How to seduce the Muslim travel market

Faeez Fadhlillah is the CEO and Co-founder of Tripfez & Salam Standard, a state-of-the-art travel portal dedicated to the rise of global Muslim travellers. Named as one of Forty Individuals who shaped Southeast Asian E-commerce By E-commerceIQ, Faeez is also a speaker at many international travel conferences and seminars. Faeez was elected as Vice President of MATTA, Malaysia’s largest travel association for the term 2015 -2017 and currently serves as the Deputy Honorary Secretary General for the term 2017-2019. He highlights for ITB Asia News what are the trendy destinations for the Malaysian Muslim outbound market.

For the Malaysia outbound market, the ever-popular destinations of Korea, Japan, Western Australia, Thailand and Indonesia do not slow down and are becoming increasingly Muslim-friendly destinations. The Balkans and Russia are also growing.

IT IS ESTIMATED THAT 1.2 MILLION JOBS WILL BE DIRECTLY SUPPORTED BY THE MUSLIM TRAVEL SEGMENT OUT OF A TOTAL OF 2.3 MILLION GLOBALLY BY 2020.

What would you say are the key trends influencing the market?

The most recent news about Saudi Arabia offering tourist e-visas for citizens of 49 countries, including Malaysia, has had a big impact on the market and we are finding new ways to take advantage of this. We already had some strong interest from our past clients wanting to perform Umrah and also getting a chance to explore the beauty of Saudi Arabia. There has been particularly strong interest from women who can now perform Umrah without a mahram.

There are also some interesting social trends, especially from the attitude of millennial Muslim travellers. Over the past 5-10 years the access to information online about Halal destinations has increased – leading consumers to become more demanding for a destination to meet their needs. Unfortunately, this means destinations that have not effectively showcased their Halal- friendliness suffer in the perception of Muslim travellers. This is where we intervene to provide that knowledge that we have built over the years for these customers, really enabling even the fussiest travellers to explore the world.

According to the Salam Standard Global Economic Impact of Muslim Tourism report, Asia bene ts from inbound Muslim travel expenditure. It is estimated that 1.2 million jobs will be directly supported by the Muslim travel segment out of a total of 2.3 million globally by 2020. Asia will also play a bigger role in outbound Muslim travel expenditure, with Malaysia, Indonesia and China combined set to contribute 17% of the total global spend, outpacing Europe by 2020. So clearly we see a huge potential for this segment of travel.

How is your business changing or evolving over time?

Business has been amazing! The growth of the Muslim travel space has been phenomenal.

The general consumer follows global trends, with a higher expectation for unique experiences and personalised service. Not only that, they demand instant gratification – with an expectation that we are always a quick message away. The way we communicate with customers is changing, with the need for high-quality content. This has meant the cost of marketing has increased and the preference of travelers has also shifted towards a more unique content and experience.

 

How are you leveraging ITB Asia as a platform for contacts?

It is a very important show as we meet leading tour operators from all around the world. The show provides a great way to find new ideas and destinations, but most importantly discover suppliers that can help cater to the Halal market and also meet NTOs. In the first half of 2019 we successfully collaborated with several NTOs including HKTB to bring more Muslim travellers to Hong Kong. We’re definitely looking forward to more potential collaborations for an NTO to promote their destination on our platform.


Photo: Faeez Fadhlillah, CEO and Co-founder, Tripfez and Salam Standard