An estimated 63 million Muslim women travellers spent over USD 80 billion on their journeys last year, a number only expected to grow as this demographic increases in size and influence over the global travel market.
28% of Muslim women journeys last year were solo travels, indicative of a growing younger demographic willing to experience the world, according to the latest report released by Mastercard and CrescentRating.
Two-thirds were 40 years of age or younger, an indication of how much young Muslim women drive this section of the tourism industry. Over half of them use some form of social media to scope out accommodation, logistics and dining.
“Despite the increasingly ubiquitous Muslim women travel market, to date, 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 Triple E’s – Explore, Energize and Empathize. Together with interviews with multiple Muslim women travellers of diverse backgrounds and profiles, we trust the report will enable industry stakeholders to better cater to this segment,” said Raudha Zaini, head of marketing of CrescentRating & HalalTrip.
Lifestyle and community values are core to Muslim women’s trips
These women’s disposable income is on the rise, with most of the population setting off on trips two to three times per year. Leisure takes precedence (90%), followed by religious travel (21%) and business (11%). The study confirms that they exert considerable influence in trip planning regardless of their travel party, but most, i.e. 71%, travel with their families, and therefore prefer family-friendly destinations.
Safety and access to religious amenities take top priority
Female travellers constitute one of the fastest-growing segments within the global travel market and main needs, such as safety and security, match those within the Muslim women demographic.
However, Muslim women travellers also look to integrate religious amenities into their trips with 94% of survey respondents reporting halal dining as a travel priority. Accessible religious facilities with female-only prayer rooms (86%) and single-gender spas and beauty salons (79%) also factor highly into their itineraries. Social justice, an important part of their faith, also influences their journeys, with 73% seeking eco-friendly travel options abroad.
The Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2019 ranks Thailand as the second most popular destination among non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (non-OIC) nations, and 18th most popular overall (including both OIC and non-OIC nations). The study also ranks Thailand among the top five safest and unrestrictive (for faith restrictions) non-OIC destinations for Muslim women travellers.
“Muslim women travellers 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,” said Aisha Islam, vice president, market product management, Mastercard.