Malaysia was followed by the UAE, Turkey, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia in this year’s rankings for halal-friendly holiday destinations. 
Malaysia is the world’s friendliest destination for Muslim travellers, according to a survey released on Tuesday, but Japan has shown most improvement as it ramps up efforts to cash in on a growing market.
Malaysia was followed by the UAE, Turkey, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia in this year’s rankings for halal-friendly holiday destinations released by Singapore-based Muslim travel specialist Crescentrating.
The survey evaluates countries in terms of their attentiveness to the needs of Muslim travellers, including the presence and accessibility of halal restaurants with meat slaughtered to Islamic standards, and the provision of prayer rooms at airports, shopping malls and hotels.
“An increasing number of destinations are now keen on tapping into this segment and adapting their services to take into account the unique faith-based needs of Muslim travellers, ” said Crescentrating chief executive Fazal Bahardeen. For largely Muslim Malaysia, Bahardeen said the country’s Islamic Tourism Centre has “continued to educate the industry on how to cater to the Muslim travellers”.
“There are now more and more hotel kitchens with halal certification, an increasing number of hotels are also now catering to the specific needs of Muslim travellers,” he added. One hotel even has separate timings for the use of gym and swimming pools for males and females requiring privacy, he said.
Bahardeen said the Muslim travel market was estimated to be worth $140 billion last year, accounting for almost 13 per cent of the global total. Japan was in 40th place among the 60 ranked, but its score is 10 notches up from 50th place last year — the biggest improvement overall.
Turkey, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Morocco, Jordan, Qatar and Tunisia rounded out the top 10.