By Staff writer
New report says industry generated 4.3m jobs in 2015, contributed more than $18bn in tax revenue
The GDP impact of the world’s Muslim tourism sector exceeded $138 billion in 2015, generating 4.3 million jobs and contributing more than $18 billion in tax revenue, according to a new report.
The report by Salam Standard said The US and the EU were the top beneficiaries of Muslim travel spending, netting nearly $64 billion of inbound expenditure in 2015, or around 44 percent of the total.
They also collected the most Muslim tourist-related tax - to the tune of $12.5 billion - according to the report, which studied in detail the contribution of the Muslim tourism sector to major economies worldwide.
“To put this into perspective, a GDP impact of $138 billion is larger than the entire economy of Morocco or Kuwait,” said the report’s author, Faeez Fadhlillah, co-founder and CEO of Salam Standard and sister firm, Tripfez.
“The Muslim travel sector accounts for more than 10 percent of total global tourism spend and has a significant impact on the economic wealth of many of the world’s leading markets, creating jobs and boosting public finances. Its power and potential should not be ignored.”
When it comes to the biggest spenders, the Middle East led the pack, accounting for 60 percent of all outbound Muslim tourism expenditure, worth some $60 billion.
Asia and Europe were the second largest markets in terms of outbound Muslim travel expenditure, each generating around 20 percent of total spend.
The Middle East nations accrued the largest share of their tourism GDP from Muslim travellers (28 percent) but in terms of direct employment, Thailand was the largest beneficiary, with more than a quarter of a million jobs supported by the Muslim travel sector.
The report made several recommendations based on its findings and encouraged governments around the world to embrace the economic prosperity the Muslim travel sector can deliver now and in the future.
“As the fastest-growing segment of the global tourism industry, the Muslim travel market provides a wealth of opportunities for policymakers and businesses in both advanced and emerging economies,” said Fadhlillah.
“The sector is expected to grow by 50 percent in volume and 35 percent in value over the next five years, but its potential is yet to be unlocked.
“We advise governments and tourism entities in key markets worldwide to put strategies in place that will foster the growth of their Muslim travel sectors and drive demand that will benefit their economies immeasurably.”