IN A STUDY conducted by a local Muslim travel specialist, Malaysia emerged as the best destination for Muslim travellers, based on criteria such as safety, ease of access to halal food and prayer facilities, and Muslim-friendly hotels.
According to news agency AFP, Malaysia beat Egypt by a wide margin, scoring 8.3 against the latter’s 6.7 on a scale of 10. The United Arab Emirates and Turkey tied at 6.6, Saudi Arabia followed with 6.4 and Singapore was ranked a fifth with 6.3.
Surprisingly, the world’s largest Muslim nation Indonesia drew with Morocco and Jordan at 6.1, in sixth place.
Fazal Bahardeen, chief executive, Crescentrating, told AFP that the survey represented a traveller’s point of view. The annual study, which began in 2011, measures the ease of access to Muslim-friendly facilities by tourists rather than locals in 50 countries.
“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,” he said.
He noted that Malaysian authorities have been focusing on the Muslim travel market for years. Meanwhile, he said of Indonesia: “The main problem…is that it’s not as straightforward for a Muslim visitor to find halal food availability. For locals, it’s probably not an issue.”
Shopping-wise, the same survey put Dubai ahead of Kuala Lumpur in terms of availability of halal food and prayer facilities. Singapore also came in among the top 10.
For airports, Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport were among the most Muslim-friendly.