Thailand has kept up its second ranking as a destination for global Muslim travel expected that would be worth US$220 billion by 2020, as indicated by the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index 2017.


Thailand is ranked behind Singapore among non-Organisation of Islamic Collaboration (OIC) destinations while Malaysia kept pole position overall. Indonesia climbed to third in the overall rankings.

The index, which covers 130 destinations, demonstrated various non-OIC destinations in Asia climbed the rankings, the result of a purposeful effort to adjust their services to cater to and attract the Muslim.

The rankings saw the UK, South Africa and Hong Kong among the main five for non-OIC goals, with Japan climbing two spots to 6th and Spain entering the top 10 surprisingly.

It anticipated the Muslim travel market to develop to $220 billion in 2020 and $300 billion by 2026.

A year ago there were 121 million Muslim arrivals globally, up from 117 million in 2015. This is forecast to grow to 156 million guests by 2020, somewhere in the range of 10% of the worldwide travel section.

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Asia remains the most attractive region to Muslim visitors taken after by Africa, Oceania, Europe and the Americas.

“Thailand remains a very attractive destination and it will be interesting to see whether it will displace Singapore over the next few years,” said Fazal Bahardeen, chief executive of CrescentRating & HalalTrip.

The survey identified the influence of another type of young travelers, millennials and Generation Z who are combining technology with a genuine desire to explore the world while as yet holding fast to their faith-based. They will be the driving force for the following phase of growth, which destinations like Thailand must recognize, implementing measures accordingly to maintain or increase its position going forward, he said.

These younger travelers need more noteworthy choice, unique experiences and steady connectivity, which can be seen with the development of other Muslim lifestyle such as halal food and modest fashion, which joins with the travel market.

Safdar Khan, division president for Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei at MasterCard, said with uses of $155 billion in 2016, the Muslim travel market remains a solid driver for development in world travel.