Salam Standard: GDP impact of global Muslim travel sector exceeds US$138 billion

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KUALA LUMPUR, December 15, 2016 — First Global Economic Impact of Muslim Tourism Report by Salam Standard reveals sector’s significant contribution to international travel market

 US$145 billion Muslim tourism spend

 US$138 billion impact on global GDP

 US$18 billion benefit to public finances

 4.3 million direct and indirect jobs

 The US and EU are top Muslim travel spend beneficiaries

 The Middle East generates largest outbound spend of US$60 billion

The GDP impact of the world’s Muslim tourism sector exceeded US$138 billion in 2015. The industry generated 4.3 million jobs and contributed more than $18 billion in tax revenue.

These are the topline findings of the inaugural Global Economic Impact of Muslim Tourism Report 2015 by Salam Standard, a leading authority on one of the Islamic Economy’s fastest-growing sectors – travel and tourism.

“To put this into perspective, a GDP impact of $138 billion is larger than the entire economy of Morocco or Kuwait,” said the report’s author, Faeez Fadhlillah, Co-Founder and CEO of Salam Standard and sister firm, Tripfez.

“The Muslim travel sector accounts for more than 10% of total global tourism spend and has a significant impact on the economic wealth of many of the world’s leading markets, creating jobs and boosting public finances. Its power and potential should not be ignored.”

The US and the EU are the top beneficiaries of Muslim travel spending, netting nearly $64 billion of inbound expenditure in 2015, or around 44% of the total.

They also collect the most Muslim tourist-related tax – to the tune of $12.5 billion, according to the report, which studied in detail the contribution of the Muslim tourism sector to major economies worldwide.

But when it comes to the biggest spenders, the Middle East leads the pack, accounting for 60% of all outbound Muslim tourism expenditure, worth some $60 billion.

Asia and Europe are the second largest markets in terms of outbound Muslim travel expenditure, each generating around 20% of total spend.

The Middle East nations accrue the largest share of their tourism GDP from Muslim travellers (28%) however, in terms of direct employment, Thailand is the largest beneficiary, with more than a quarter of a million jobs supported by the Muslim travel sector.

When taking into account the additional benefits Muslim travel delivers to economies around the world in terms of retail, transport, hotels, restaurants and cultural venues, the US and Europe benefit from more than half of the total GDP impact, worth $85 billion, or 10% of their overall inbound tourism markets.

More than a million jobs are also generated by the Muslim travel industry in the US and EU, however, Asia benefits the most, with more than 2.3 million people employed in this sector.

The report makes several recommendations based on its findings and encourages governments around the world to embrace the economic prosperity the Muslim travel sector can deliver now and in the future.

“As the fastest-growing segment of the global tourism industry, the Muslim travel market provides a wealth of opportunities for policymakers and businesses in both advanced and emerging economies,” explains Fadhlillah.

“The sector is expected to grow by 50% in volume and 35% in value over the next five years, but its potential is yet to be unlocked.

“We advise governments and tourism entities in key markets worldwide to put strategies in place that will foster the growth of their Muslim travel sectors and drive demand that will benefit their economies immeasurably.”

The report recommends destinations take ‘three basic steps’: understand the needs and preferences of Muslim travellers; provide amenities that cater to those needs; and communicate the availability of Muslim-friendly features as a unique selling point.

“Muslim tourists represent a huge commercial opportunity,” the report concludes. For more information on Salam Standard, click here or visit


Photo: Faeez Fadhlillah Caption: Faeez Fadhlillah, the Co-Founder and CEO of Salam Standard

INTERVIEWS Faeez Fadhlillah is available for interviews.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES Gemma Greenwood Director Content Inc. Ph: +44 7731 796 139 (UK) E-mail:


About the report

The full Inaugural Global Economic Impact of Muslim Tourism Report by Salam Standard is available on request. This includes details of all data sources and methodology.

About Salam Standard

Salam Standard, a new hospitality information tool dedicated to Muslim travellers, was launched in October 2015. More than 50,000 hotels are already indexed and display their Muslim-friendly amenities and services according to three categories: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Major international hospitality brands whose properties are Salam Standard rated include AccorHotels, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts and Indonesia’s biggest hospitality firm, the Archipelago Hotel Group. Salam Standard was conceived after 50,000 Muslim travellers were surveyed to discover what services and amenities were most important to them when travelling. The company is the brainchild of Malaysian entrepreneur, Faeez Fadhlillah, the CEO and co-founder of one of Asia Pacific’s leading travel and tourism companies, Lagisatu Travel, who has recognised the need to cater to this influential group of travellers with travel solutions that make them feel at home. Fadhlillah also recently launched Salam Standard’s sister company, Tripfez, a new state-of-the-art portal dedicated to the specific travel requirements of Muslim travellers. It features 200,000 properties worldwide, including the 50,000- plus that are Salam Standard indexed.