A new ground-breaking study, Global MuslimLifestyle Travel Market: Landscape & Consumer Needs, shows that Muslim tourists globally represent a major niche market worth $126.1 billion in 2011 growing at a 4.8 percent through 2020, compared to global average of 3.8 percent.
In a challenging global economic environment, the study highlights how airlines, tourism destinations , and hotels/resorts can benefit by engaging with a market that has a young demographic, is growing in affluence, and is increasingly asserting its unique needs on the tourism industry.
The study has been released by DinarStandard, a New York-based marketing research & advisory firm focused on the Muslim markets & Crescentrating, pioneer in the development of Halal-friendly travel. The study covers the largest outbound and inbound Muslim travel markets. Examples covered of the many tourism destinations, airlines, and hotels/resorts already engaging with this niche market include, Australia's Gold Coast that is attracting Muslim tourists by offering a Gold Coast Ramadan Lounge. However, the Study shows that this customer segments needs are yet to be realised. The study estimates that the global Muslim tourism market of $126.1 billion in outbound expenditure is 12.3 percent of the total global outbound tourism expenditure in 2011.
The Muslim tourist spending is set to grow to $192 Billion by 2020 representing 13.4 percent of the global expenditure. Comparatively, this Muslim tourism market as a whole is larger than the largest spending tourist market in the world - Germany - and almost twice that of China's in 2011. "With the rapid growth of the Muslim travelers, there was a need for a comprehensive global study on this segment of travelers. This Study will now let travel industry players to evaluate the potential of the Muslim lifestyle travel market by region, and develop key engagement frameworks for a high impact market strategy." said Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of Crescentrating. Rafi-uddin Shikoh, Managing Director of DinarStandard, said, "Muslim tourists may very well be the largest un-tapped niche market of the tourism Industry. Airlines, destinations and hotels/resorts can benefit tremendously by catering to the unique Muslim lifestyle travel drivers of Halal food, family friendly environments, religious practices accommodation, gender relation nuances, and other areas. We have made distinct, practical recommendations for Muslim and Non-Muslim market based tourism players." Some key insights from the study include:
MENA markets represent 60 percent of total global Muslim tourist outbound expenditure in 2011. The top Outbound Muslim tourism source country in 2011 is Saudi Arabia with followed by Iran, UAE, Indonesia and Kuwait.
Muslim communities living in non-Muslim countries also have sizable outbound tourism expenditure share. The largest of these markets are Germany, Russia, France and UK. The top destinations for Muslim tourists are Malaysia, Turkey, and UAE. Followed by Singapore, Russia, China France, Thailand and Italy.
Overall, when asked "which of the following are important to you when travelling for leisure?", top answers were, "Halal Food" (67 percent), followed by "Overall price" (53 percent), and "Muslim-friendly experience" (49 percent).
The study incorporated a top-down and bottom-up approach conducting a primary survey online focused on top Muslim tourist markets, industry interviews, as well as secondary research utilising credible sources such as the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), government agency interviews, and other secondary research mechanisms.