RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has grabbed the second spot in the top halal travel destinations in the world, as the Kingdom continues its steady journey to emerge as a global tourism hub by 2030, which also includes increasing the number of pilgrims to Makkah and Madinah.
In the list of top “Muslim-Friendly Destinations of the Year in OIC,” compiled by Mastercard-CrescentRating’s Global Muslim Travel Index 2022, Malaysia maintained its top spot, followed by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Indonesia share the second spot.
The UAE is in the fifth spot, followed by Qatar and Iran in the sixth and seventh places respectively. Singapore is the only country out of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, which found a spot in the top 20 list.
The Global Muslim Travel Index monitors the overall performance of the Muslim travel market. It should be also noted that Malaysia has been holding the top position in the index since its launch in 2015.
When it comes to access, the UAE came first, followed by Qatar, Oman, and Saudi Arabia in the second, third and fourth spots respectively.
“The pre-pandemic projection of 230 million arrivals by 2026 will now be reached in 2028 with an estimated expenditure of $225 billion. This recovery process is fragile and could be disrupted by the continuing war in Ukraine, fuel price increases, and other health threats such as the emerging monkeypox or COVID-19 variants,” said Fazal Bahardeen, founder and CEO of CrescentRating, HalalTrip.
Safdar Khan, division president of Mastercard, South East Asia, said: “Tourists are taking to the skies again, as countries relax travel restrictions and reopen borders. There are signs to show that travel is on the verge of a comeback as people look to reconnect.”