By Rashid Shirinov
Azerbaijan ranked 10th out of 130 countries in the ranking of the most popular destinations for Islamic tourism, says the annual report 2018 Global Muslim Travel Index compiled by the Crescent Rating agency.
The experts indicated that Malaysia (among Islamic countries) and Singapore (among non-Islamic countries) were the most popular destinations for Muslim tourists in 2018 so far. Meanwhile, Turkey became the 4th and Kazakhstan is shown the 5th in the ranking.
The annual Global Muslim Travel Index assesses various factors influencing the relax of Muslims. These are obtaining a visa, access to praying, opportunity of safe traveling, accessibility and quality of halal products, conditions of residence in hotels, etc.
The experts forecast that by 2020 the number of Muslims traveling abroad for tourism will increase to 156 million people, and the market of Muslim tourism will amount to $200 billion.
Azerbaijan has lately become the most favorite place for travel of many Muslim tourists. The majority of them are from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Iraq. The growing interest to the country has several reasons, such as short distance to Azerbaijan, opening of more direct flights, beautiful nature of the country, halal foods in restaurants, etc.
As for the tourism infrastructure, today Azerbaijan can accommodate about 40,000 tourists in its 575 hotels, which include a series of luxury ones – Excelsior, Hilton, Four Seasons, Fairmont, JW Marriott – as well as several budget hotels for cost-conscious travelers. Moreover, some 25 hostels and 92 apartments for tourists operate in Baku.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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