The Global Muslim Travel Index for 2017 has just been released by the collective efforts of CrescentRating and Mastercard. The report lists 130 OIC and non-OIC countries which were ranked according to their Muslim-friendly and general facilities such as Halal food, modest fashion, prayer facilities, accessibility, affordability, wellness, etc.
Here are the top 10 ranking OIC countries for Muslim travelers in 2017:
Ranking number one for the third consecutive year, Malaysia stands proud at the top of this list. Apart from being a Muslim-majority country, it is also one of the world’s top developing countries. It is a country that combines culture with all aspects of modern life, and Kuala Lumpur -it’s capital city- is a true metropolitan city.
Muslim-friendly facilities like Halal food, mosques and prayer facilities at public places like malls, and more make it an attractive destination for travelers. Malaysia also offers a great tourist experience in general, as there are a lot of amazing places to see, both modern and historical/cultural.
2) United Arab Emirates
UAE is a federal monarchy consisting of 7 emirates: Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah, Umm al-Qaiwain, and its capital emirate Abu Dhabi.
Given that these countries are Muslim countries, and that they are one of the world’s top developed countries, no wonder it holds a top position in the GMT Index. Muslim-friendly facilities like Halal food, prayer facilities and more are available in abundance while also being a great tourist destination both in terms of infrastructure and tourist destinations.
Next on the list is Indonesia, another Muslim-majority country that is a great place for Muslim travelers. Indonesia also offers Muslim travelers a lot of facilities that make travel easier for them. Halal food is available almost anywhere you go, and there are many beautiful mosques scattered all around the country.
Full of beautiful beaches and haunting volcanoes, Indonesia is the place to be if you’re a nature or adventure lover. But it also has so much more to offer with its rich and diverse culture, shopping, and gastronomic experiences. It is also a great place to travel on a budget.
Turkey is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. It is a historic and vibrant city that gives visitors an unforgettable experience with it’s beautiful architecture, delicious food, and a diverse group of people. Turkey is also home to quite a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as two of the world’s wonders.
The majority of the population is Muslim (although Turkey is a secular state), but this also means that there are plenty of amenities for Muslim travelers.
5) Saudi Arabia
Of course, all Muslims aim to travel to Saudi Arabia at least once in their lifetime for the holy pilgrimages of Umrah and Hajj. It is also one of the top countries for Muslim travelers to visit, even outside of the sacred cities of Makkah and Medina.
Literally all food in Saudi Arabia is Halal, there are plenty of mosques/prayer rooms, and there are no shortages of other Muslim-friendly facilities either. There are a lot of historical, cultural and Islamic sites to see as well as modern tourist destinations.
Another middle-eastern developed country, Qatar is a mixture of history and modernity. This is abundantly clear even in the sky-high buildings lining the landscape of Qatar’s capital city, Doha, with its unique blend of modern and Islamic architectures.
Needless to say, Qatar is another Muslim-friendly travel destination due to its majority-Muslim population, which means there are plenty of Halal food, prayer facilities, and more.
Morocco is well-known for its rich and vivacious culture and cuisine. Moroccan food is one of the most popular in the world. And Muslim travelers are in luck because, there is no shortage of Halal food here, so you can eat as much as you want.
It’s stunning Arab-inspired architecture still holds tradition near and dear even in today’s modern world, including the many gorgeous mosques. Apart from its architecture and cuisine, Morocco is also well known for its beaches and vibrant spice markets.
Oman is another Muslim country that offers a great travel experience. Not only does it have many of the amenities that Muslim travelers look for like Halal food and prayer facilities, but it also has great infrastructure and a lot of interesting tourist destinations both natural and man-made.
Tourism is one of the top industries in the country. The capital of Oman, Muscat, has been ranked as one of the top cities to visit not only by the GMTI, but also by Lonely Planet and the Capital of Arab Tourism.
Bahrain, although not as big or as dominant as its neighboring countries, is also a gem of a destination for travelers. With a more loose and laid-back culture, Bahrain is the ideal place to experience the Arab culture in its wealthiest form, while also being allowed as much freedom as travelers would need.
As an Islamic country, again, there is no question to the facilities available for Muslim travelers, and you can take full advantage of the local up-and-coming foodie scene. There are also plenty of historical and cultural sites to see.
Iran is a country of history and culture, and a great place for Muslim travelers to visit. Being a Muslim country means that travelers will not have any problems finding Halal food or mosques/prayer rooms. UNESCO has ranked Iran 4th in its list of the top destinations to visit in the Middle East.
Although inefficient advertisement and the war had cast a downturn in tourism, it has risen significantly back up in the recent years. Large mountains, vast deserts, stunning architectural buildings, pulsating bazaars, and incredible food are only a few of Iran’s praises.