HOTELS & TOURISM | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore is the sixth most popular destination for Muslim tourists

The country provides Muslims "cultural proximity" and enhanced tourism offerings, amongst others.

Singapore rose to be the sixth most popular destination in the global Muslim travel market and the top non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destination for the eighth year running, even as rival destinations close in fast, Mastercard revealed.

According to the Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2018, Malaysia retained the premier spot whilst Indonesia moved up to second along with the United Arab Emirates in the overall rankings. The Muslim travel market is on course to continue its fast-paced growth to reach US$220b in 2020 and is expected to hit US$300 billion by 2026.

Mastercard Singapore country manager Deborah Heng said, “Singapore continues to appeal to Muslim travellers for its enhanced tourism offerings and cultural proximity while also providing for their needs comprehensively."

Mastercard noted that in 2017, there were an estimated 131 million Muslim visitor arrivals globally - up from 121 million in 2016 - and this is forecast to grow to 156 million visitors by 2020 representing 10% of travellers globally. It is also estimated that the ASEAN region will welcome over 18 million Muslim visitor arrivals by 2020, representing close to 15% of the visitor arrivals to the region.

Amongst non-OIC destinations, Japan and Taiwan surged into the top five for the first time since the GMTI was released.

CrescentRating & HalalTrip CEO Fazal Bahardeen commented, “We are now starting to see the impact of investment and commitment by destinations across the world into the Muslim travel market which is reaping rewards including a real shift in the rankings. The concerted efforts of destinations such as Indonesia, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan using data and insights from the previous GMTI reports have to be commended as they are now closing the gap.”

Key metric criteria included access which includes infrastructure; communications and looking at how destinations market themselves to a target audience; environment and services. Each criterion is then weighted to make up the overall index score. 

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