By Courtney Trenwith
The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are in the top five but have been out-scored by Malaysia and Turkey
The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are among the top five destinations for Muslim travellers, according to a survey by Islamic travel company Crescentrating and credit card firm MasterCard.
Malaysia was the favourite Islamic holiday spot, despite its state airline suffering two fatal air disasters last year.
Turkey was second, followed by the GCC countries and Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
Eighty-one non-Muslim and 29 Muslim countries were scored according to the ease of travel for Muslims, including access to halal restaurants and the provision of prayer rooms in airports, shopping malls and hotels.
The scores were ranked on the Global Muslim Travel Index, with Malaysia receiving 83.8, followed by Turkey (73.8), UAE (72.1), Saudi Arabia (71.3), Qatar (68.2) and Indonesia (67.5).
“For Muslim travellers, Malaysia still remains the top choice simply because it is a great holiday destination for families while offering a very Muslim friendly environment,” Crescentrating chief executive Fazal Bahardeen said, according to AFP.
“This includes everything from excellent attractions, halal food, accommodation, shopping to places for prayers. Malaysia has one of the best infrastructures for the Muslim traveller.”
Fazal said 5.9 million Muslim visitors visited Malaysia in 2014, up from 5.7 million in 2013.
Singapore was the most favoured non-Muslim nation, followed by Thailand.
Singapore has “some of the best halal food environments,” while Thailand, Japan and Taiwan have taken big steps to meet the needs of Islamic holiday-goers, Fazal said.
“The typical Muslim consumer is now younger, educated and with a larger disposable income,” the report said.
As one vital element in Islam is the direct link of the believers with Allah, I do not see how a country can be described as â€˜muslim destinationâ€™, as this differs per Muslim.
If so, what is a â€˜Hinduâ€™ destination or a destination for atheists?
Being a Muslim, I believe we should be as mondaine as the rest of the world and not create â€˜muslim destinationsâ€™ and therewith alienate us from the rest of the world.