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Islamic Lifestyle

‘Travel and social impact will be intertwined’, says new halal travel study

“Travel and social impact will be intertwined,” according to a Muslim-friendly travel trends report released on Wednesday (Feb 5).

The report from Muslim-friendly travel consultants CrescentRating in partnership with Mastercard identifies 16 key trends they say will shape the next phase of halal tourism development in 2020.

Social causes are now at the forefront and can no longer be an afterthought, says the report.

“Social activism and travel work hand in hand, whether that means contributing to local businesses, working with social impact organisations as part of travel and taking care to pay attention to sustainability,” halal travel pioneer CrescentRating said in a statement.

The report also highlights technology that it says will continue to be a “central driver in enhancing and creating new experiences” in tourism.

It suggests that innovations such as global travel wallets enabled by security features will see increased usage in 2020, and that with the launch of Saudi Arabia’s e-tourist visas in September last year, “the next battle of the umrah market will be in the digital space”, specifically what it calls “the gold rush” for behaviour data.

Other key trends for the Muslim-friendly travel sector include demographic and environmental changes that it says continue to affect the role of media and its impact on viewers.

“New influencers such as Daud Kim have emerged and are sharing stories that are more authentic and relatable,” said the Singapore-based company referring to the former K-pop star who became a Muslim.

The popularity of certain television shows that can now be accessed globally via streaming services are also influencing the Muslim-friendly travel landscape.

“In addition, TV series such as Ertugrul rekindle the interest of Muslims to better learn about past figures and places,” said CrescentRating.

Resurrection: Ertugrul is the Turkish historical fiction television series picked up by Netflix that has become wildly popular outside of its home country, especially to Muslim communities in Southeast Asia.

The Halal Travel Frontier 2020 report also identifies other key trends that have been inherent in the sector, including ensuring off-track destinations cater to Muslim requirements, the persistent need to overcome Islamophobia, and the reframing of halal tourism for inbound markets, especially for non-Islamic destinations.

“Some local communities of the destinations fear the loss of local culture and heritage if ‘halal tourism’ is promoted,” said the report.

As the industry develops, the needs of Gen Z and Gen Alpha are fast coming up in the travel industry’s rear view.

“In the year 2020, Gen Z Muslims will be in the workforce and playing a key role in determining the next phase of halal travel,” said the report.

“Gen Alpha will also play an important part in shaping the travel behaviours of families.

“The travel sector in 2020 needs to be future-ready for both these generations.”

Global Muslim travel expenditure is valued at $189 billion in 2018, according to the State of the Global Islamic Economy 2019/20 report from DinarStandard, the parent company of Salaam Gateway.

The growth strategy research and advisory firm estimates global Muslim expenditure on travel to rise to $274 billion by 2024. 

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