Posted on September 30, 2015

Doha has been ranked among the top 10 destinations within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for Muslims to travel to for shopping purposes, according to a new report released today by MasterCard and CrescentRating just ahead of the upcoming Global Islamic Summit to be held in Dubai.

The Muslim Travel Shopping Index 2015 (MTSI 2015) was released during MasterCard’s Innovation Forum in Kuala Lumpur. It analyses the trends and preferences of the Muslim traveller shopping market based on the performance of 40 main international shopping destinations against a number of set criteria. Compiled by MasterCard and CrescentRating, the publication of the inaugural MTSI 2015 Index ranked Doha in Qatar as the eighth top shopping destination for Muslim tourists globally, with a weighted score of 59.5 out of 100.

Dubai in the UAE took the number one spot with a weighted score of 79.5 out of 100. Manama in Bahrain was the second highest ranked destination in the Arab World according to the MTSI 2015 for destinations within the OIC, coming in at seventh overall with a score of 59.6, while Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia followed closely as the fourth-ranked shopping destination in the Arab World, with an overall rating of ninth and a weighted score of 59.3. While it fell outside of the top 10 global Muslim travel shopping destinations, Sharjah in the UAE ranked fifth highest amongst the MTSI 2015 destinations in the Arab World, coming in 12th overall with a competitive score of 55.3.

Commenting on the release of MTSI 2015, Raghu Malhotra, Division President, Middle East and North Africa, MasterCard said, “With 108 million Muslim travellers representing 10 per cent of the entire travel economy in 2014, and forecasted to grow even further to 150 million visitors by 2020, it is evident this segment of the travel market represents a huge opportunity for both public and private sector organisations. We are very pleased to publish this Index on the travel and shopping patterns of Muslim communities in order for organisations around the world to more effectively target and capture share of this lucrative travel sector.”

How does it feel to fly with the best ?

Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating & HalalTrip said: “The MTSI is a fascinating insight into the shopping habits of Muslim consumers and will prove to be an invaluable tool to the entire sector. The research looks at two of the most important expenditure components of Muslim travellers which is shopping and dining. It is a perfect complement to the GMTI2015 which we launched earlier this year and allows us to provide a complete picture of how Muslims spend their money when travelling.”

MTSI uses a comprehensive set of metrics to rank destinations including a city’s suitability as a shopping destination, its Muslim-friendly services and facilities, and its ease of travel and family friendliness. Collectively, these factors contribute to the overall score and ranking of each destination. The report also provides valuable insight into the behaviour and preference of Muslim travel shoppers and diners.

Key findings of the MTSI 2015 report include:

  • Total expenditure of Muslim travellers visiting the 40 cities included in the report amounted to US$36 billion in 2014. Of this total expenditure, US$9.3 billion (26 per cent) was spent on shopping.
  • 56 per cent of respondents shop for souvenirs as typical purchases, while 45 per cent shop for local clothing brands. 40 per cent of respondents also purchase Islamic clothing and accessories, while 38 per cent chose traditional handicrafts to buy.
  • Results of the study highlight that 27 per cent of respondents spend between US$250 – 500 on shopping whilst travelling, while 24 per cent spend between US$500 – 1,000, and 20 per cent spend over US$1,000.
  • When travelling, 55 per cent of the survey pool still prefers to use cash for purchases. 35 per cent on the other hand, prefer using credit cards for their purchases, while 6 per cent utlise debit cards.
  • Singapore and London ranked among the top five destinations for Muslim shopping travellers, revealing that Muslims are becoming more adventurous and welcoming of new shopping and dining experiences. 
  • Although OIC destinations have an advantage due to possessing Muslim-friendly environments as a default, non-OIC destinations can successfully compete for Muslim travellers by proactively catering to this segment. 

The full report is available here http://mtsi.crescentrating.com.

The top 10 OIC destinations in the MTSI 2015 are:

Rank

MTSI Rank

City

Country

Score

1

1

Dubai

United Arab Emirates

79.5

2

2

Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia

73.3

3

5

Istanbul

Turkey

64.2

4

6

Antalya

Turkey

61.2

5

7

Manama

Bahrain

59.6

6

8

Doha

Qatar

59.5

7

9

Riyadh

Saudi Arabia

59.3

8

10

Bali

Indonesia

58.2

9

11

Penang

Malaysia

56.9

10

12

Sharjah

United Arab Emirates

55.3

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