Malaysia is top on a list of the world’s 10 most Muslim female-friendly countries, according to a new report from MasterCard and CrescentRating.
Muslim women are one of the fastest-growing segments in the global travel market, and solo holidays are especially popular among younger Muslim women.
Key features that Muslim women look out for before going on holiday include halal food, female prayer rooms, and freedom to wear the hijab in public.
Malaysia is the world’s most welcoming country for female Muslim travellers going solo, according to a joint report by Mastercard and halal-travel authority CrescentRating.
The country was found to have numerous key features women looked out for, such as halal food, female prayer rooms, single-gender spas, pools, beaches, beauty salons, as well as openness to the hijab being worn in public, the report said.
Other features included Islamic heritage tours, suhoor and iftar arrangements in hotels during Ramadan, and clean toilets with water to perform wudhu, a ritual wash done before prayer.
Published on Thursday (Oct 17), the Mastercard-CrescentRating report – which evaluated survey responses from 3,300 Muslim women, mostly from South-east Asia – claims to be the first in the world to look at the Muslim female travel market.
It ranked the top 10 Muslim female-friendly countries in the world, with the UAE, Turkey, Indonesia and Japan rounding out the top five.
Singapore came in sixth place, followed by South Korea, Australia, the UK and Brunei.
- Muslim Women in Travel 2019
The report said that female Muslims were one of the fastest-growing segments in the global travel market, thanks to rising incomes, better education, and the demographic’s increased empowerment to travel.
In general, Muslim women took between two and three holidays a year, accounting for slightly under half of all Muslim travels, the report said.
About 30 per cent of the 65 million journeys taken by the world’s Muslim women last year were solo holidays done mainly by younger women, it added.
Over half of female Muslims used social media to research their accommodation, itinerary and food options before travelling, with 65 per cent choosing independent travel over a guided tour.
Among their top goals while on holiday were shopping, cultural and adventurous activities, festivals, and visiting the spa.