Muslim millennial travelers are big business – and Asia is cashing in

Muslim millennials are expected to represent a $100-billion market by 2025. Source: Shutterstock

Malaysia, Indonesia, and Japan have been named the three favourite destinations among millennial Muslims, according to a recent survey.

The survey published in “Muslim Millennial Travel Report 2017” found that the majority of respondents chose these countries as they were “affordable, authentic, accessible”, according to the Inquirer recently.

The report by global payments and technology company MasterCard and Muslim- and Halal-focused travel platform HalalTrip said this was why brands should pay close attention to the segment as this generation is expected to represent a $100-billion market by 2025.

The survey looks at Muslim millennial travelers’ (also known as MMTs) trip-planning and travel decision-making processes, key experiences and activities they seek. It also looks at their social media and other digital behaviors while travelling, and the market’s potential in relation to certain sectors in the tourism and hospitality industries, the Inquirer report said.

Some 370 respondents aged between 18 and 36 from Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East in the survey carried out online between April to September this year.

Over 93 percent of the respondents named “leisure and holiday”, “experiencing local culture and heritage” and “visiting friends and relatives” as their three main reasons for travelling. Nearly half said they travelled two to five times a year with 41 percent saying they usually travelled with family while 32 percent said they travelled with friends.

Their trips lasted an average of four to six days and they typically spend between US$100 to $500 for each component of their trip, including flights, accommodation, meals, shopping, and miscellaneous expenses.

The factors that influenced the respondents’ travel decisions include flight and lodging, safety and terrorism concerns, and availability of Halal food, among others.

The MMTs also said they were highly influenced by online information posted by other travelers and review sites. The majority of the respondents (61 percent) book hotels depending on their affordability, location and availability of WiFi.

“Millennial values are increasingly shifting away from the acquisition of goods toward a focus on experiences such as travel. For Muslim millennials, travel is more than just a vacation, it is often viewed as an opportunity for personal growth and development, to seek new experiences and for bonding with family and friends,” Mastercard Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei division vice-president for core and digital products Aisha Islam was quoted as saying.

Approximately one billion Muslims are under the age of 30 and represent 60 percent of the population in Muslim majority countries, the report said, showing the opportunity that lies in the Muslim travel market. Muslims are also projected to make up 29 percent of the global population aged between 15 and 29 by 2030.

Despite coming in second this year, Indonesian Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said the country was grateful for the achievement as it was an improvement from last year.

The republic is also determined to topple Malaysia from the first place in the near future.

“Our emotional rival is Malaysia, while Thailand is our professional rival. We need to find ways to defeat our rivals and how to catch up with them,” Arief said, as quoted by the Jakarta Post.