Traveling while Muslim has long posed its unique challenges. It has taken time and effort for the industry to notice, acknowledge and respond to our needs and wants. Collectively, we already represent a market worth USD180 billion, a number that the industry is waking up to and eager to capitalise on.
Undoubtedly, travel has transformed for us in the last ten years. While political situations and the reality of rising Islamophobia both continue to make certain decision making more complicated, awareness on faith and practices, in general, is on the rise, and some things just keep getting easier: finding Halal food, places to pray, open people and communities…
Yet with all of these strides forward, an entire segment of our global community has been completely disregarded in this conversation.
For millions, travel isn’t about choice, it’s not about freedom, it’s not about what we feel entitled to expect when we get across a border. Refugees and forcibly displaced people are on the move because they have to be, because conflict and persecution are destroying their homes and tearing apart communities.
We live in the era of “Refugee Crises”; from Myanmar, to Syria, to Sudan, families are being faced with the hardest decisions to make in order to survive. Suddenly, “travel” takes on a whole new meaning; one of uncertainty and danger.
So where do we come in? The recognised Muslim traveler and the refugee – how does the industry of travel connect us? At the moment, it doesn’t. But the harsh irony of our contrasting situations calls on that to change.
Muslims are earning a bigger voice in travel. Muslim women are now recognised as a unique niche sub-segment worth catering to. And as we take our own platform, our own stories are not the only ones we want to tell. We want it known, that we are here to represent ourselves and each other, and to call on the community to support the most vulnerable.
CrescentRating, the world’s leading authority on Halal Travel, has recently partnered with UNHCR to bring attention to refugee travel within the industry. This first joint publication shares stories of Muslim women forced to travel, and introduces us to UNHCR’s Global Refugee Zakat Fund. Having already benefitted over 600,000 refugees and internally displaced persons, this initiative highlights the collective potential of the global community to have an impact.
With our presence in the travel industry, this is our opportunity to represent the bigger picture of global travel, and to advocate greater inclusion and support for all.
You can find out more in our UNHCR-CrescentRating publication here.
Please visit zakat.unhcr.org to contribute and learn more about the Zakat Fund.