Trends in halal travel for 2020

The growing Muslim travel market offers immense opportunities for our industry. A new Mastercard and CrescentRating report provides insights on 16 key trends.

Increasing mobile wallet use, a rise in women travellers, and interest in less well-known tourism destinations are among the major trends shaping the next phase of travel among Muslims.

That’s according to Mastercard and CrescentRating’s third edition of the Halal Travel Frontier* report, which aims to identify the opportunities for industry stakeholders as the size and scope of the Muslim travel market continues to grow.

“The past decade saw halal tourism or Muslim-friendly tourism develop from a niche market to mainstream,” writes and Founder & CEO Fazal Bahardeen in the report. “In time, we will also see more Muslim travellers become trendsetters.” and Founder & CEO Fazal Bahardeen

“In time, we will also see more Muslim travellers become trendsetters.”

Mastercard EVP Southeast Asia Emerging Markets Division President Safdar Khan adds: “Locations around the world have shifted their offerings to embrace Muslim travellers, engaging them gastronomically with halal cuisine, technologically through social media, and culturally, as more and more travellers seek localised interactions with their destinations of choice.

“A major emerging theme from this and other reports is that as Muslim travellers’ spending power and destination awareness increases, so does these travellers’ sense of responsibility. Social activism and travel work hand-in-hand.”

The Halal Travel Frontier report offers insights on 16 key trends in halal tourism development for 2020, which are detailed here.

Mastercard EVP Southeast Asia Emerging Markets Division President Safdar Khan

The emergence of the ‘Muslim social impact travel’ spirit

Driven by the global trend of social awareness and faith, a growing number of Muslim travellers are increasingly conscious of making a social impact when they travel.

These travellers – most prevalent among younger generations – seek immersive local cultural experiences that are ethical and sustainable. They also seek to contribute to local economies and make a positive impact in host communities. They want their travels to be more meaningful.

Ensuring off-track destinations are on track with Muslim travel needs

With heightened concerns of over-tourism in popular destinations adversely impacting quality of life for residents and visitors, more people will choose to visit less-travelled destinations.

One prime motivator to visit the uncharted destination is being able to experience an authentic environment undiluted by tourism, which is also more affordable and less crowded.

Overcoming Islamophobia one step at a time

In some parts of the world, hate crimes have been committed towards Muslims due to Islamophobia. Despite these, Muslim travellers may still choose to visit such destinations out of necessity for business or visiting friends and relatives.

Towards a global travel wallet for travellers

Enabled by advancements in security features such as facial recognition and biometrics, e-wallets and mobile payments are rapidly growing in popularity among travellers.

2020 will see increased usage and popularity of ecommerce payments among travellers, as more and more merchants embrace efficient, secure and convenient digital payment methods.

Along with the global trend of ecommerce payment transactions, FinTech companies will offer value-added services to Muslim travellers to adopt digital transactions.

Multiple activities driving growth of Muslim female travellers

In 2018, Muslim women comprised 45% of the Muslim travel market. The continued growth of this segment in 2020 will lead to a greater dynamism of activities involving Muslim women travellers.

In addition, there will be a surge in the variety of products and services designed to meet the needs of this group.

Halal gastronomy to the mainstream

As Halal food becomes available in more destinations, services and operators will redesign their culinary activities to be inclusive and Muslim-friendly, pioneering a new wave of Halal-centric gastronomy tours and activities.

The Daud Kim effect: amidst the digital noise, young Muslims find Daud Kim relatable

With their effective reach and raw messaging, influencers like Daud Kim will play a positive role in changing mind-sets and helping improve the perception of Muslim travellers around the world.

The Ertugrul Phenomenon

The ‘Ertugrul Phenomenon’ has been spurred by a string of high-quality and well-produced shows inspired by Islamic history and heritage. These shows are having the same effects as Lord of the Rings for New Zealand, and K-Drama and K-Pop for Korea.

Diversity guiding responsible content sharing

While the debate on whether social media companies and governments should play a more active role in policing online behaviour continues, we do see the emergence of responsible content sharing of unique stories by diverse groups of people.

Resurrection of lost heritage sites and Islamic history

With moves to grow and promote tourism in Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia, 2020 will see the resurrection of lost heritage sites. More OIC [Organisation of Islamic Cooperation] destinations will embrace this trend and uncover heritage that may be of interest to Muslim visitors.

Sustainability as core for halal travel

Sustainability will become increasingly central to shaping both business and consumer decisions in the tourism sector. Future travellers will begin to reward destinations and companies that are able to provide quality services while being eco-friendly and culturally respectful.

Travellers will be willing to pay a premium to enjoy the comforts of their travel experience knowing that they are not compromising on the environment.

Umrah DIY: Tech innovation and the gold rush for behaviour data

With the launch of the new electronic tourist visas to Saudi Arabia and having the Umrah services inventory online, the next opportunity of the Umrah market will be in the evolution of the digital space.

Transition point in halal lifestyle events

Halal lifestyle events will no longer be in the emergent phase of the conference and exhibitions industry. Their maturity will be signalled by a shift towards better quality events.

Muslim business travellers as service catalysts

The meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) sector has been slow to respond to the growth of the Muslim market. That is beginning to change now as the wave of Muslim travel influence is spreading to the MICE sector.

Reframing halal tourism for inbound markets

Destinations that traditionally have held prominence among non-Muslims may find obstacles driving Halal tourism. These destinations will drive a more Muslim-friendly narrative to ensure a more inclusive environment.

Future ready travel sector for Gen Z and Gen Alpha

This year, Gen Z Muslims will enter the workforce and will play a key role in determining the next phase of Halal travel. In addition, Gen Alpha will enter the picture as another set of travellers that will critically shape travel behaviours for Muslim families.

*The full Halal Travel Frontier report can be downloaded here.

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The Moodie Davitt eZine

Issue 276 | 7 February 2020

The Moodie Davitt eZine is published 20 times per year by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd).

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