The holy month of Ramadan punctuates the lifestyles and travel preference of Muslims around the world. During the Ramadan this year (June 6 to July 5), MasterCard launched its first ever Ramadan Travel Report 2016, which looks at the changing patterns of Muslim travel during the fasting period.
Hong Kong is ranked as one of the top 25 destinations in the report, outperforming its counterparts Taiwan and China in the next 15 year. Interestingly, China maintained its low ranking and is listed in the bottom 10 until 2030.
In the years from now until 2020, Malaysia is ranked the top destination in the list followed by Indonesia while Singapore came third. The research identified a number of reasons why Malaysia topped the table including climate and marketing strategies to attract Muslim tourists.
With Ramadan set to take place in cooler months from 2023, destinations in the Middle East such as the UAE, Qatar and Oman will become an attractive proposition for Muslim travelers. The report also showed that Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia could also benefit from this trend.
Consequently this trend will see non-OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) countries and Southeast Asia become less attractive destinations resulting in a drop in expected visitor arrivals from 2030.
The Muslim travel market is one of the fastest growing segments in the global travel industry. With Ramadan set to occur from June to February during the next 15 years, different regions across the world will become attractive destinations for Muslim travelers according to data and analysis from the report. A total of 50 destinations across the globe were analyzed in the study and benchmarked across three criteria – average daytime temperature, fasting duration and Global Muslim Travel Index 2016 scores announced earlier this year.
Hong Kong ranks top five non-OIC countries, revealed by Global Muslim Travel Index 2016
According to the Global Muslim Travel Index, Hong Kong moves up two spots from rank 33 to rank 31, making it into the top five non-OIC countries. Singapore retains its number one spot while Thailand, UK and South Africa rounds off in the top five.
The study also revealed that in 2015, there were an estimated 117 million Muslim visitor arrivals globally, representing close to 10 percent of the entire travel market. This is forecasted to grow to 168 million visitors by 2020, 11 percent of the market segment, with market value projected to exceed US$200 billion.