South Africa has been ranked one of the top 10 most Muslim-friendly travel destinations for 2018 among non-organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries in the annual Mastercard-Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI). This adds a boost to Cape Town Tourism’s ongoing campaign to seeking growth in this market segment.

The organisation has implemented a number of initiatives which are geared towards developing the Muslim-friendly tourism market, as well as drive awareness around travel preferences and spread the word that the city is an ideal destination for the Muslim traveller.

Cape Town has a rich Muslim heritage, with Cape Malay Muslims accounting for a quarter of the city’s population. South Africa’s oldest mosque is also located in the Mother City, and is 200 years old.

Cape Town Tourism estimates that 26% of the world’s population will be Muslim by 2020, and a recent study has shown that halal tourism is now one of the fastest growing sectors of the global travel industry. Visitor spending is predicted to reach 220-billion US dollars in the next three years.

They has also recently released a glossary of terms and information for tourism businesses to gain a better understanding of the needs of Muslim travelers, as well as their preferences.

The organisation has also now provided access for Crescent Rating (CR) training, which offers a more in-depth look into halal tourism, and has also endorsed a CR/Mastercard program that will focus on showcasing product offerings and special offers for the Muslim traveller.

Tour operators can get in touch with Cape Town Tourism to be vetted for being added to the packages.

These latest developments follow on years of research into this specific market segment and some initial steps, including a chef exchange program. Local chefs were trained by two five-star chefs from Singapore, with two local hotel chefs being granted the opportunity to travel to Singapore for further exposure to this culinary style.

Cape Town Tourism has also been invited to share in a panel discussion at ITB Berlin, which is one of the world’s leading travel shows, to discuss the topic of catering to the needs of the Muslim visitor.

“There’s more to marketing Cape Town as a destination than showcasing what we already have, we can do more to make our city a welcoming tourism environment for visitors whose needs are specific. This means investigating what needs to be done and taking action, and we’re pleased to see this is already having an impact,” said Enver Duminy, Cape Town Tourism CEO.

In this year’s Mastercard Crescent Rating Global Muslim Travel Index, Malaysia topped the list as the world’s best overall halal travel destination, followed by the UAE and then Indonesia.

Article written by

Nidha Narrandes is a food-obsessed travel addict with 21 years of journalism experience. Her motto - Travel. Eat. Repeat. She is happiest on a road to nowhere without a plan. A masterchef at home, she can't do without chilli - because chilli makes the world a tastier place.