Agent StoriesMuslim business travellers: Rise of the new niche

Halal tourism: Time to get serious, seriously

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Photo Credit: LiudmylaSupynska/iStock

Business trips revolve around attending industry events and meeting production partners and broadcasters to discuss ongoing and potential projects for Beach House Pictures.

Think of Ms Yosita Oramahi as the face of a nascent but growing niche market — the Muslim business traveller. 

As head of content partnerships at Beach House Pictures, Singapore, Ms Oramahi, jets about three to six times a year, “depending on how busy things are”.

Business trips revolve around attending industry events and meeting production partners and broadcasters to discuss ongoing and potential projects for Beach House Pictures.

The company is Asia’s largest independent production company specialising in factual, travel, entertainment and children’s content for the international market.

What does the frequent Muslim business traveller (MBT) look for in services and amenities?

“My main concern when planning a trip is usually the availability of halal food as well as wudhu (ablution) and praying facilities especially in non-Muslim countries,” says Oramahi.

Halal food, water-friendly bathrooms and proximity to a nearby mosque are the top three items on an MBT’s checklist in an accommodation.

And given the increasing sentiments against Islamic radicals, safety and security is the most important concern for three quarters of all MBTs.

The findings emerged in the Mastercard-CrescentRating Muslim Business Traveller (MBT) Insights 2016.

The survey of 250 frequent MBTs yielded granular insights which Fazal Bahardeen, CEO, CrescentRating and HalalTrip, presented at the Halal in Travel – Asia Summit 2016 at ITB Asia.

Bahardeen tells Travel Weekly Asia ahead of the summit that the Muslim travel market is only going to get bigger.

“There are three reasons for that — the growing Muslim population, the rise of the middle class in Muslim nations, and the ease of travel,” he says.

Indeed, the MBT Insights research found that 38% of Muslim business travelers spent between US$2,000 and US$5,000 per business trip, with 44% spending less than US$2,000.

The research also found that more than one in two of MBTs booked their own air tickets and rooms. Nearly seven in 10 of them bought their air tickets before booking their rooms, the MBT Insights show.

Put all that together, and you get a boom.


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