Three key trends are driving the resurgence of the global Muslim travel market – family travel, an appetite for real experiences, and gaps in addressing the affluent Muslim traveller, said sector leaders at the recently concluded Halal In Travel Global Summit 2022.
Family-friendly activities for all ages
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There is an uptick in family travel, whether large or small, said Chee Chong Chan, CEO of GlobalTix. He touched on the need for businesses to showcase efforts to pay attention to young travellers, especially children, with activities that go beyond the destination.
Dr Nurhafhiz Noor of Curtin Singapore noted that this entails meeting not only the faith-based needs of Muslim vacationers, but enabling young travellers to enjoy age-appropriate attractions such as theme parks.
In line with this emerging theme, he said: “Destinations should not just assure safety for travellers, but also ensure they are open and ready for business – and that includes the rides or attractions for the young ones.”
Forget bucket-lists, it's now about unique experiences
Experiential tourism is in demand. Mayank Dutt, head of marketing and communications, South East Asia at Mastercard said the pandemic has created a shift from bucket-list destination to experience.
Travellers no longer make bookings based on the best deals, but look to create unique experiences, and urged destinations to market themselves creatively, explained Dutt.
All three agreed that a destination’s uniqueness derives from small businesses that bring a different travel experience, like mom and pop shops. Unfortunately, these businesses were the most affected during the pandemic. As such, governments and tourism boards must advocate for their protection and sustainability in order to reinvigorate experiential tourism.
Serving the underserved affluent segment
Segmentation is key to optimising the Muslim travel market. “Halal should not be a one-size-fits-all product,” said Dutt. “One segment that is underserved is the super affluent. They remain neglected, but they have the wealth and just wish to travel in a different way.”
Dutt shared that Mastercard’s Priceless platform has begun to curate “specific priceless Islamic experiences” targeted to this particular underserved market, and encouraged industry players to explore this lucrative niche.