According to a survey conducted by Singapore based Muslim travel specialist Crescentrating, Malaysia tops the rankings for halal friendly holiday destination. Other major competitors included Turkey, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia but none of them was able to leave behind Malaysia.
This survey evaluated the countries on the basis of their attractiveness in terms of catering the needs of Muslim travellers. This included presence and accessibility of halal restaurants serving meat that is slaughtered according to the Islamic standard as well as places to offer five time prayers at airports, hotels and shopping malls and other public places.
Crescentrating Chief Executive Fazal Bahardeen stated that
An increasing number of destinations are now keen on tapping into this segment and adapting their services to take into account the unique faith-based needs of Muslim travellers
According to Bahardeen, in a country that is largely composed of Muslims, the country’s Islamic Tourism Centre has been doing very well to educate the tourism industry on how to cater the needs of Muslim travellers. More hotel kitchens are getting halal certification and the number of hotels that are trying to cater the specific needs of Muslim travellers is also on the rise. He mentioned that one hotel has gone to such an extent that they have scheduled separate timings for male and female using gym and swimming pools in order to provided them privacy.
According to Bahardeen, Muslim travel market is estimated to be currently worth at 140 billion dollars (last year) and these accounts for 13 percent of the global tourists. Muslim travel market is expected to rise to 200 billion dollars by the year 2020.
Japan was a big surprise as they improved from 50th position to 40th position. Singapore held 6th position and it is the only non-Muslim country in the top 10.
The top 10 position holders according to the survey are: Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Morocco, Jordan, Qatar and Tunisia.