Brunei ranked among top 10 for Muslim women travellers

Azlan Othman

Brunei Darussalam is ranked in the top 10 of the world’s most welcoming countries for female Muslim travellers going solo, according to a joint report by Mastercard and Halal Travel Authority CrescentRating.

The Sultanate also came in third among the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) destinations after Qatar and Oman in the ranking with a score of 97 per cent. This is judged based on safety and faith restrictions. The two most important criteria for Muslim women travellers are personal safety and restrictions on faith-based practices, especially when it comes to the wearing of Islamic attire.

Brunei is the seventh best Muslim tourist friendly destination among OIC member countries and ninth in services (Halal food, prayer places, airports, unique experiences and hotels).

A Mastercard-CrescentRating survey report published on Thursday revealed that most Muslim females look at Southeast Asian nations as their first choices of destination. The survey was evaluated from 3,300 Muslim women.

Malaysia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, Indonesia and Japan are in the top five. Singapore sits in sixth place followed by South Korea, Australia, United Kingdom and Brunei Darussalam.

Muslim women are one of the fastest-growing segments in the global travel market, and solo holidays are especially popular among younger Muslim women. Key features that Muslim women look out for holiday include Halal food, female prayer rooms, and freedom to wear the hijab in public, single-gender spas, pools, beaches and beauty salons, the report said.

Other features included Islamic heritage tours, Sahur and Iftar arrangements in hotels during Ramadhan, and clean toilets with water to perform ablution.

The report added Muslim women take between two to three holidays per year, accounting for slightly under half of all Muslim travels.

About 30 per cent of the 65 million journeys taken by the world’s Muslim women last year were solo holidays done mainly by younger women, it added.