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ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Singapore ranks as top travel destination for Muslims for third consecutive year

It’s the only non-OIC country in the global top 10 Muslim travel destinations.

According to Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2017, Muslim travel market revenues are expected to amount to US$220b by 2020.

Singapore remains as the only non-member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that made it to the overall top 10 list of Muslim travel destinations out of 130 participating countries. Malaysia was ranked first in the OIC and overall list.

Currently, Singapore holds the top position in the list of non-OIC countries around the world. Thailand, UK, South Africa and Hong Kong make up the top five for the non-OIC destinations, with Japan moving up two places to take the sixth spot and Spain entering the top 10 for the first time.

Asia has remained the leading region in the world in terms of attractiveness to Muslim tourists with an average GMTI score of 57.6, with Africa coming in second place at 47.0, followed by Oceania (43.8), Europe (39.9) and the Americas (33.7)

Despite losing 1.1 points from 2016, Singapore still managed to hold its ranking for the third consecutive year. “Although Singapore has maintained its top spot there is pressure now from other destinations who are adapting their offering to service this sector,” said Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating & HalalTrip.

According to Bahardeen, there is an influence a new breed of young travellers, millennials and Gen Z who are combining technology with a real desire to explore the world while still adhering to their faith-based needs.

This will be the driving force for the next phase in growth in every destination. “Singapore must recognise and implement measures accordingly to satisfy and maintain its top spot going forward,” Bahardeen added.

GMTI research showed that the Muslim travel market will continue to grow to $300b by 2026. An estimated 121m Muslim visitors arrived globally in 2016. This is up from the 117m tourists in the previous year. GMTI predicted Muslim tourists to amount to 156m by 2020.
 

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