BERLIN: Malaysia has been named, along with Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as one of the preferred destinations for Muslim travellers, according to a survey.
The survey, conducted by DinarStandard, the leading survey institute for Muslim travel market, was presented during the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) here, the world's largest travel and tourism show by organiser Messe Berlin.
By the year 2020, growth in travel by Muslims is expected to touch 4.8%, significantly higher than the global figure of only 3.8%, the survey revealed.
“Indeed, Muslims will account for some 14% of all international trips,” the survey conducted by Reem El Shafaki, a senior associate of DinarStandard, stated.
The travel packages for Malaysia and other destinations offering halal food, cooking and prayer rooms, find approval with Muslim travellers, according to the survey.
The DinarStandard survey which examines the travel habits polled close to 1,000 Muslims around the world with half of the respondents from Asia, 22% from the Middle East and North Africa and 15% from the Americas.
Asked what was most important for them at their holiday destination, 67% responded that halal food and cooking were, while 53% said the second most important factor was the overall price of the trip.
For close to 50%, a Muslim-friendly atmosphere was among the most important holiday aspects.
According to El Shafaki, tour operators who want to be part of this anticipated boom of the future must make sure certain conditions like halal food and cooking as well as prayer rooms, are fulfilled.
The ITB Berlin 2013 attracted a total of 10,086 exhibitors from 188 countries who showcased their products and services to 170,000 visitors, including 110,000 trade visitors.
Describing Malaysia as a “fascinating tourism destination”, Raimund Hosch, the chief executive of Messe Berlin and a leading German expert on international tourism, said that Malaysia could attract greater tourist arrivals in the future.
Hosch said that Malaysia built up a “very modern infrastructure along with cultural diversity, good sports and medical facilities, besides being an important Asean member country”.
“Given its growing interaction with the global industry and business, Malaysia can also be an interesting destination for the business traveller,” he added.
Malaysia is part of the strong growth tourism sector of the Asia-Pacific region, despite the economic and financial crunch in major markets in Europe and the United States.