According to a recent study jointly carried out by the New York-based advisory firm DinarStandard, which specializes in business media and research in Muslim markets, and the largest Halal-friendly travel website, CrescentRating.com, Turkey ranks as the second most popular destination for Muslim travelers.
The report, titled “Global Muslim Lifestyle Tourism Market 2012: Landscape & Consumer Needs Study,” revealed that Malaysia came top out of the 14 countries included in the study. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore, Russia, China, France, Thailand and Italy followed the ranking after Malaysia and Turkey. The report indicated that Muslim tourists spent $126.1 billion in 2011, which amounts to 12.3 percent of revenue from tourism generated globally. In 2011, the countries from which most visitors traveled abroad were Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE and Kuwait.
The annual amount spent by Muslim travelers is twice as much as the annual amount spent by Chinese tourists. In addition, the report shows 67 percent of subjects of the study selected halal food as the most important consideration when traveling for leisure, while 53 percent stated it was the overall price and 49 percent answered they were looking for a Muslim-friendly experience.
According to statistics provided by Ministry of Culture and Tourism for the January to June period, the number of foreign tourists to Turkey declined by 2.33 percent to 12.7 million compared to 13.2 million tourists in the last half of 2011. The largest decline was seen in Iranian tourists by 39.6 percent, followed by Syrians with 35.2 percent. The number of French visitors also declined by 17.3 percent, UK tourists by 7.3 percent and Greek visitors by 5.7 percent.