Cape Town stepping up to tap into $220bn Muslim travel sector


By 2020 approximately 26% of the world’s population will be Muslim and, given the growth of the Muslim middle class and younger population with increased disposable income, Muslim travelers are becoming a significant segment within the global travel and tourism sector. With that in mind, Cape Town Tourism has been seeking ways to develop awareness around Muslim travellers’ needs.

A recent study found that halaal tourism is now one of the fastest growing sectors of the global travel industry, with visitor spending predicted to reach $220bn by 2020.

South Africa has been ranked as one of the ten most Muslim-friendly travel destinations for 2018 among non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries in the annual Mastercard-Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI).

Cape Town Tourism has, in fact, got an ongoing campaign seeking to grow this market segment.

The organisation has implemented a number of initiatives geared towards developing the Muslim-friendly tourism market, to drive awareness around travel preferences and to spread the word that Cape Town is an ideal destination for the Muslim traveller.

Cape Town Tourism has, for instance, recently released information and a glossary of terms so that more tourism businesses can gain an understanding of the Muslim travellers’ needs and preferences.

In addition, the organisation has provided access to CR (Crescent Rating) training that offers a more in-depth look at halaal tourism and has endorsed a Crescent Rating/Mastercard programme that focuses on showcasing product offerings and special offers suitable to the Muslim traveller. Tour operators can get in touch with Cape Town Tourism to be vetted for being added to the packages.

These latest developments follow on from years of research into this market and some initial steps, including a chef exchange programme that saw local chefs being trained by two five-star chefs from Singapore and two local hotel chefs being given the opportunity to go to Singapore for further exposure to this culinary style.

Cape Town Tourism has also been invited to share in a panel discussion at ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show, around the topic of preparing to cater to the needs of the Muslim visitor.

“There’s more to marketing Cape Town as a destination than showcasing what we already have, we can do more to make our city a welcoming tourism environment for visitors whose needs are specific. This means investigating what needs to be done and taking action, and we’re pleased to see this is already having an impact,” says Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy.

In this year’s Mastercard Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel Index, Malaysia topped the list as the world’s best overall halaal travel destination, followed by the UAE and then Indonesia.

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