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Thailand as the second most Muslim-friendly travel destination among destinations

A new report by the Mastercard-Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2018 has ranked Thailand as the second most Muslim-friendly travel destination among destinations under the non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

 

Among non-OIC destinations, Thailand retained its second position behind Singapore, as the most Muslim-friendly destination for travellers. Japan and Taiwan surged into the top five for the first time since the GMTI was released. 

 

Thailand improved its ranking by two spots to the 16th position among 130 destinations. The improvement can be attributed to the continued effort by Thailand\'s tourism stakeholders in broadening the availability of halal restaurants and promoting the destination to Muslim travellers.

 

A number of Asian destinations improved their rankings as they adapt their services to attract Muslim travellers. The index highlighted the lack of a strong digital presence by most destinations.

 

The index, which was officially launched in Jakarta in April, confirmed that the Muslim travel market will continue its fast-paced growth to reach US$220 billion in 2020 and US$300 billion by 2026.

 

In 2017, there were an estimated 131 million Muslim visitor arrivals globally - up from 121 million in 2016. This is forecasted to grow to 156 million visitors by 2020, representing 10 per cent of the travel segment. Muslim visitor arrivals in Thailand were estimated to be 3.6 million, approximately 10 per cent of the tourists to Thailand in 2017.

 

Thailand is catching up to the leaders in attracting Muslim visitors as government initiatives, such as the National e-Payment Plan and Standardised QR Code, make travelling safer and more convenient for more diverse international visitors, said Mr Donald Ong, country manager for Thailand and Myanmar at Mastercard. 

 

\"Thailand is already ranked second among non-OIC countries as our growing tourism industry taps into this increasingly important market segment,\" he added.

 

Mrs. Srisuda Wanapinyosak, Deputy Governor of International Marketing (Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas), TAT, said: “Thailand offers something unique and exciting for every type of visitor from across the world. With an array of clear water and white sand beaches for those looking to relax, to world-class wellness retreats for those looking to re-charge, to some of the most stunning temples and cultural sights in the world. Not to mention, the vast array of food from a Michelin star street food vendor to upscale Thai restaurants and an array of other cuisines. Thailand also offers travellers a vast number of accommodation options with everything from 5-star family-friendly hotels with halal options to boutique hostels for solo travellers.”

 

All 130 destinations in the GMTI 2018 have been ranked against a backdrop of criteria with some new metrics added for this year\'s research including the Crescent Rating Growth-Innovation Model.

 

Key metrics included access, which contains infrastructure, communications, and looking at how destinations market themselves to a target audience environment and services. Each criterion is then weighted to make up the overall index score.

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