Malaysia tops list for Muslim women travellers

A study shows Muslim women exert considerable influence in trip planning regardless of their travel party


AMID an increasing number of younger globetrotters, solo Muslim women travellers make up a quarter or 28% of the global travel market, according to the latest report released by Mastercard Inc and CrescentRating.

Malaysia tops the list of the world’s most popular Muslim women-friendly destinations, ahead of the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Indonesia.

CrescentRating and HalalTrip head of marketing Raudha Zaini said despite the increase in Muslim women’s travel market, little research has been done to better understand this fast-emerging segment and their specific challenges.

“This study provides the industry with a clear lens to understand their intrinsic and extrinsic travel motivations. This includes their unique travel behaviour driven by the Triple E’s — explore, energise and empathise.

“Together with interviews with Muslim women travellers of diverse backgrounds and profiles, we trust the report will enable industry stakeholders to better cater to this segment,” she said in a statement yesterday.

The report also stated that an estimated number of 63 million female Muslim travellers spent over US$80 billion (RM335 billion) on their journeys in 2018.

The number is expected to grow over the years due to the demographic size and influence over the global travel market.

Additionally, it was reported that two-thirds of these women were in their 40s or younger, which indicates the potential of the population in the tourism industry.

Over half of them used some form of social media to plan their accommodation, logistics and dining.

Mastercard market product management VP Aisha Islam said more Muslim women these days are ready to see the world.

“This young and driven demographic is ready to engage travel industry providers who welcome them and curate experiences that keep their values and community in the forefront.

“Mastercard and CrescentRating’s newest report aims to inform industry stakeholders as they tailor their products and services to this up-and-coming demographic,” she said in the statement.

The study also showed that most Muslim women’s disposable income is on the rise, with most of the population setting off on trips two to three times a year.

The aspect of leisure took the highest spot (90%), followed by religious travel (21%) and business (11%).

The study confirms Muslim women exert considerable influence in trip planning regardless of their travel party, but most (71%) travel with their families, and therefore prefer family-friendly destinations.

Meanwhile, female Muslim travellers look to integrate religious amenities into their trips, with 94% of survey respondents reporting halal dining as a travel priority.

This includes accessible religious facilities with female-only prayer rooms (86%) and single-gender spas and beauty salons (79%) which also top their priority list.

Social justice, an important part of their faith, also influences their journeys, with 73% of them seeking eco-friendly travel options abroad.