Regardless if it were Ramadan season, Muslims visiting other countries have special needs that host countries and their hospitality sectors should stay vigilant of if they are to attract these travellers.
According to a necent halal tourism survey on the eve of the April 22-25, 2018 Arabian Travel Market in Dubai revealed that Non-Muslim countries especially those in the western world, can do more if they want to attract increasing numbers of global Muslim travellers.
A total of 35,000 Muslim travellers participated in the survey arranged by Sociable Earth, an organisation that provides practical travel information to Muslim tourists.
Omar Ahmed, Founder and CEO of Sociable Earth, said; “We felt there was a great need to understand Muslim travellers and the halal travel market has graduated from its niche status to become an industry-shaping force, in its own right.”
According to the survey, respondents said non-Muslim countries should increase their variety of halal food in the hotel (61.3%), list nearby mosques (61.1%) and halal restaurants (55.2%) and offer private pool villas (14%) to attract more Muslim guests.
“We have since been contacted by numerous GCC hoteliers who have also expressed an interest in attracting more Muslim visitors from across the globe,” Ahmad added.
“As stakeholders across the tourism and hospitality industries now look to capitalise on this, flexible room configurations, appropriate leisure activities and dining options, can all help halal travellers feel more at home.”
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The survey also found that with almost 30% of the vote, Dubai was the most aspirational holiday destination, followed by Turkey (16%), Maldives (12%), Malaysia (9%) and Mauritius (6%).
Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the UK each polled 5.6% with the US on 5.5%.
More than 78% of respondents in the survey select their holiday destination as a family, with only 1.5% leaving the decision solely to their children.
Naming their number one priorities for a trip, access to halal food is the most important factor, scoring 39.5% of the vote and proximity to Masjids was also important, taking 32.8%, while 22% named family friendly activities.
In terms of average spend, 73% of respondents spend $2,000 or less compared to 18.2% of travellers who have a budget of $2,000 to $4,000, while only 1.1% spend $10,000 or more.
“These figures demonstrate a demand for family-focused, down-to-earth holidays, which offer value for money and essential home from home facilities. Across the Middle East we see these preferences catered for in hotels of all star ratings, however many international markets have only a small number of suitable properties. This presents many opportunities to develop bespoke accommodation and attractive options in line with local market needs,” said Ahmed.