SINGAPORE - The Republic is the most popular destination for Muslim travellers, outside Organisation of Islamic Cooperation countries, for the third consecutive year.
It was also the 10th most popular destination overall last year (2016), according to the latest Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index - slipping two places from the previous measure.
The index surveyed 130 travel destinations worldwide, assessing them based on four criteria - access, communications, environment and services. These categories covered topics such as family-friendliness, safety and hospitality options.
Malaysia was the most popular destination for the estimated 121 million Muslim tourists last year (2016), when Muslim travellers spent about US$155 billion (S$216 billion) worldwide.
Muslims make up one-tenth of all travellers and by 2020, the Muslim travel market is forecast to be worth US$220 billion.
Asia is the most popular region for Muslim travellers, with places such as Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan performing well in the index.
CrescentRating and HalalTrip chief executive Fazal Bahardeen said in a media statement that younger Muslim travellers would shape the market as it continues to grow.
"These younger travellers want greater choice, unique experiences and constant connectivity," he said, "which can be seen with the growth of other Muslim lifestyle segments such as halal food and modest fashion, which link perfectly with the travel market."
Mr Safdar Khan, Mastercard's division president for Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei, said that with technological tools becoming embedded in the Muslim travel experience - from planning to sharing the visit - "there is a huge opportunity for service providers to innovate and adapt their offerings to cater to the unique needs of this segment at each of these phases across multiple touch points".