Jakarta — Indonesia climbed to second place in the Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2018, from the third place in the previous year. Tourism Ministry halal tourism acceleration and development team head Riyanto Sofyan said Indonesia was serious in developing halal tourist destinations, among others, though the organizations of halal tourism competitors involved a number of regions. “With such competition, Indonesia has won several international awards,” said Riyanto in a statement on Friday (13/04). Among the awards are the World’s Best Halal Tourism Destination and the World’s Best Honeymoon Destination for Lombok in West Nusa Tenggara; the World’s Best Halal Destination for West Sumatra; the World’s Best Halal Culinary Destination for Padang in West Sumatra; and the World’s Best Halal Culture Destination for Aceh. The GMTI, which was introduced by CrescentRating in cooperation with MasterCard, evaluates and ranks countries based on how they cater Muslim travelers. This year, Indonesia has the same rank as the United Arab Emirates in second place, while Malaysia is on top list and Turkey achieved third place. Riyanto said Indonesia aimed at attracting 3.8 million Muslim travelers in 2018 and 5 million in 2019. “Our team will hold a series of sales mission to top targeted cities such Jeddah, London, Mumbai, Singapore and Sydney,” Riyanto added. Muslims are estimated to spend US$169 billion on traveling in 2016, representing 11.8 percent of global expenditure, according to the 2017-2018 State of the Islamic Economy Report.