Amidst the growing the Muslim population, the rise of middle class in Muslim-majority countries and improved access to travel information and the increasing availability of Muslim-friendly travel services, Halal tourism is now gaining tremendous traction across the world. A considerable number of Muslim travellers are focusing more on the “halalness” of the trip.
The Muslim travel market was worth $169 billion in 2016 and is growing by $10 billion a year since 2014, at nearly double the rate of the global travel market, according to the State of the Global Islamic Economy 2017/18 report produced by Thomson Reuters in collaboration with DinarStandard. Muslim spend on outbound travel is expected to grow by 9 percent per year to reach $283 billion by 2022.
A new study has revealed that UAE residents are the world's highest spenders of halal tourism outside the country, spending Dh64.6 billion ($17.6 billion) last year.
According to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry analysis based on recent data from Mastercard and the World Travel & Tourism Council, Saudi Arabian travellers were ranked second with Dh59 billion spend followed by Kuwaiti travellers at Dh38.17 billion during the same year.
The study's findings revealed that the global Muslim travel segment is currently valued at an estimated Dh660.6 billion and is forecast to reach Dh807.4 billion by 2020. The number of Muslim travellers globally is expected to increase from the current 131 million to 156 million by the same year.
During 2017, Muslim travellers spent an estimated average of Dh5,042 per person and this figure is projected to increase to Dh5,174.7 by 2020.
Majid Saif Al Ghurair, chairman, Dubai Chamber and board member of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), said halal tourism is one of the main pillars supporting the continued growth of the global Islamic economy.
Jairaj Gorsia, general manager, Gevora Hotel, the world's tallest and dry hotel located on Sheikh Zayed Road, says Muslims tourists, especially from Saudi Arabia, continue to grow. The hotel receives a large number of guests, especially families, from Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries because it is a Shariah-compliant property.
"Families prefer to stay in non-alcoholic hotels because of their religious beliefs and where they can enjoy activities without being exposed. Halal tourism is a big market in the region and it's going pretty strong. Plus, halal hotels' pricing is also right and attractive for customers," said Gorsia.
In order to cash in on the growing halal market, Dubai will host the Global Islamic Economy Summit 2018 on October 30 and 31. In addition, Dubai also hosts the Halal Expo.
The UAE was recently named as a destination of choice for Muslim travellers due to several key factors, including its competitive business environment, wide variety of travel and tourism activities, advanced ICT readiness and world-class airport infrastructure.