There are many segments in the global travel market but one of the most interesting stories right now is the growth of the Muslim travel market. There are many reasons for destinations to pay attention to this important and quite lucrative trend.
The Muslim travel market continues to be one of the fastest growing segments in the global travel industry. In 2015, it was estimated that there were 117 million Muslim international travelers. This is projected to grow to 168 million by 2020, where the travel expenditure by Muslim travelers is expected to exceed USD 200 billion.
Key Drivers of Muslim Travel Market Growth
Some of the key drivers for the continued growth of the Muslim travel market are:
Growing Muslim population:
The Muslim population is growing rapidly and is expected to make up 26 percent of the world’s population by 2030. This translates to one out of three people born between 1990 and 2030 being Muslim.
Growing middle class / Disposable income:
The middle class in countries with large Muslim populations are increasing. These include Gulf countries, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Nigeria and Bangladesh. The 2nd and 3rd generation of Muslims in Western Europe and North America are also becoming highly educated and entering the professional work force. All of this is increasing the disposable income of a large Muslim consumer base.
According to Pew research, “Muslims are also the youngest (median age of 23 years old in 2010) of all major religious groups, seven years younger than the median age of non-Muslims.” They are better informed and are actively influencing the travel planning of their family holidays.
Increasing access to travel information:
The proliferation of Internet access coupled with high penetration of smartphones have made travel planning easier in general. Muslim majority countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE are among the top countries when it comes to smartphone penetration. A younger more technology-savvy population also means more Muslims are active on social media and use gather information.
Increasing availability of Muslim-friendly travel services and facilities:
The last few years have seen many businesses and destinations beginning to adapt their products and services to cater to Muslim travelers. This has meant that there is an increasing availability of Muslim-friendly services. Halal food is available in many major cities now.