Young Muslim travellers are driving growth for the online travel market with their search for halal holidays.
This is spurred by the increasing reliance on the Internet, social media and smartphones for place discovery and travel bookings among millennial and Gen Z halal travellers.
The Mastercard-Crescent Rating Digital Muslim Travel Report 2018 (DMTR2018) recently revealed that online travel expenditure by Muslim travellers is expected to exceed US$180bil (RM736bil) by 2026.
CrescentRating and HalalTrip chief executive officer Fazal Bahardeen said digital is “real and transcends generations”.
“With the rapid proliferation of enabling online technologies and payment methods and the rise of Muslim digital natives, as a major segment within the Muslim travel market, the outlook for the digital space is very positive.
“Destinations need to ensure that their messages reach Muslim travellers through online channels,” he said.
Last year, there was an estimated 131 million Muslim visitor arrivals globally. CrescentRating research indicates that more than 60% of Muslim travellers were either millennials or Gen Z.
According to the DMTR2018, a key insight uncovered is the deeper role of online sites and tools in enabling Muslims in the tourism industry to better plan and experience their travels.
Mastercard vice president (Market Development) Devesh Kuwadekar said younger Muslim travellers are opting for online platforms when planning for halal holidays.
“Muslim travellers are spending more time online researching and comparing information before they finally choose and pay for their ideal travel experience,” he said, adding that there has been an increase in the use of cashless and digital payments through prepaid and debit options.
While millennials led most of the usage, other generations are also using digital media and technologies in similar ways. Apart from using tools to book their trips, Muslim travellers are tuning into social networking services to stay connected and share their stories with family and friends.
Devesh added that the halal travel market continues to show tremendous positive growth.
“The halal travel market continues to be one of the fastest growing travel segments globally, with Muslim visitor arrivals representing about 10% of the entire travel industry globally in 2017,” he said.
The Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2018, released in April this year, confirmed that the Muslim travel market will continue its fast-paced growth to reach US$300bil (RM1.24tril) by 2026.
The full report is available at crescentrating.com.