Travel TrendsAsian tourism boards still dominate, with Hong Kong and Taiwan taking top spots in latest research.

Which NTO is most online ready for Muslim travellers?

Six of the top 10 NTOs are from Asia-Pacific, including former top spot holder Japan, according to tourism industry consultancy firm Pear Anderson.
Six of the top 10 NTOs are from Asia-Pacific, including former top spot holder Japan, according to tourism industry consultancy firm Pear Anderson. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Alessandro Biascioli

Hong Kong and Taiwan are the most online-ready destinations in welcoming Muslim friendly travel, including resources on Muslim friendly food, prayer spaces and hotels, according to latest research.

The findings were revealed in tourism industry consultancy firm Pear Anderson's recent 'How Online Ready are NTOs for Muslim Travellers in 2020?' report, which tracked the availability of online resources offered by the top 50 most visited non-Muslim countries worldwide to target a fast-growing market that was worth US$194 billion in 2019.

For 2020, Hong Kong and Taiwan placed joint first, knocking last year's winner Japan off the top spot. Singapore and Thailand both dropped one ranking each from 2019, while new entrants to the top include Macau and India.

Notably, six of the top 10 NTOs are from Asia Pacific, and half of the top 10 most visited countries now have Muslim friendly resources — a 67% jump year-on-year.

Photo Credit: Pear Anderson

As a further mark of increased interest globally, the number of countries with online resources aimed at Muslim travellers increased by 21.7% year-on-year as well.

Making significant jumps in their scores are South Korea, Australia, Slovenia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, who improved their rankings by adding more online formats such as YouTube videos, improving their SEO searches for "Muslim friendly", highlighting Muslim friendly facilities at attractions, and segmenting Muslim travellers' interest.

In addition, winners Hong Kong Tourism Board took the initiative to collate more information about Muslim friendly hotels and launched a mini-site aimed at the market, while Taiwan Tourism Bureau made available more Muslim friendly hotel resources and uploaded videos with new content focusing on SalamTaiwan, its Muslim friendly brand.

Six countries also entered the rankings for the first time in the 2020 edition of the report: Germany, Greece, India, Macau, South Africa and the UK.

Still, European NTOs still have a long way to catch up with their APAC counterparts.

“The Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Taiwan Tourism Bureau have put serious emphasis on developing Muslim-friendly online resources, and their efforts have paid off by scooping the top spot. Their jump in rankings shows that it’s not enough for an NTO to create Muslim friendly online resources as a one-off project — there needs to be continuous innovation to keep the messaging fresh," said Hannah Pearson, director of Pear Anderson.

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI