Travel to unknown destinations isn’t always easy for Muslim holiday makers concerned about where to find Islamic-friendly food and prayer facilities. But Halal travel site Crescent Ratings wants to address that. It has launched a travel aggregator called the Muslim Travel Warehouse aimed at helping tour agents arrange tailored packages for Muslim travelers.
Crescent Rating CEO Fazal Bahardeen says the site will help agents take advantage of a rapidly growing market worth around $145 billion last year, according to a travel survey it conducted in partnership with Master Card, reported The World Street Journal Europe Edition.
The new travel aggregator will develop tour packages to places such as the Maldives and Sri Lanka, choosing hotels and restaurants based on things like their access to halal food and prayer places.
Visits to Islamic sites would also be part of the mix. A trip to Spain, for example, might include several stops in Andalus because of its Islamic history.
Demand for Muslim-friendly holidays is mainly coming from Malaysia, Indonesia and countries in the Middle East, such as Oman, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, said Bahardeen.
The top destination last year was Saudi Arabia, driven by trips to the holy city of Makkah. Other Muslim-majority countries also were among the top destinations, but Bahardeen says more and more Muslim travelers are looking to explore new places, particularly in Europe.
And because they’re not sure of the availability of Muslim friendly services in those places, there is more demand for tour packages that provide that information, he said.
Malaysia grabbed the top spot in the Master Card survey, but Indonesia showed it has potential, something the country’s tourism industry and government are hoping to develop to boost the economy. The world’s most populous majority-Muslim country placed No. 6 with a Muslim friendliness ranking of 67.5%. Among the top 30 destinations where Muslim travelers went last year, however, Indonesia ranked 29th.
The Muslim Travel Warehouse currently covers 16 destinations but hopes to include around 50 by the end of the year Bahardeen says it should add Indonesia within the coming months.
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