Muslim travellers in today’s climate are looking for a travel experience that while being fulfilling from a cultural, historical, shopping or health perspective – also enables them to feel comfortable, safe and not needing to sacrifice their Islamic values and requirements.
In many instances, women tend to be the decision makers for travel and have specific needs and requirements for themselves and their families. For some, separate leisure facilities are important, whilst for others it may be the guaranteed availability of halal food and an alcohol-free environment.
We also have ladies-only groups travelling to countries like Morocco, Vietnam and India. As safety is a concern for many of them, we ensure they travel in the knowledge that they are safe and all aspects of their trip are being looked after.
Women travellers appreciate having every detail seen to, from online check-in to informing the hotel of special requests and occasions. We arrange personal drivers for day trips or shopping, make spa and restaurant reservations – all planned, keeping in mind the need for prayer facilities, halal food and ultimately making the travel experience as comfortable and stress free as possible.
In 2018, I believe the trend for women-only trips will continue, with personal development and fitness and yoga retreats in remote locations becoming increasingly popular with ladies who want to travel for a purpose.
In terms of up-and-coming destinations, 2018 will see Azerbaijan’s popularity continue to rise for many reasons; it’s close to the Gulf, value for money, offers a rich culture and great halal-friendly food is widely available. As women demand more immersive and adventurous travel experiences, I also expect more interest in adrenalin-fuelled trips to New Zealand, as well as off-the-beaten-track excursions in remote Asian destinations.
* Naeem Patelia is a CrescentRating-accredited travel consultant with Travel Counsellors UAE
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