Dubai: The UAE is the world’s best place for Muslim tourists, ahead of Malaysia and Turkey, according to new think tank data.

Data revealed in the 2016-2017 Global Islamic Economy Report, measured the level of facilities that are Halal — permitted in Sharia — in travel destinations.

Countries surveyed were ranked by the available of in-flight services for Muslims, food, places to pray, and beach resort facilities dedicated to women.

Last year, Muslims around the world spent around Dh554 billion on travel, up almost 5 per cent. In comparison, Chinese tourists — who make up the world’s largest travel market — spent Dh617 billion.

“More and more Muslims are showing strong preference for Halal destinations and travel services,” said Mohammed Saleh Badri, secretary general of the International Halal Accreditation Forum, a UAE-based standards body.

“Today, it is becoming more important for us to look into the industry and bridge the emerging gaps.”

“Unified standards” should be in place in order to satisfy the needs of holidaymakers requiring Halal products and services, the standards chief staid.

So far, the forum has drawn in 20 members to help set up unified standards of Halal products, including the official accreditation bodies of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Both countries combined spend a total of Dh126 billion on Halal products.

The forum’s other members include the certifying bodies from the United States, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Spain, Australia and New Zealand, Egypt, Thailand, Jordan, Argentina, Mexico, Hungary, Italy, India, Brazil and Philippines.