July 3, 2019 View in browser

By 2020, the global Muslim travel market is expected to be worth $220 billion, with the number of travelers rising to 158 million from 131 million in 2017, according to Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index 2018.

With that kind of size, it can hardly be labeled as "niche."

Within the broader halal market is a subset, Umrah travel, comprised of Muslims who wish to visit Saudi Arabia outside the Hajj period. Though non-compulsory, the religion encourages it — hence the millions who want to go, at least once in their lifetime.

This market is becoming exciting for Asia and beyond. On the one hand Saudi Arabia is building hotels, expanding airports, and creating world-class attractions to draw 30 million Umrah visitors by 2030. On the other the market badly needs a good shakeup, where new players come in to offer ease of booking, choice of hotels, sightseeing options, competitive prices, and the great service that any traveler, not just Muslim, desires.

Travel technology companies such as Agoda, WebBeds, and HolidayMe have entered, heading straight for Asia where huge Muslim populations exist in countries such as Indonesia and China. Read in full what they are doing in the article below.

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Asia Editor Raini Hamdi [rh@skift.com] curates the Skift Asia Weekly newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Wednesday.

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