Factors and Competitiveness of Malaysia as a Tourist Destination: A Study of Outbound Middle East Tourists

  •  Ali Salman    
  •  Mohd Safar Hasim    


International tourism has become one of the largest and most vital economic sectors of the global economy driving huge flows of people, commodities, and capital. Tourism has been and continues to be an important foreign exchange earner to many countries in South East Asia and Malaysia is no exception. The aim of this article is to trace the factors for visiting Malaysia, image of Malaysia as a tourism destination and competitiveness of Malaysia as a tourism destination among outbound Middle East tourists to Malaysia. A survey was used to obtain data randomly from 357 outbound Middle East tourists leaving Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). From the results, for most of the Middle East tourists, safety and security is extremely important for choosing Malaysia as a foreign country for long-haul travel. Malaysia is at the top of the list of top five countries for long-haul travel. Hospitality in Malaysia was better and excellent than many long-haul countries for the Middle East tourists, followed by natural environment. From the overall implications of this study, it could be concluded that a strong relationship between government, tourism industry players, local authorities, private agencies and businesses should be fostered to ensure that tourists’ needs, especially Middle East tourists, are fulfilled. It is a known fact that Middle East tourists have a high taste. Therefore the various tourism industry players need to work hand in hand to improve all types of services provided to the Middle East tourists.

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