In a few short weeks, the Eid al-Fitr holiday will take place in the Muslim world meaning that the tourism industry will gear up for one of its busiest times of the year. This is especially true for destinations popular among Muslim travellers -- a demographic fast becoming one of the most globally significant to the industry at large. These include traditional mainstays like the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Indonesia, as well as Muslim-minority countries like Spain, Australia, Korea and the Maldives.
For several years now, the Muslim travel market has experienced exponential growth. It currently represents more than 10 percent of the entire industry, valued at approximately US$168 billion in 2016. Muslim expenditures on outbound travel is expected to grow by 9 percent per year to reach US$283 billion by 2022. The segment has already begun to outspend the Chinese travel market.
Malaysia has long been a popular destination among Muslim travellers. According to Malaysia’s Islamic Tourism Center, as many as 5 million Muslim tourists descend on the Southeast Asian nation every year. However, as the Muslim travel market becomes ever more lucrative, more and more businesses are heating up the competition internationally and locally. As tourism players jostle to stake their claim over various consumer segments, some online tour and activities operators are beginning to apply tech and digital solutions to help them stay ahead of both traditional offline operators and their neighbouring rivals.
As has been the case with many other industries, the rise of technology and digital platforms has enabled businesses everywhere to work more efficiently and cope with bigger workloads. The travel industry is no exception, as more bookings shift onto web-based channels. Innovative technology is also starting to solve problems that offline players have never been able to crack.
For example, one of the major challenges during the peak season is the sheer volume of travellers that businesses will have to accomodate. Eid al-Fitr is a time when the Malaysian industry will face a brief but intense season, during which operators will be expected to cope with the burden of an outsized numbers of bookings and inquiries. They will also be immensely pressed for time when it comes to execution business processes.