TODAY’S – Turkey 2nd most popular travel destination for Muslims

Turkey 2nd most popular travel destination for MuslimsWith its score of 73.8 points, Turkey came in second place on the andldquoMasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2015,andrdquo which ranked countries based on a set of criteria gauging the level of satisfaction with services for Muslim travelers in each country.

According to the most recent study jointly carried out by CrescentRating, the worldand#39s leading authority on halal-friendly travel, and MasterCard, a global payment firm, Turkey was second on the GMTI for 2015 among members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), placing after Malaysia, which was at the top of the list. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Indonesia followed Turkey in the rankings.

Even though Saudi Arabia saw the largest number of Muslim arrivals to the country with 10.2 million visitors in 2014, it was ranked behind Malaysia, Turkey and the UAE since, according to the data, those three countries offered a much higher quality of service to their visitors.

The report states that some 108 million Muslims traveled throughout the world, spending $145 billion in total, in 2014, and the number of travelers is expected to reach 150 million in 2020 with a market volume that is likely to be worth $200 billion. While the halal segment constituted just 10 percent of the market of all travelers, the report said, it is expected to represent 20 percent by 2020.

According to the report, Turkey welcomed 76 million Muslim arrivals in 2014, accounting for 18.3 percent of all tourists visiting Turkey in the same year Recent government data indicated that 41.

4 million tourists visited Turkey in 2014.The GMTI criteria that form the basis of the scores include suitability level for family holidays, the level of services and facilities, accommodation options and marketing initiatives, as well as the number of arrivals.

The maximum score is 100 points, awarded in two separate groups, members of the OIC and non-OIC member countries.While Malaysia topped the list as the most popular tourism destination with 83.

8 points in the OIC group, Singapore took the first spot in the non-OIC category with 65.1 points, a score which would be ranked ninth if it was a member of the OIC.

Singapore was followed by Thailand with 59.2 points, the UK with 55 points, South Africa with 51.

1 points and France with 48.2 points.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman