Middle East to benefit from global Muslim travel boom

World Tuesday 06/November/2018 20:41 PM
By: Times News Service
Middle East to benefit from global Muslim travel boom

London: The GDP impact of the global Muslim travel sector is projected to reach $183 billion by the year 2020, according to new research released today at London’s World Travel Market.

According to the ‘Global Economic Impact of Muslim Tourism and Future Growth Projection: 2017-2020’ report by Salam Standard, this figure is up from $148 billion in 2017.

It is expected that the industry will directly and indirectly employ 5.6 million people worldwide by the end of the decade and have a projected tax impact of $24 billion.

Inbound Muslim travellers spent an estimated $127 billion in 2017, which is forecast to rise to at least $157 billion by 2020.

The Middle East comes second place to the US for highest projected GDP impact from Muslim travel, with a projected $18 billion by 2020, compared to the US’s $21.4 billion.

Total global outbound Muslim tourism expenditure is expected to develop at a similar rate to inbound spend, from $101 billion in 2017 to $122 billion by 2020, and the Middle East is by far the largest source market worldwide in this respect.

The region contributed $62.2 billion in 2017 and this is forecast to rise to $72 billion by 2020.

Travellers from Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the biggest spenders, with their share of the global total predicted to reach a staggering 41% by the end of the decade.

Salam Standard’s report also highlights the total tax impact worldwide of Muslim travel, which grew from $18.6 billion in 2016 to $19.5 billion in 2017 and is predicted to reach $24 billion by 2020. The US and EU are the chief beneficiaries and are collectively set to receive $16.4 billion in taxes by 2020.

Other countries with a notable tax impact from Muslim tourism are China at $1.1 billion and Thailand at $1 billion.

“The report findings are clear; the Muslim travel industry is a major contributor to [the] tourism GDP of Muslim and non-Muslim countries around the globe, generating significant economic wealth, tax income and employment opportunities,” said Faeez Fadhlillah, Co-Founder and CEO of Salam Standard and Muslim-friendly hotel booking portal, Tripfez.

“With the sector forecast to continue its strong growth trajectory, driven by Asia and the Middle East where young and aspirational populations and an increasingly-affluent middle class are hungry to travel the world in a faith-compatible way, savvy destinations and travel companies around the world can capitalise on this market’s untapped potential,” he added.