The world’s first ever B2B global aggregator of comprehensive Halal tourism products has seen a flying start following its official launch.
Over 100 travel agents and tour operators from across the world have signed up as distribution partners for the Muslim Travel Warehouse which made its debut at ATM 2015 in Dubai.
The Muslim Travel Warehouse is the first time ever that travel agents have access to comprehensive tailored holiday packages directly for Muslim consumers – a market set to swell to $200 billion in the next five years.
During the ATM, it also made agreements with over 30 destinations who will partner to develop Halal-friendly packages. Currently, Muslim Travel Warehouse has launched packages for 16 destinations including UAE, Malaysia, UK, US and Maldives.
Anas Kasak, CMO of Muslim Travel Warehouse, said the business was created as a direct response to the demand from the industry who wanted to capitalise on the booming trend for Halal tourism.
He said: “We have had a phenomenal and overwhelming reception to the launch from almost every section of the industry
“Halal tourism is now increasingly becoming a priority for operators across the world and there was a huge demand from the tourism sector for a solution like Muslim Travel Warehouse.
“Over the course of the ATM we have hosted representatives from destinations across the world including Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and USA who have signed up as partners.
“In addition, over 30 destinations and many hotels want to partner to develop further Halal packages which means we could have products for nearly 50 destinations in the next six months.”
According to the latest figures in the “MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2015, the halal tourism sector was worth $145 billion in 2014. This figure is predicted to grow to $200 billion by 2020.
Muslim Travel Warehouse, part of CrescentRating which is the world’s leading authority in Halal travel, will provide a suite of services for its partners alongside bespoke packages.
This will include live travel trade helpdesk via the live chat service, detailed Halal tourism information including fact sheets, digital brochures, restaurant and spa menus.
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Travel to unknown destinations isn’t always easy for Muslim holiday goers concerned about where to find Islamic-friendly food and prayer facilities.
Halal travel site Crescent Ratings wants to address that. It just launched a travel aggregator called the Muslim Travel Warehouse aimed at helping tour agents arrange tailored packages for Muslim travelers.
Crescent Rating CEO Fazal Bahardeen says the site will help agents take advantage of a rapidly growing market worth around $145 billion last year, according to a travel survey it conducted in partnership with Master Card.
Much of the world’s Muslim population comes from such fast-growing emerging markets as Indonesia and Turkey, and according to the study, faith is increasingly a factor in their purchasing decisions.
Singapore-based Crescent Rating has been rating destinations based on access to Muslim friendly services and facilities since 2008. It also runs a TripAdvisor type website called halaltrip.com.
The new travel aggregator will develop tour packages to places such as the Maldives and Sri Lanka, choosing hotels and restaurants based on things like their access to halal food and prayer places.
Visits to Islamic sites would also be part of the mix. A trip to Spain, for example, might include several stops in Andalus because of its Islamic history.
Demand for Muslim-friendly holidays is mainly coming from Malaysia, Indonesia and countries in the Middle East, such as Oman, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, said Mr. Bahardeen. The top destination last year was Saudi Arabia, driven by trips to the holy site of Mecca. Other Muslim-majority countries also were among the top destinations, but Mr. Bahardeen says more and more Muslim travelers are looking to explore new places, particularly in Europe.
And because they’re not sure of the availability of Muslim friendly services in those places, there is more demand for tour packages that provide that information, he said.
Malaysia grabbed the top spot in the Master Card survey, but Indonesia showed it has potential, something the country’s tourism industry and government are hoping to develop to boost the economy. The world’s most populous majority-Muslim country placed No. 6 with a Muslim friendliness ranking of 67.5%. Among the top 30 destinations where Muslim travelers went last year, however, Indonesia ranked 29th.
The Muslim Travel Warehouse currently covers 16 destinations but hopes to include around 50 by the end of the year. Mr. Bahardeen says it should add Indonesia within the coming months.