Female Muslim travellers are quickly becoming one of the fastest growing subsegments within the Muslim travel market, a new study has revealed. Indeed, of the 140 million total Muslim travellers in 2018, 63 million were women. They spent an estimated total of USD $80 billion on their journeys. Some 28% of these women, were solo female travellers. This figure shows a growing, young demographic that is willing to go abroad and experience the world.
What do Muslim travellers look for?
Muslim travellers as a whole are increasingly being identified within the travel industry as a specific segment. This has come along with a continuous facilitation of their travel needs from service providers.
Specifically, Muslim women seek travel experiences that support their individual lifestyles and align with community as well as religious values.
The study showed that Muslim women travellers often look for the same things from their holidays as all female travellers worldwide: safety and security, as well as healthy food options and good shopping experiences. Other popular activities include adventures, special events such as festivals and spa and wellness.
In addition, most Muslim women also look to combine their faith into their travels. This can come in the form of halal dining, accessible religious facilities such as female-only prayer rooms, or single-gender spas and beauty salons. Almost three quarters of the women who participated in the study said eco-friendly tourism is also a priority.
With these points in mind, it is no surprise then that the 4 destinations considered to be Muslim women-friendly are: Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Indonesia. All of these countries are members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. These destinations offer the much desired halal food, private prayer spaces and recreational areas.
The remaining countries which belong to the top 10 Muslim women-friendly destinations include:
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
Of those questioned, the most popular purpouse of travel response was ‘leisure’ at 90%. This includes visiting family and friends. Religious travel at 21%, including Hajj & Umrah, was the second most popular answer. With a growing participation of Muslim women in the workforce across a wide range of sectors, business travel was third at 11%.
This is a young and educated population, with rising income levels and a growing desire to see the world. Already totalling 140 million Muslim travellers around the world in 2018, the estimated projection to 230 million in 2026 seems quite rational. Saudi Arabia opening its doors to tourists and investing heavily in the industry will surely also aid towards reaching this number. Similarly, the global Muslim population is estimated to be growing twice as fast as the overall world population. By the year 2050, one third of people worldwide will belong to this demographic.
The younger women will be entering their peak earnings and are expected to spend more on travel within the next decade, said Aisha Islam, VP, market product management, Mastercard: “Muslim women travellers are ready to see the world. This young and driven demographic is ready to engage travel industry providers who welcome them and curate experiences that keep their values and community in the forefront.”