Turkey rising destination among Muslim tourists
ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
The number of tourists from Muslim nations to Turkey is increasing rapidly, figures say. Istanbul, the country’s largest city, is among the most preferred destinations. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK
Turkey has become the second most-visited country by Muslim tourists, after Malaysia, according to a study titled “Global Muslim Lifestyle Tourism Market 2012: Landscape & Consumer Needs.”
The study of Muslim tourists and the Muslim tourism market was conducted in 14 countries by the New York-based specialized research, advisory and business media firm DinarStandard and the world’s largest halal-friendly travel website, Singapore-based CrescentRating. According to the research, the global Muslim tourism market was worth $126.1 billion in expenditure in 2011, accounting for 12.3 percent of global tourism expenditure. By 2020, global Muslim tourism expenditure will increase 13.4 percent to $192 billion, the study says.
“This research will help players in the tourism industry improve their services and develop marketing strategies by analyzing the lifestyle of Muslims in the tourism market,” CrescentRating CEO Fazal Bahardeen said of the study.
Findings to help tourism companies
“Muslim tourists make up the largest undiscovered market in the tourism industry. Airlines, destinations, hotels and resorts can benefit tremendously by catering to the unique Muslim lifestyle travel drivers, including halal food, family-friendly environments, accommodation of religious practices, and nuances of gender relations,” said Rafi-uddin Shikoh, CEO and managing director of DinarStandard.
According to the study, Turkey was the second most-visited country by Muslim tourists, with Malaysia holding first place on the list. After Turkey, other popular destinations for Muslim travelers include the U.A.E., Singapore, Russia, China, France, Thailand and Italy. In 2011, 60 percent of total global Muslim tourist expenditure occurred in the Middle East and North Africa.
Germany took first place for outbound tourism expenditure by Muslim communities living in non-Muslim countries. Russia followed in second place, and France, where many North African Muslims live, was third.
In 2011 31.4 million tourists came to Turkey, according to the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s border statistics.
TOURISTS FROM MUSLIM COUNTRIES
The chart below shows the number of tourists to Turkey from Muslim countries and their rate in Turkey’s overall tourism as of 2011:
Country Number of visitors Rate
IRAN 1,879,304 5.97
SYRIA 974,054 3.1
AZERBAIJAN 424,155 1.84
IRAQ 369,033 1.17
KAZAKHSTAN 219,445 1
Turkish Cyprus 203,272 0.65
LEBANON 137,110 0.44
SAUDI ARABIA 116,711 0.37
TURKMENISTAN 112,358 0.44
JORDAN 94,914 0.30