After a sharp decline following 9/11, Muslim travel to the US is on the rise, though not yet to pre 9/11 levels. Crescentrating, a Muslim lifestyle friendly travel portal and rating service, estimates this market to be $100 billion globally in 2010. Crescentrating is now expanding to cover hotels in the United States which will enable US hotels to tap into this lucrative niche travel market.
According to the US Department of Homeland Security, the number of non-immigrant travelers from Muslim countries visiting the US drastically declined after 9/11. The average drop in these travelers between 2001and 2002 was 36%, but in some instances, as in the case of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, the decline reached 65% and 67% respectively. While travelers from Saudi Arabia and Turkey have increased from the 2001 numbers (up 38% and 22% respectively,) the rest of the Muslim majority country travelers are still not at pre 9/11 levels. Total international Muslim travelers to the US in 2010 are estimated at 959,000 compared to 904,000 in 2001.
Muslim travelers from the Arab, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are some of the most affluent in the world. In 2008, Britain is estimated to have had almost 500,000 travelers from just the GCC countries who spent an estimated $750 million that year. Meanwhile, destinations such as Turkey and Malaysia have seen more than five fold increases in Arab tourists since 2001. Attracting these travelers to the US could provide a much needed boost to the US travel industry.
In addition to inbound Muslim travelers, US Muslims are a niche opportunity as well. According to DinarStandard, a research and advisory firm and Crescentrating’s US marketing advisors, there were conservatively 6+ million Muslims in the US in 2009 with an estimated spending power of at least $97 billion. US Muslims are young, well-educated and Middle Class. (For more information on US Muslims travelers visit Crescentrating’s Muslim Travel Market page.)
“To attract Muslim travelers it serves well to cater to their unique needs, but almost as effective is acknowledging them and making them feel welcome.” says Rafi-uddin Shikoh of DinarStandard.
“Expanding into the US seemed like the next logical step for Crescentrating.” says Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of Crescentrating. “As the largest Muslim friendly hotel rating service platform globally, with almost 60,000 Facebook fans, Crescentrating has become the “go-to” resource for information on halal friendly travel destinations and hotels.” says Bahardeen. “We estimate that the growth of Muslim travelers will outpace the growth of other travel segments, and by 2020 this segment of travelers will be spending close to USD 200 billion a year.”
In an environment of heightened sensitivity towards Muslim population in the US, Crescentrating provides a low-risk way for Hotels and Resorts to target Muslim visitors through the Crescentrating.com website where Muslim travelers find reviews on Halal friendly hotels and tours, destination guides, as well as airport and, restaurant guides.
Muslim travelers have unique dietary, lifestyle and spiritual needs. Meals need to be Halal, much like Jewish Kosher. Muslims are required to pray five times a day at specific times, facing the direction of Mecca, so will need to know the prayer times for the destination they are visiting as well as the direction they will need to face. Hotels that are able to provide such choices to Muslim travelers are more likely to be favored by Muslims.
Media and hotels may also obtain additional information by visiting Crescentrating’s Muslim Traveler page.
Crescentrating Pte Ltd. is a Singapore based company focused on the development of the Halal Friendly Travel market segment worldwide. Crescentrating’s Hotel Rating, rates Hotels on a scale of 1 to 7. Apart from taking into consideration the very specific needs of the Halal conscious travelers such as prayer facilities, Halal food etc., the rating also takes into account family friendly facilities. Crescentrating.com’s website also allows online booking of Crescent-rated Halal friendly hotels and tours, provides destination guides, airport guides, restaurant guides, Qiblah locator, prayer time calculator etc. to cater to the unique needs of the Muslim traveler.
About DinarStandard™ (US marketing advisor for Crescentrating)
DinarStandard™ specializes in emerging Muslim markets – helping companies with their growth and investment strategies. For more than 5 years, DinarStandard™ has been a pioneer in researching and highlighting the emergence of the Muslim Lifestyle Market globally. It has been delivering Muslim market analysis, feasibility studies and growth strategies for its clients. Its anchor report, the DS100 -Top 100 Businesses of the Muslim World, and other original reports are regularly covered by global media such as The Economist, Forbes, Zaman (Turkey,) Malaysian Star and many others.