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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Young Muslims to boost Islamic tourism market to $300bn

Younger individuals take multiple trips with halal travel developing across the globe rapidly

Buildings stand at dusk in Osaka, Japan. The country is seeing a surge in young Muslim visitors as the Islamic tourism market starts to boom globally. Buddhika Weerasinghe/Bloomberg
Buildings stand at dusk in Osaka, Japan. The country is seeing a surge in young Muslim visitors as the Islamic tourism market starts to boom globally. Buddhika Weerasinghe/Bloomberg

Young Muslims worldwide are expected to almost double their spending on travel in the coming years, driving a boom in Islamic tourism that will make the sector worth US$300 billion, a study said Thursday.

The research comes at a time when more countries are eyeing a share of the burgeoning Muslim travel market.

Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Turkey are the biggest source of young Muslim travellers in the Islamic world, it said.

A growing number of young Muslims from Indonesia, which has the world's biggest Muslim population, Egypt and Kazakhstan are also travelling more frequently, and further afield such as South Asia, it added.

Tomoyuki Iizuka of the Japanese market research company Yano Research Institute, said: "Muslim visits to Japan are expected to further increase, and we anticipate that demand for halal food will also increase in Japan."

Halal travel has grown recently, with airports, restaurants and hotels seeking to provide Muslim-friendly facilities and services, such as prayer rooms and halal food outlets.

Fazal Bahardeen, the chief executive of the Islamic travel specialist HalalTrip, which carried out the study with Mastercard, said older Muslims typically travel in large families once a year while young Muslims, aged 20 to 36, take multiple trips.

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"Travel within this young generation of Muslims is booming as consumers with more disposable income seek more exotic experiences and far-flung destinations than their parents," said Mr Bahardeen.

"Their per trip expenditure could be lower than the earlier generation but since they make multiple trips per year, their overall expenditure is higher."

Mr Bahardeen said that within the next five to 10 years, many Muslims would be entering the stage of their lives where they earn, spend and travel the most.

Spending on travel during 2016 for young Muslims was at around US$55 billion, while the total Muslim travel segment was worth $156bn, he added.

The figures are expected to increase respectively to $100bn by 2025 and $300bn by 2026, the study said.

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