 2025 and $300 billion by 2026, the study said.

The research comes at a time when more countries are eyeing a share of the burgeoning Muslim travel market.

In 2017, Turkey ranked first out of 130 countries in the study for convenient transportation infrastructure, including ease of access, air connectivity and visa-free travel. Turkey was also significantly successful in communication, access to prayer areas, accommodation facilities and dining options.

Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Turkey are the biggest source of young Muslim travelers in the Islamic world, the report added.

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