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Taiwan's Muslim-friendly Travel Environment Wins the Global Silver Medal in the Global Muslim Tourism Index!

Date:2021-07-21 Number of Visitors:1258

The 2021 Global Muslim Tourism Index (GMTI) released on July 14th ranked Taiwan 2nd among all non-Organization for Islamic Cooperation (non-OIC) countries in terms of Muslim-friendly travel, up from 3rd place in 2019. The GMTI is jointly published by MasterCard-CrescentRating. Taiwan tied for 2nd place with the United Kingdom, and trailed only Singapore. This was Taiwan's highest ranking in the GMTI to date, and it maintained Taiwan's position as the highest-ranked destination among its nearest neighbors. The survey provided some exciting good news for Taiwan's tourism industry amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Launched in 2015, the GMTI is produced in partnership between Mastercard and CrescentRating, and was created to provide a cross-border reference guide for Muslim travelers. The 2021 GMTI ranked 140 destinations, up from 100 in the initial 2015 edition. Taiwan's #2 ranking among non-OIC countries was its highest ever in the survey. The Index specifically notes that Taiwan's total number of Halal-certified restaurants has tripled over the last 5-6 years, showing that even amid the COVID-19 pandemic Taiwan continues to make its travel environment even more Muslim-friendly.

Detailed scores in the GMTI highlight factors behind Taiwan's strong ranking this year. Taiwan received a score of 71 for Destination Marketing, tied 1st with Malaysia; 99 points for Safety; 100 points for Faith Restrictions (meaning that Taiwan embraces religious liberty and diversity); 50 points for Prayer Places - an increase of 26 points over 2019; and 63 points for Accommodation, up by 6 points over 2019.

The world's Muslim population now exceeds 1.9 billion people, including almost 280,000 Muslims in Taiwan. The latter number includes foreign guests (such as students and business people) as well as recent immigrants. Other nearby destinations, such as Singapore, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong, have also embarked on efforts to attract more Muslim tourists. Over the past several years, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau has worked in close cooperation with Islamic organizations to create an even more Muslim-friendly travel environment. These efforts have included 1) working with public transport organizations and scenic areas to build more Muslim prayer rooms and Muslim-friendly washrooms and 2) encouraging restaurants and accommodations to apply for the Muslim-friendly certification. As part of Taiwan's New Southbound Policy and the theme of "Salam Taiwan," the government has led efforts to attract more visitors from Southeast Asian countries with large Islamic communities, such as Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. These efforts at creating an even more Muslim-friendly have also attracted positive attention from the global Muslim community. The government is looking to expand its efforts further, including enhanced on-site inspections and more integrated marketing efforts. This will help expand and enhance the facilities and services available to Muslim tourists, as well as support broader regional development in Taiwan.

In the first GMTI in 2015, Taiwan was ranked 10th on the list of most Muslim-friendly destinations among non-OIC countries. Since then, Taiwan's ranking has consistently risen year after year. After making a significant jump to 3rd in 2019, Taiwan's ranking has now risen even further to 2nd place this year. These numbers show that creating a more Muslim-friendly travel environment isn't something that can be accomplished overnight. Mr. Chang, Shi-Chung, Director-General of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, stated that Taiwan's progress in raising its standing in terms of Muslim tourism and Muslim-oriented travel offerings is not only part of efforts to support the tourism industry, but is also geared toward providing further energy to Taiwan's recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, the development of new facilities and services can provide more options and convenience for Taiwan's nearly 280,000 Muslim residents. Director-General Chang welcomed more businesses and individuals within Taiwan's tourism industry to join in efforts to expand Taiwan's international marketing efforts, and to create a comprehensive Muslim-friendly travel environment. He added that, working together, such efforts would help to create new economic opportunities related to welcoming even more Muslim tourists after the pandemic has receded.

    Last update time: 2021-07-22
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