Sunday 22 May 2022

Muslim millennials are 'the next biggest traveller market'

BERLIN, February 2, 2018

The worldwide market for ‘Muslim travel’ could take off in the next few years thanks to the growing population of Muslim millennials who travel internationally, according to a leading expert.

With about 60 per cent of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims aged under 30, this segment of the world population could become the “next biggest consumer market”, Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of Singapore-based Crescent Rating and HalalTrip, told the 25th World Travel Monitor Forum.

Overall, Muslims are estimated to have spent about $142 billion on travel in 2014, and to have accounted for about 121 million arrivals worldwide in 2016. These figures could rise to spending of $220 billion and 158 million arrivals in 2020, Bahardeen predicted.

At present, Asia (57 per cent) and Europe (30 per cent) are the two main destination regions for Muslim travellers.

In terms of regional markets, the GCC states, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, represent the biggest outbound market by spending, although not by numbers, Bahardeen said. South-East Asia, including Malaysia and Indonesia, is the next biggest market.
In Europe, the UK, Germany and France jointly account for about 10-12 per cent of Muslim outbound travel spending. Turkey and Iran are other significant markets.

Faith-based specific needs for Muslim travellers

Regardless of their nationality, Muslim travellers have some specific faith-based needs when travelling, Bahardeen explained. Halal food and prayer facilities, for examples, are absolute musts. Destinations, hotels and other travel suppliers are also well-advised to provide additional services such as adapting meal times and other facilities to Ramadan, he recommended. “Shared values among Muslims are much stronger than among other communities. For example, Muslims need halal food, wherever they come from, he made clear.

Turning to the structure of the ‘halal travel’ market, Bahardeen explained that Muslim travel in the past tended to be dominated by families. However, millennials (born between 1980 and 2000), who make up 60 per cent of the global Muslim population, are now travelling in much greater numbers. By 2016, 36 per cent of Muslim travellers were millennials, and this share is likely to continue rising, he said.

“Muslim millennial travellers will significantly re-shape the Muslim travel market,
Bahardeen predicted. By 2026, the overall Muslim travel market is expected to grow
to overall spending of $300 billion, with millennials accounting for over $100 billion of this total," Bahardeen said.

These Muslim millennials will share many general travel characteristics with other young people of their generation, he explained. Thus, they will want authentic travel experiences such as discovering destinations and trying local cuisines, while taking advantage of affordable transportation and accommodation and making extensive use of technology and social media.

In some cases, Muslim millennials could even help re-balance overall tourist flows,
Bahardeen pointed out. For example, North Asian destinations could reduce their reliance on Chinese tourists by trying to win more visitors from South-East Asia, he added.

Ultimately, destinations will have to offer ‘Muslim-friendly’ products and services if they want to attract this group of millennials, Bahardeen concluded. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Muslim | travel | market | Millennials |

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