A total of 14 per cent of all international trips will be undertaken by Muslims. These are the results of a survey presented at the ITB Berlin Convention which was carried out by Reem El Shafaki, a senior associate of DinarStandard. According to the findings of this expert, Muslim travellers’ preferred destinations include Malaysia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
The DinarStandard survey examining travel habits polled close to 1,000 Muslims around the world. Half of the respondents were from Asia, 22 per cent from the Middle East and North Africa, and 15 per cent from the Americas. Asked what was most important for them at their holiday destination, 67 per cent answered halal food and cooking according to the rules of the Quran. At 53 per cent, the second most important factor was the overall price of the trip. For close to 50 per cent a Muslim-friendly atmosphere was among the most important holiday aspects. Almost 53 per cent went on holiday with their family, 23 per cent with friends and around 19 per cent travelled with their spouses.
According to El Shafaki, tour operators who want to be part of this anticipated boom of the future must make sure certain conditions are fulfilled. Halal food and cooking as well as prayer rooms for worshipping are indispensable. She advises including suitable washrooms for use before prayers and special services during the fasting month of Ramadan, such as breakfast before sunrise, as part of the travel package. According to the survey, activities forbidden by Islam are not necessarily desired but are nonetheless tolerated.
Reem El Shafaki notes that numerous holiday destinations around the world have already tailored their services to suit Muslim travellers. Thus, by offering Muslim-friendly services the Australian state of Queensland has succeeded in increasing tourism by 38 per cent. In 2012, the EU Commission said that steps should be taken to attract greater numbers of Muslim holidaymakers to Europe. Tour operators such as Crescent Tours and islamictravels.com specialise in Muslim holidaymakers’ needs and offer tailored travel products to make it easier for their customers to choose the right holiday destination.