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The Rising Wave of Muslim Millennial Travelers Shaping a US$100 billion market

October 27, 2017 Financial No Comments Email Email

The increasing influence of technology and a desire to explore the world are just a few of the reasons young Muslims are fueling a US$100 billion market, according to a new report.

The Mastercard-HalalTrip Muslim Millennial Travel Report 2017 (MMTR2017) has revealed the burgeoning importance of the next generation of Muslim travelers to the tourism sector across the world.

The research projects total expenditure from Muslim millennial travelers alone to surpass US$100 billion by 2025, while the overall Muslim travel segment is estimated to reach US$300 billion by 2026.

The MMTR2017 is the first comprehensive report looking at the rising wave of Muslim millennial travelers across the world. It aims to evaluate the potential within the Muslim millennial market for tourism destinations, tour operators, airlines and the tourism and hospitality industries.

Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating & HalalTrip, said the MMTR2017 revealed insights into ‘this fast-growing and increasingly influential market’ alongside opportunities that the global trend presents.

“There is no doubt that all eyes from all parts of the tourism sector should be on this market which will drive spending on airfare, hotels and excursions,” he said.

“The Muslim traveler market is growing rapidly as a highly lucrative segment in contemporary tourism and will be entering their peak earning, spending and traveling life stage within the next five to 10 years.

“The growth of the young Muslim market segment, which is increasingly affluent, signals a huge potential for the international market of Muslim-friendly travel-related products and services.

“Travel within this young generation of Muslims is booming as consumers with more disposable income seek more exotic experiences and far-flung destinations than their parents.

“When you consider that the Muslim travel market is relatively young, these insights from this report give a clear indication where the tourism industry needs to focus their efforts.”

Aisha Islam, Vice President, Core & Digital Products, Indonesia, Malaysia & Brunei Division, Mastercard said, “Millennial values are increasingly shifting away from the acquisition of goods toward a focus on experiences such as travel. For Muslim millennials, travel is more than just a vacation, it is often viewed as an opportunity for personal growth and development, to seek new experiences and for bonding with family and friends.

“As the Muslim millennial market continues to expand, there is no denying that they will be a key driver of growth for the travel industry. Service providers looking to tap into this segment need to understand their relationship with travel and what they value – such as authenticity, affordability and accessibility, as revealed in our research – while ensuring that they also cater to their faith based needs and requirements.”

With approximately 1 billion Muslims under the age of 30 and representing 60 percent of the population in Muslim majority countries, the younger Muslim population is where the opportunity lies when it comes to the Muslim travel market. By 2030, Muslims are projected to make up 29 percent of the global population aged 15–29.

CrescentRating estimates that more than 30 percent of Muslim travelers in 2016 were millennials with another 30 percent belonging to Gen Z, the demographic cohort after the millennials. With 121 million Muslim international visitors in 2016, over 72 million Muslim travelers were either millennials or Gen Z.

According to the study, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Turkey are the largest outbound travel markets for Muslim millennials in Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries. Germany, Russian Federation and India rank as the top three outbound travel markets for Muslim millennials in non-OIC countries.

The study also sheds light on the travel motivations, habits, needs and preferences of the Muslim millennial segment:

  • Among the Muslim millennials surveyed, in addition to traveling for leisure and holiday purposes (93 percent), they travel to experience local cultures and heritage (63 percent) and to visit friends and relatives (43 percent).
  • The majority of Muslim millennials are avid travelers – they travel between two to five times a year (46 percent) and for an average of four to six days per trip (41 percent).
  • Muslim millennials are cost-conscious travelers with the majority spending on average between US$101 to US$500 per expenditure component (flights, accommodation, meals, shopping, miscellaneous) for each trip.
  • Respondents surveyed showed a preference for free and independent travel (72 percent), as they value flexibility and control during their trips. Muslim millennials are tech-savvy, confident and comfortable with planning their own trips using online resources. Only five percent opt for fully packaged tours.
  • The majority of Muslim millennials said they spend between one to six months to plan a trip (61 percent), researching extensively and reviewing a variety of traditional and online sources prior to traveling.
  • The top 10 most visited destinations among Muslim millennials were Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Australia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America and India.
  • Cost of flight and accommodation, safety and terrorism concerns, and the availability of halal food, were the top three influencing factors when Muslim millennials plan for their travels.
  • When it comes to making food choices at a destination, Muslim millennials rated affordability, authentic Halal options of local specialties and authentic local specialties as the top three most important considerations.

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