Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2023 revealed the top travel destinations for Muslim travelers and shared the latest travel trends for the industry.
The annual report, now in its eighth year, analyzes data across nearly 140 countries to offer comprehensive insights into which destinations best meet the needs of the increasingly influential Halal travel segment.
According to the GMTI, Muslim international arrivals hit 110 million in 2022 and are forecast to reach 140 million this year. By 2028, Muslim arrivals are expected to hit 230 million, with projected expenditure of USD225 billion. Currently, Asia leads the way for arrivals, with more than 31 percent of all travelers to this region identifying as Muslim.
Indonesia and Malaysia, which scored equally in the index this year, have long been popular destinations for Muslim tourists; Indonesia had previously topped the ranking in the 2019 report, while Malaysia has consistently been at the forefront of the GMTI since 2015.
Saudi Arabia dropped one place and ranked 3rd in 2023, while the United Arab Emirates (UAE) gain one place and ranked 4th. Türkiye – Turkey ranked in 5th place with a drop of 3 points.
The United Kingdom (UK) emerges in the top 20 rankings, impressively climbing eight positions from the previous year to secure the 20th spot on GMTI 2023. Singapore and The UK are the two non-OIC destinations featured in the top 20.
Top 20 Destinations for Muslim Travelers
The index assesses destinations across four key criteria: Access, Communications, Environment, and Services (ACES). Southeast Asian destinations ranked among the top 10 on all four of these criteria, while in the aggregate, Indonesia and Malaysia both scored 73 (out of a possible 100), Singapore scored 64, Thailand achieved a score of 52, and the Philippines, 46.
Top 20 non-OIC Destinations
Singapore continues to hold its coveted position at the top among non-OIC destinations in GMTI 2023, demonstrating remarkable consistency since the index’s inception in 2015. The United Kingdom (UK) has made strides, securing second place and surpassing Taiwan, now positioned third. Notably, Germany exhibits significant advancement this year, ascending by five positions and capturing the impressive 7th spot among the top non-OIC destinations in GMTI 2023. In addition, the Philippines has improved it’s position to rank at 7.
The report also found that a number of global travel behaviors are impacting trends among Muslim travelers, with the demographic increasingly: incorporating sustainability into their travel; opting for destinations and activities to improve their health and wellness; finding opportunities for immersive experiences and authenticity; incorporating personal development into their travel plans.