A report reveals what muslim women look for in their travels
The target group of Muslim travellers requires characteristics and preferences that tourism operators must consider in their offer. What is wrong, however, is the idea that muslim travellers are only men, or that women do not travel unless accompanied by men.
This is clearly highlighted by the Mastercard – CrescentRating report “Muslim Women in Travel 2019” which reports that the number of muslim women who travelled in 2018 was 63 million, out of a total of 140 million muslim travellers. This number is expected to double by 2026. The total annual travel expenditure of this target group of women tourists was about 55 billion euros.
It is an increasing target: at its base there are a growing number of young Muslims with greater economic availability, together with the strengthening of the middle class in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation countries (57 countries in total, including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Iran, Morocco), as well as greater disposable income at household level.
According to the report, this target has some very distinct characteristics. It is a young target, mostly women between 20 and 40 years old, who make frequent trips (more than 3 per year) and cultural discovery, in line with the travel expectations of the target of millennials.
In the leisure segment, these women often travel with their families but also in small groups, with friends. On top of this, there is a growth in the business segment, which translates into a substantial number of individual female travellers.
The most substantial segment, however, is the leisure segment, which is based on a careful choice of destination. In fact, it must respond to the demand for a feeling of personal security and welcome.
TTG Asia reports that this choice is strongly conditioned by cultural attractiveness: the target is in fact looking for a pop culture, countries rich in history and cultural attractions that allow the sharing of visually impressive content on social networks, a feature that is found more generally in the millennials and Gen-Z.
The mobile-first strategy seems to be winning, as the smartphone is considered a key tool for the travel experience. This should also be taken into account when booking ancillary services, such as car rental, as well as when designing dedicated apps (e.g. indicating the best Halal restaurants in an area). The countries that best meet these requirements are South Korea, New Zealand and Japan.
The report stresses that the tourist offer should take into account the needs dictated by religious beliefs, as muslim women appreciate practicing their faith during their travels. In addition to Halal food services and places reserved for prayer (considered strategic points of the offer), some destinations have taken new initiatives. For example, tour operators in Singapore, the Maldives and Malaysia have provided services for women tourists only, such as spas or all-female gyms. But that’s not all: taking into account the willingness of this target to “make a difference”, an important characteristic of their faith, they have marked the structures and services to social and environmental sustainability and the authenticity of the travel experience.
At Twissen we observed how, once again, customization is the key word to attract this target group of tourists. The attention to detail, the offer of authentic and local travel experiences, but at the same time an eye to technology could be the right strategy for tour operators who want to involve this interesting and growing target.