SINGAPORE - For the fourth time running, Singapore has been named the top destination for Muslim travellers among non-Muslim countries.
The Global Muslim Travel Index, released on Wednesday (March 23), gave Singapore high scores for its safe travel environment, number of halal dining options and ease of communication.
The index ranked 130 destinations based on 11 criteria, such as ease of access to prayer spaces and accommodation options. Two new criteria, air connectivity and visa restrictions, were added to the existing nine this year.
Singapore welcomed 2.6 million Muslim visitors last year. With an index score of 68.4, Singapore was No. 8 on the overall list, one position higher than last year. The average score for all destinations stands at 43.7.
The top five spots were dominated by members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation - Malaysia came in first, followed by United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Indonesia and Qatar.
According to the study, there were 117 million Muslim travellers last year, who spent US$150 billion (S$205.01). These travellers represented 10 per cent of the global travel economy.
By 2020, the number of Muslim travellers is expected to reach 168 million and have a market value of US$200 billion.
The index was developed by payment company MasterCard and Muslim travel industry consultancy Crescent Rating.