Factors Influencing Destination Image of Malaysia Among Tourists from the Middle East

June 12, 2018 | Author: Yusuf Kani | Category: Documents


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GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS RESEARCH (GCBER 2013)

Factors Influencing Destination Image of Malaysia Among Tourists from the Middle East YUSUF KANI1, YUHANIS ABDUL AZIZ2, JAMIL BOJEI3 and MURALI SAMBASIVAN4 1

Putra Business School (PBS) Universiti Putra Malaysia Email: [email protected] 2

Universiti Putra Malaysia Email: [email protected] 3

Universiti Putra Malaysia Email: [email protected] 4

Universiti Malaysia Kelantan Email: [email protected]

Keywords: Destination Image, Malaysia, Middle East, Tourists and Tourism Industry.

INTRODUCTION Individuals around the globe are willing to embark on trips abroad, regardless of the global financial and economic crisis. The tourism sector once again has shown its flexibility and its ability to resist the negative impact of external factors. In 2012, international travel reached a new all-time high and is expected to grow moderately in 2013, driven by emerging markets. According to IPK International’s World Travel Monitor, a total of 6.8 billion trips took place in 2012, an increase of 2.5% fromthe2011 figures. Domestic travel will grow by two percent to reach 5.77 billion trips while international travel is expected to increase by four percent to 1.03 billion trips. The forecasts are in line with expectations of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) which foresaw a three to four percent rise in international tourist arrivals in 2012. The figures match the forecasts of 2012 made at the 2011 Pisa Forum, proving the accuracy of the forecast. The tourism sector in South East Asia has been and continues to be a major source of foreign exchange to many countries in the region. In Malaysia, this is attributed to the influx of and rise in the number of tourists in general, especially those from the Middle East .The factors that contributed to the increase are quite numerous and they include among others the more effective organization of tourism and the promotion of packaged activities, especially within the ASEAN region. The policy of developing the tourism sector by the governments of South East Asian countries, the 549

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rising levels of wealth in the tourist source countries and the decrease in the cost of international travel are factors that contribute to the growth of tourism (Hitchcock King and Parnwell, 2009). In spite of the financial crisis facing the world, Malaysia is ranked 9th out of the top 10 most visited countries in the world. Malaysia saw an increase of 1.3% in tourist arrivals with 24.71 million arrivals in 2011 and 25.03 million arrivals in 2012. This is a clear indication of the resilience of the tourism industry in Malaysia. The tourism sector was ranked the second highest contributor to the Malaysian economy after manufacturing, with RM 50.2 billion and RM 55.0 billion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in2008 and 2009 (Ministry of Tourism 2008 and 2009) respectively. In addition, between 2006 and 2012, the revenue from tourism saw an increase from RM 36.3 billion to RM 60.6 billion (Tourism Malaysia: Facts and Figures, 2012). The Malaysian government has recognized the potential of the tourism sector by including it as one of the National Key Economic Areas (NKEA) in the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) to achieve the country’s Vision 2020 to become a developed nation by 2020 (PEMANDU, 2010). As a result of the stiff competition and challenges within the tourism industry around the globe and for Malaysia to achieve its aspirations to be one of the most sought after destinations in Asia and become a developed country by 2020, it requires an understanding of destination image. Variations in the environment and the continuous competition within the global tourism sector call for an effective positioning strategy to ensure improved and steady growth within the industry (Buhalis, 2000). As a result of this, the Malaysian government through the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board (Tourism Malaysia), has started to aggressively promote the country especially at the global level in order to draw the attention of international tourists to Malaysia. The objectives of this research study are as follows: 1. To determine the effect of lifestyle on destination image. 2. To determine the moderating role of perceived risk on lifestyle as an antecedent of destination image.

LITERATURE REVIEW Destination Image There are quite a number of definitions of the destination image construct. The main reasons are that each of the definitions is in fact defining a particular aspect of destination image. They are not all-inclusive definitions if all the components of image are to be given equal weight. The definition of Gartner (1986) focuses basically on the attributes of a destination that are commonly measured in studies of destination image. Crompton’s (1979) definition goes beyond the cognitive awareness and simple process of evaluation to include elements of the affective component (i.e., how one feels about what exists). The same can also be said for other definitions because each one deals with defining one or more of the components of destination image. None can actually be said to account for all the components of destination image.

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For the sake of scientific discretion, it is quite necessary to clarify and define the construct of destination image which is commonly used by researchers in a uniform manner. After combining all the components proposed by destination image researchers, it is evident that three main components exist: cognitive, affective and conative. Boulding (1956), points out that these three components take in what we know about an object (cognitive), how we feel about what we know (affective), and how we act on this information (conative). Other components proposed are holistic, attributive, common and unique. They provide common deeper insight into how each of the components is internalized. Formation of destination image Image formation process is defined as the development of a mental construct on the basis of a few selected impressions among the floods of total impressions, Reynolds (1965). These impressions are elaborated, embellished and ordered in the mind of the individual. In the same way, Court and Lupton (1997) established that the perception of a tourist destination is based on the information that is obtained from different sources over a period of time. This information is organized into a mental concept that is meaningful to the individual i.e. destination image (Leisen, 2001). In addition, in the image formation process, researchers have identified that images do differ i n accuracy depending on the proximity of a distance to the destination. This serves as an indicator that potential travellers who are located closer to a destination, tend to be more realistic and have an accurate image of the destination. As a result, it can be concluded that the greater the distance, the more unrealistic and inaccurate the image becomes (Stepchenkova et al., 2010). It was also found that the more an individual is knowledgeable about a particular destination, the more likely that individual will have favourable images. This could mean that the more successful a destination is in marketing itself, by providing information and knowledge using the correct levels of image formation agents (induced, autonomous or organic) depending on the targeted group, the more likely they are to select that destination (Stepchenkova et al., 2010). Stage Theory of Destination Image During the initial development stage of constructing a theoretical framework, Gunn’s (1972) seven-stage theory is useful. The theory involves a constant building and modification of images, which are considered as made up of organic or naïve nontourist information about the destination (e.g. from television documentaries, books, school lessons, and stories of friends experiences), induced or promotional information (e.g. travel brochures, publicity and advertisements) and modified induced images, which are the results of personal experiences of the destination.

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Conceptual Framework

Figure 1 Proposed conceptual framework The conceptual framework in Figure 1 is proposed to describe the relationship between lifestyle and destination image moderated by perceived risk in relation to leisure tourism.Initially, the construct of lifestyle was researched using larger sets of AIO items. AIO refers to measures of activities, interests and opinions. Thus, authors such as Peter Olson (1994:463) define ‘lifestyle’ as ‘the manner in which people conduct their lives, which includes activities, interests and opinions.’ Activities are evident actions (work, hobbies, social events, vacation shopping, sports, etc.) while interest in some objects, events or topics (family, home, job, community fashion, food, media, etc.) is the degree of excitement that is associated with both special and continuous attention to it. Lastly, opinions are descriptive beliefs (of oneself, social issues, politics, business, economics, culture, education, etc.) (Plummer, 1974). In a second wave of research, the value concept came to replace the extensive and burdensome AIO approach. Values are commonly defined as desirable, transsituational goals, varying in importance, that serve as guiding principles in people’s lives. The most significant instrument for measuring values is the Rokeach Value Survey (Rokeach, 1973). His inventory comprises 18 values. A shorter and much easier implemented instrument is the List of Values (LOV), suggested by Kahle (1983), which includes only nine values. Another significant scale that was developed for the evaluation of values was that by Schwartz and Bilsky (1990) which was later modified by Schwartz (1992) and comprising 56 values. It is assumed that the overall perceived risk is predicted based on six dimensions (i.e. financial, performance, physical, psychological, social and time-related risks) which 552

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suggests that perceived risk is viewed as a multidimensional construct. As a result, the risk dimensions as a whole should make up a substantial fraction of the criterion variable i.e. overall risk. A specific dimension, however, may or may not make a significant contribution. To examine the dimensions of risk, a number of measures for each of the dimensions are required. This is significant, because it is not likely that a single indicator alone will capture the domain of a particular task risk dimension properly (Cook &Campbell 1979). The use of multiple indicators also gives room for examining discriminate validity of the different risk dimensions (Campbell & Fisky, 1959). Most of the past research has used inly mono operations. Destination image comprises perceptual, cognitive evaluation, affective evaluation and global image. This study will place destination image as an outcome and the measurement will be based on measures adapted from Baloglu and McCleary (1999) and Chi and Qu (2008). The hypotheses developed for this paper are as follows: Hypothesis 1: There is a positive and significant effect of Lifestyle on destination image. Hypothesis 2: Perceived risk moderates the effects of lifestyle on destination image.

PROPOSED METHODOLOGY The unit of analysis for this study is Tourists from the Middle East visiting Malaysia for vacation or for leisure. This study will use stratified sampling to conduct the survey, then simple random sampling or systematic sampling will be applied to each stratum. This often improves the representativeness of the sample by reducing sampling error. It can produce a weighted mean that has less variability than the arithmetic mean of a sample of the population. The data will be collected using questionnaires distributed to tourists from the Middle East visiting Malaysia for leisure. The hypotheses will be tested using confirmatory factor analysis technique and structural equation modeling (SEM).

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The study is of significance to practitioners in the tourism industry and government policy makers in Malaysia in order to increase the number of inbound tourists from the Middle East. Tourists from the region have been identified as major contributors to the GDP of Malaysia. As a result, policies should be developed by Tourism Malaysia to intensively promote Malaysian culture, eco- tourism, health tourism, honeymoon destination as well as the Malaysia My Second Home Program to attract tourists from the Middle East to Malaysia. It will also aid in the creation of national policies to increase support and improvement of domestic products which will in turn have a positive effect on the destination image of Malaysia.

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It is recommended that future research should focus on filling the gaps identified in this study and especially on the growing young population in the Middle East. Thus, future studies should identify the needs of the young generation from the region and suggest products and services to cater for this segment.

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Plummer (1974), The Concept and application of lifestyle segmentation, Journal of Marketing. Vol. 38, pp. 33 – 37. Published by American Marketing Association. Reynolds, W.H ( 1965) The Role of the consumer in Image Building. California Management Review, Page 69 -76 Rokeach, M (1973) The Nature of Human Values. New York: Free Press. Schwartz, S. ( 1992) ‘ Universals in the Content and Structure of Values: Theoretical Advances and Empirical Tests in 20 Countries’, pp. 1- 65 in M.P Zanna (ed.) Advances in Experimental and Social Psychology. New York: Academic Press. Schwartz, S. and W. Bilsky (1990) ‘Towards a Universal Psychological Structure of Human Values’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 53:550- 62. Stepchenkova, S & Mills, J.E (2010) Destination Image Research: A Trend Analysis. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 19 (b), 575 – 609 Tourism Malaysia (2011) Research Facts and Figure. [Online] Available: http://corporate.tourism.gov.my/research.asp?page = facts figures.(Assessed on May 18th, 2013 Tourism Malaysia (2012) Tourism Today. Malaysia Tourism Malaysia, Ministry of Tourism. World Tourism Organization (2011) UNWTO, Tourism Highlights, 2011 Edition, http/mkt.unwto.org/sites/all (Files.docpdf (unwto highlights) Assessed on May 18th, 2013

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