SINGAPORE: Malaysia has been rated the world’s top Muslim-friendly holiday destination in a survey released Wednesday that listed Egypt, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Singapore as runners-up.
The study by Singapore-based Muslim travel consultancy Crescentrating ranked countries on how well they cater to the growing number of Muslim holidaymakers seeking halal – or Islam-compliant – food and services.
It used criteria including the level of safety in a country, the ease of access to halal food and prayer facilities, and whether hotels cater to the needs of Muslim guests.
On a scale of one to 10 in which 10 is the best score, Malaysia came out number one with a grade of 8.3 among 50 nations surveyed.
Egypt was in second place with 6.7, followed by the United Arab Emirates and Turkey both with 6.6. Saudi Arabia was in fourth place with a score of 6.4 and Singapore was fifth with 6.3.
Indonesia, Morocco and Jordan scored 6.1 to tie in sixth place, trailed by seventh-place Brunei, Qatar, Tunisia and Oman, all with a score of 6.0.
Crescentrating chief executive Fazal Bahardeen said the survey was taken from the point of view of the traveller, meaning that it measured the ease of access by Muslim tourists – not locals – to halal food and facilities.
"Malaysia is one of the few countries where you can find a prayer place in almost every location – be it a shopping mall or the airport," Fazal told AFP.
He said that while Malaysian authorities have been focusing on the market for several years, Indonesia – the world's most populous Muslim nation – has not done as well.
"The main problem for Indonesia is that it's not straightforward for a Muslim visitor to find halal food availability. For locals it's probably not an issue."
Saudi Arabia figured as a holiday destination for the first time since the survey started in 2011 because more Muslims use their holidays to go there to perform the Umrah, a minor pilgrimage, Fazal said.
In terms of cities as a shopping destination, Dubai pipped Kuala Lumpur for the number-one spot, according to the survey which rated the presence of halal food and prayer facilities at shopping malls.
Istanbul, Jeddah, Singapore, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, New Delhi, London and Doha completed the top-10 shopping destinations.
Thailand's Suvarnabhumi Airport and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport were rated among the friendliest to Muslim travellers.
Spending by Muslim tourists is growing faster than the global rate and is forecast to reach $192 billion a year by 2020, up from $126 billion in 2011, according to a study by Crescentrating and another company released last year.
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Product of Pakistan 1 Religion+Politics: Corruption 2 Religion+Education: Extremism/Terrorism now
3 Religion+Tourism: ????? waiting for result
Gulam Rasool"Kuldeep sharma" New Delhi
I want to go there too, is English spoken by the youth fluently ?
@gp65.: Can you please make some recommendations. For me meat whether available or not is not a problem I can suppress my animal instinct for a few days. Exotic fruits, tranquility, safety, beauty, friendliness, understanding of language, easy transportation, mild weather in winter and hygienic atmosphere are imp. I don't have to go to a far away country to find God, I can pray anywhere I want. Regards, M
@Mirza: I agree Malaysia is a good tourist destination and have definitely enjoyed Malaysia each time I have visited. But if Halaal food and prayer rooms are not constraints one has to work with - there are many other destinations that have a lot more to offer. So someone might skip Malaysia, not because it lacks something but because others have something that Malaysia does not.
So True when it comes to prayer place in Malaysia. Even LRTs had small prayer rooms called 'surau'. Whereas such aren't found in Dubai at metro stations and many buildings and sometimes have to walk a lot to find some place for prayers.
However, pork n alcohol r freely available in shops in Malaysia whereas in UAE its restricted to bars only and restaurants don't serve pork. I wonder how Malaysia is at the top and UAE runners up and Saudi even after that :/
@Raja: Halal food is another myth. Muslims I know in India and US, do not care for halal food. Just a few days ago when I was getting my coffee at the Starbucks, I heard a Bangladeshi family standing in the line discussing if they should have lunch at McDonald's or a Chinese restaurant. The woman in the Bangladeshi family were wearing burka. There are many Indian and Pakistani restaurants serving halal food in the same area. Muslims may prefer halal meat, but do not care that much if it is not so. I haven't seen any halal mark in any of the chicken or meet sold in the super markets here but muslims buy these. Yes, there are some stores that sell halal meat also. One Jack In the Box franchise in my area is owned by a Pakistani Muslim family. They do not sell halal food either.
@Gratgy: ok......got it!!!!!!!! :)
@Gratgy: ho ho ho good one
how is it that new delhi is there not islamabad………??? explain
Pakistan, especially Karachi falls under "Adventure" Tourism. Those who visit enjoy the sheer adrenalin rush
Nomi, I second you. It's pretty sad. Pakistan can offer a lot more than Malaysia if governed, developed properly without personal interests. But sad!!!!
@Zalim singh: Because as a Muslim, we find it hard to access halal food, prayer areas etc in many tourist spots.
Pakistan rated top Muslim-friendly ……?……. Destination. Can anyone beat them?
One does not need to be a rocket scientist to figure out as to why we are no where there up on that list.
how is it that new delhi is there not islamabad.........??? explain
Its so sad that the 2nd largest muslim nation is nowhere close to them.
In the 60s, Pakistan was much more likeable. Many arabs and southeast asians used to visit Pakistan frequently.
why mix religion and tourism?
What about Baku Azerbaijan. Went there last month. Most beautiful city ever