The first-ever Muslim Travel Shopping Index has launched providing a new wealth of information for the Muslim traveller and the Halal travel market.
For the first time, extensive research and analysis has gone into assisting Muslim travellers in making educated decisions on their shopping and dining experiences as well as overall itinerary.
The index analyses 40 of the primary international shopping destinations, based on a comprehensive set of metrics and criteria.
Travel businesses and destinations will find this to be an invaluable source of information on how to attract the Muslim travel market. The criteria itself provides an insight into the requirements, expectations and behaviour of Muslim travellers.
Muslim Travel Shopping Index Criteria
Forty percent of the weighting is given to ‘suitability as a shopping destination’. This metric highlights what destinations Muslim travellers most frequently shop at today. This is measured through four sub-criteria; overall visitor arrivals, Muslim visitor arrivals, Muslim shopping expenditure, and the availability of shopping options.
Another forty percent considers ‘Muslim friendly services and facilities available at the destination’. Tour operators can use this information to further understand the priorities and requirements of the market they are targeting. This would improve their success in the formation and marketing of packages catered to Muslim travellers. Examples of specific aspects include the availability of Halal restaurants, the impact of improved Halal assurance through a Halal certification body, and airport and accommodation services in regards to both Halal food and prayer places. Destinations with a deep awareness and understanding of these basic needs of Muslim travellers have an advantage in scoring well under this metric.
The remaining twenty percent covers the ‘ease of travel and family friendliness at the destination’. Tour operators aiming to attract Muslim travellers are in a unique position whereby they can concurrently create family friendly packages. This is due to the fact that the Muslim travel market has the highest proportion of family travel of any travel sector, at over fifty percent. Consequently, this component looks at ease of communication through language proficiency at the destination, visa requirements, as well as the safety of travellers.
The MTSI report also provides additional information on the behaviour of Muslim travellers. The report details the types of purchases of Muslim travellers, their preferred shopping and dining locations, their budget, who they tend to spend on, and their main concerns when shopping or dining in their travels.
The 2015 MTSI takes into account these factors in the ranking of shopping destinations. The results identified Dubai as the primary shopping destination for Muslims, closely followed by Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, then London and Istanbul. The ranking of two non-OIC destinations in the top 5 shopping destinations for Muslims, reveals an important change in the market. Young Muslim travellers are now more willing to experience different destinations, and Non-OIC destinations in turn are more actively and successfully attracting this market.
A partnered effort by MasterCard and CrescentRating, the new annual Muslim Travel Shopping Index aims to analyse and reflect the changing trends and patterns of the growing Muslim travel market.