SA still tops for Muslim tourists
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Johannesburg – South Africa has maintained its spot among the top five most popular non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations in the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2016.
For the second consecutive year, South Africa ranked as the fourth top destination in the non-OIC ranking for Muslim tourists, with a weighted score of 53.1 out of 100 (up from 51.1 in 2015). Singapore continues to hold the top spot for non-OIC destinations with a score of 68.4, followed by Thailand (59.5), and the United Kingdom (59).
Malaysia retained the top spot out of the OIC destinations with a score of 81.9. United Arab Emirates (74.7) has overtaken Turkey (73.9) to take second place in this year’s index, while Indonesia (70.6) has moved up to fourth place. South Africa ranked 30th in the overall GMTI.
Now in its second year, the GMTI looks at in-depth data covering 130 destinations (48 OIC and 82 non-OIC destinations). Criteria included suitability as a family holiday destination, the level of services and facilities provided, accommodation options, marketing initiatives, air connectivity, visa restrictions, as well as visitor arrivals. Each of these were weighted to comprise the overall index score.
“We are pleased to see South Africa once again included in the top five non-OIC destinations in the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index. This ranking highlights the country’s focus on consistently answering the needs of the Muslim travel market. We believe the Index will prove to be a trusted resource for this important travel segment, while helping businesses and government better understand their needs and preferences to further drive economic development,” says Mark Elliott, Division President for MasterCard, South Africa.
According to the study, there were an estimated 117 million Muslim visitor arrivals globally in 2015, representing close to 10 percent of the entire travel market. This is forecasted to grow to 168 million visitors by 2020 representing 11 percent of the market segment with a market value spend projected to exceed $200-billion.
Asia and Europe were the two leading regions in the world for attracting Muslim visitors - accounting for 87 percent of the entire market.
“The MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index 2016 has now become the number one tool for destinations around the world to realign their strategies to reach out to the Muslim consumer. One of the biggest trends we are seeing is non-OIC destinations making a concerted effort to attract the Muslim tourist and they now represent over 63 percent of the destinations covered in the GMTI.
For example, Japan and Philippines have taken some major steps over the last few months to diversify their visitor arrivals and boost their economy in the process,” said Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating & HalalTrip.
Adapted from a press release for IOL