Mastercard reckons halal travel is high potential growth area

  • Business
  • Thursday, 04 Apr 2019

Mastercard Inc said on Tuesday it would buy back class A shares worth $4 billion

KUALA LUMPUR: Global payments and technology company, Mastercard reckons that sizeable amount of spending by Muslim travellers worldwide is a signal of the huge potential of halal travel space.  

Fully aware of the increasing number of online purchases by next-generation Muslim travellers, its vice president for market development Devesh Kuwadekar said the importance of the segment could not be disputed.

He pointed out that rapid proliferation of enabling online technologies and payment methods as well as the rise of Muslim digital natives had contributed to the growth in the halal travel space.

The Mastercard-Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel Index 2018 has projected that the global Muslim Traveller expenditure would reach RM906 billion next year and RM1.2 trillion in 2026.

“Consumers and entities look at Chinese travellers and believe that it is big enough (market) and they are coming from one nation, so you can be prepared (in terms of offering specialised products) but for Muslim travellers, the challenge is, they are all coming from all around the world.  

“The amount that Muslim travellers are spending is almost similar, if not more than money (spent) that we projected for the Chinese travellers,” said Kuwadekar to reporters after a panel discussion on halal in travel session here today.

The session was held in conjunction with the ongoing Malaysia International Halal Showcase 2019.   

The halal travel market continues to be one of the fastest growing travel segments globally, with 131 million Muslim visitor arrivals were estimated in 2017 as compared with 121 million arrivals registered in 2016.

The company according to him, has started reaching out and play an active role to support entities including CrescentRating to ensure the segment is being served as well as ensuring satisfaction and comfortability for Muslim travellers. 

 Commenting on three financial product segments, namely credit card, debit card and prepaid card, he said the credit card and debit card segments have a specific product, catering for the Muslim population.

“The demand for Islamic credit card and debit card is huge and it doesn't only come from Muslim population, the annual growth for shariah-compliance cards are more than 20 per cent year-on-year,” he explained.

Meanwhile, looking at the prepaid card segment, Kuwadekar said consumers are still in the midst of getting to know the product.

On whether he foresees similar growth for the prepaid segment, he replied in the negative.  

“I think we may not see high growth to start with, for Malaysia, it is still at its learning curve but we do see healthy growth and maybe in the future, the prepaid segment might have its specialised Islamic product offering,” he said.

As for Mastercard, the company is actively investing in developing prepaid card, and would launch a digital payment card, dubbed “Happy”, sometimes in May, he added.

The digital payment card is a collaboration between Mastercard, Digi and and Manage Pay. - Bernama
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