Muslim tourists sightseeing in Shibuya’s Hachiko Square
Tokyo : Japan is set to welcome over one million Muslim visitors in 2018, according to the inaugural Mastercard-CrescentRating Japan Muslim Travel Index (JMTI) 2017.
The research revealed Muslim arrivals to Japan increased from around 150,000 in 2004 to 700,000 in 2016. It is projected to surpass one million by 2018 and reach 1.4 million by 2020. Sixty per cent of the Muslim visitor arrivals currently are from Southeast Asia, with Indonesia representing 27 per cent of the arrivals.
The study placed Tokyo at the top as the Japanese city most equipped to receive Muslim travellers, followed by Osaka and Hokkaido in third place.
To derive this ranking, forty-seven destinations in Japan were scored-based on access, communications, environment and services.
Earlier this year, Japan moved up two places to take sixth spot for non-OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) destinations in the annual Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2017.
JMTI was launched at Halal Expo Japan by Fazal Bahar-deen, CEO of CrescentRating and HalalTrip, and Halal Media Japan.
The event also saw the first set of 20 Japanese restaurants being awarded "Crescent- Rating", which is based on the level of Muslim-friendly services each establishment offers.