According to MasterCard’s 2017 Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI), Taiwan ranked seventh for Muslim travel among non-Muslim nations. The GMTI covers 130 countries around the world in the Muslim travel market.
The number of Muslim tourists worldwide increased to 121 million in 2016 from 117 million in 2015. MasterCard estimates the number to increase to 156 million by 2020, which would account for 10% of the entire travel market.
The top non-Muslim travel destination in the GMTI survey was Singapore, followed by Thailand, the UK, and South Africa. Taiwan ranked just behind Hong Kong and Japan, respectively. Among all nations listed in the index, Singapore was 10th and Taiwan was 33rd, with Malaysia ranking at the top. The US ranked 10th among non-Muslim countries.
The Muslim travel market is expected to grow to US$220 billion by 2020 and US$300 billion by 2026, according to MasterCard.
According to statistics from the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, the majority of tourists from Muslim countries were from Malaysia and Indonesia. Tourism from Malaysia, excluding overseas Chinese, increased 9.94% year-on-year in 2016, while those from Indonesia increased 6.14% year-on-year. There were 19,767 visitors from Middle Eastern nations in 2016, up from 18,691 in 2015. The Tourism Bureau, however, does not indicate religion of visitors to Taiwan.