To tweet this news, copy and paste <South Africa comes fourth in the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index 2015 #GMTI2015 http://news.mstr.cd/1G0jYhf>

JOHANNESBURG – 5 March 2015: South Africa has been ranked fourth among the non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations in the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2015.

South Africa came fourth on the list following Singapore, Thailand and the United Kingdom, and was ranked 30th in the overall GMTI.

Malaysia came first for the OIC destinations, which also saw Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar make the top five.

The GMTI looks at in-depth data covering 100 destinations, creating an overall index, based on a number of criteria. This is the first time such thorough insights have been provided into one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors in the world today.

It will provide travellers, Governments, travel services and investors comprehensive benchmarks across a number of important criteria enabling them to track the health and growth of this travel segment.

The study also revealed that in 2014, this segment was worth $145 billion with 108 million Muslim travellers representing 10% of the entire travel economy. South Africa saw 593,000 million Muslim visitors in that period which accounts for 6% of the total arrivals to the destination.

The Muslim travel market is forecasted to grow to 150 million visitors by 2020 and 11% of the entire segment with a value projected to grow to $200 billion.

“The MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index has set a real precedent for the tourism industry,” said Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating & HalalTrip. “Not only is it the most in-depth research that we have undertaken so far on the fast-growing Muslim travel market, but has provided all stakeholders with some invaluable insight into how the halal-friendly tourism sector is growing and developing from a global perspective.”

“We are pleased to partner with CrescentRating to develop the Global Muslim Travel Index as we see it as an extension of our efforts in giving consumers peace of mind when travelling, through our seamless payment solutions. Travel continues to be a core passion for consumers and we are confident the Index will prove to be a trusted resource for this important, fast-growing traveller segment,” said Matthew Driver, President, Southeast Asia, MasterCard.

All 100 destinations in the GMTI were scored against a backdrop of criteria which included suitability as a family holiday destination, the level of services and facilities it provides, accommodation options, marketing initiatives as well as visitor arrivals. Each criterion was then weighted to make up the overall index score.

Among the non-OIC destinations Singapore scored the highest Index score of 65.1 followed by Thailand at 59.2 with South Africa scoring 51.1.

GMTI40, which will be updated quarterly around the year, will track the average score of the top 20 OIC and non-OIC destinations and will form the key index to monitor the performance of the Muslim travel segment.

The overall average score for 40 destinations (GMTI40) currently stands at 56 while the overall average GMTI score for the complete 100 destinations is at 43.8.  From a regional perspective, Asia Pacific destinations lead with an average GMTI score of 54.

The Top 10 non-OIC destinations of GMTI 2015

RANK OVERALL GMTI 2015 RANK DESTINATION

SCORE

1

9 Singapore 65.1

2

20 Thailand

59.2

3

25 United Kingdom

55.0

4

30 South Africa

51.1

5

31 France

48.2

6

32 Belgium

47.5

7 33 Hong Kong

47.5

8

34 USA

47.3

9

35 Spain 46.5
10 36 Taiwan

46.2

The Top 10 destinations of GMTI 2015

OVERALL

GMTI 2015 RANK

DESTINATION

SCORE

1

Malaysia 83.8

2

Turkey 73.8
3 United Arab Emirates

72.1

4 Saudi Arabia

71.3

5

Qatar 68.2

6

Indonesia

67.5

7 Oman

66.7

8

Jordan 66.4
9 Singapore

65.1

10

Morocco

64.4

The full report is available here: http://gmti.crescentrating.com/mastercard-crescentrating-global-muslim-travel-index-2015-gmti2015.html

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com,is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Pioneers Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Media Contacts:

Birgit Deibele, MasterCard, birgit_deibele@mastercard.com, +27 71 464 0983

Kelly Webster | Nicola Tarr, Tribeca Public Relations, mastercard@tribecapr.co.za, +27 11 208 5500

# # #