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ISLAM AND TOURISM

Mohamed M. Battour
Faculty of Business and Accounting
University of Malaya
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 50603
E-mail:mbattour@um.edu.my

ABSTRACT

The objectives of this study are to test the relationship between tourism motivations and tourist

satisfaction, and to test how ‘Religion’ moderates the relationship. The variable ‘Religion’ is

represented by the availability of Islamic norms and practices which are relevant to tourism at

the destination. The results of the Partial least square (PLS) indicated that the tourism

motivations are significantly and positively related to tourist satisfaction. The results also showed

that Religion significantly moderates the relationship between pull motivation and tourist

satisfaction. However, the moderating effect of Religion on the relationship between push

motivation and tourist satisfaction was not supported.

KEY WORDS: Religion; Islam; satisfaction; motivations; destination marketing.

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1. INTRODUCTION

Tourism industries are always searching for new segment of customers. For example,

over the last decade the tourism industry has witnessed many firms in the industry catering to the

needs of special groups such as elderly tourists, disabled tourists and gay tourists . However, one

relatively unexplored segment is the ‘Religiously conscious’ tourists. Evidences indicate that

some tourists feel that they have no other choice but to compromise their religious beliefs in

order to enjoy tourism. If this situation is common, then it means that there is a large potential of

unsatisfied need among this significant market segment. It is no wonder therefore that some

researchers in this field insist that catering to the religious needs of any faith in this expanding

industry is essential .

Religion is associated with tourism, in terms of consumer (tourist) behaviour and the

supplier (host), as well as the relationship between them . However, there is limited research

available on this relationship . Furthermore, in the current competition amongst the destination

marketers, as well as the saturated marketplace, destination marketing objectives should be

guided by an investigation of the tourist motivation and its interaction with tourist satisfaction .

The destination marketers should position and differentiate themselves according to the tourist

perceptions . Therefore, destination marketing could generate greater satisfaction when

appropriate tourists are targeted . In response to that, the supply of religious attributes for Muslim

tourists may lead to increased satisfaction. It is known that Muslim customers constitute a broad

market which is around 1.82 billion around the world . In addition, the Muslim market has its

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special requirements and its culture, which cannot be ignored. Thus, satisfying the religious

needs of Muslim tourists may encourage them to travel to a specific destination.

religion is bound to be very important considerations when a Muslim decides to travel

abroad . The Muslim tourists may decide not to travel to a particular destination in the absence of

some Islamic attributes . This study attempts to address this problem by empirically testing the

relationship between tourism motivation and overall tourist satisfaction with the availability of

religion (Islam) as a moderating variable. The religion is represented by the availability of

Islamic norms and practices related to tourism at the destination. Moreover, recent years have

witnessed a growing interest in new concepts such as ‘Halal (Islamic) tourism’, ‘Halal

hospitality’, and ‘Halal friendly travel’. This study contributes to the efforts to further understand

the real meaning of such terms. Furthermore, this study addressed the Halal issues in the tourism

sector, which have not been adequately covered.

2. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND HYPOTHESIS DEVELOPMENT

2.1 Tourism motivations and tourist satisfaction

A review of some literature revealed some important themes in destination marketing

research. Most discussions in tourism and destination marketing have tended to go around the

theory of push-and-pull motivation when explaining why people travel and select a specific

destination. Researchers generally agree that people travel and select their destinations according

to different push-and-pull motivational factors . The theory assumes that people are first of all

pushed by internal desires or emotional factors to travel and then they are pulled by external or

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tangible factors (Destination attributes). Moreover, it assumes that these two sets of forces might

be independent and interdependent.

The push factors represent the internal stimulations of tourists to travel . Klenosky

argued that “Push factors refer to the specific forces in our lives that lead to the decision to take

a vacation (i.e., to travel outside of our normal daily environment)”. Most push factors involve

socio-psychological concerns and inherent desires such as escape, relaxation, adventure, prestige,

family and friend togetherness, sport, and enjoying natural resources. The pull factors represent

the external attributes, which result from the attractiveness of a destination. They attract tourists

and make them desire to visit such a destination . Klenosky argued that “Pull factors refer to

those that lead an individual to select one destination over another once the decision to travel

has been made”. They are reflected in attractions such as the natural environment, weather

attraction, historical attractions, low travel cost, and expenditure.

Tourism marketers need to ascertain the motives behind certain types of travel behaviour

including the selection of a destination and the attributes found in the choice vacation spot .

According to Uysal et al. , destination is a consumer product and tourists are consumers who buy

diverse tourism products and services. For effective destination marketing, marketers must

comprehend what motivates individuals to travel and what attributes are essential for an

individual to travel to a destination. If destination marketers have a clear awareness of why their

products are in demand for a given market segment or group, they will be able to tailor their

products to suit the customer needs using the right advertising and sales messages.

The tourists’ satisfaction level is significantly connected to their travel needs. Therefore,

it is important to obtain a clear picture of motivation, which responds to different levels of

satisfaction . Undoubtedly, satisfaction is a crucial key in marketing research. Tourist satisfaction

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is important to market destinations successfully because it is linked directly to destination

choice, products/services consumption, and repeat visits . Fang et al. reported that measuring

tourist satisfaction presents information related to how well a destination matches the tourists’

needs, which may help destination marketers to improve the quality of products and services that

interest tourists. Yoon and Uysal found a significant relationship between destination attributes

and overall tourist satisfaction. Furthermore, Chiang and Jogaratnam claimed that travel

motivation studies frequently gave more attention to the general population. Thus, instead of

heterogeneous marketing by focusing on specific groups, researchers can discover the desires of

smaller homogeneous groups. However, research carried out on Muslim travel motivations has

not received the same level of attention given to identifying western travel motives, even though

the Muslim population has emerged as a global market in recent years.

2.1.1 Research Gaps in Tourism Motivation and tourist satisfaction Literature

It is noted that very few empirical studies have been conducted to examine the travel

motivations for Muslim tourists only. Moreover, it is very important to recognize that no research

has been done to investigate tourism motivations for Muslim tourists from different nationalities.

To fill this gap, the current study will try to determine the possible tourism motivations that drive

Muslim tourists to travel and select a specific destination. Furthermore, using the travel

motivation theory (push and pull) as a base, many researchers have tried to give more attention

to the pull and push relationship by frequently modifying items associated with the constructs.

However, very limited research is focused on empirically testing the relationship between

tourism motivations and overall tourist satisfaction. To fill this gap, in addition to studying the

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tourism motivation for Muslim tourists, this research will also investigate the relationship

between tourism motivations and the overall tourist satisfaction.

The influence of travel motivations on overall tourist satisfaction has been studied in

previous research . Each variable, push motivations (PUSM) and pull motivations (PULM), have

hypothesized effects on the overall tourist satisfaction (OTS).To test the relationship between

travel motivations (pull and push) and overall tourist satisfaction the following hypotheses are

proposed (See Fig. 1):

H1: the push motivations (PUSM) positively influence the overall tourist satisfaction (OTS).

H2: the pull motivations (PULM) positively influence the overall tourist satisfaction (OTS).

2.2 Religion (Islam)

The linkage between religion and consumer behaviour has been recognized theoretically.

Prior studies show the impact of religion on behaviour and purchasing decisions . Furthermore, a

range of studies have investigated religion’s impact on habits, attitudes, people’s values, and

behaviour. Essoo and Dibb in their study gave substantial affirmation for presenting religion as

an important variable in the study of consumer behaviour and they found that religion influences

how people shop. Tourism and religion may affect tourist behaviour; for example, religion

influences the destination choice, tourist product favourites, and selection of religious

opportunities and facilities offered . Fang et al. supported that tourists almost certainly select

destinations that are supposed to best fulfil their internal desires or preferred destination

attributes. Religion emerges as a distinct type of attraction in the tourism literature, as it is often

included in the analyses of the supply factors by social scientists . Therefore, the availability of

religion (Islamic teachings) in which catering to the religious needs of Muslim tourists may play

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an important role between the travel motivations (push and pull) and overall tourist satisfaction.

Religion should be recognized more in the context of the current competitive tourism market .

If the destination marketers understand and are aware of the reasons why Muslim tourists

travel, the destination marketers may be able to launch successful marketing campaigns based on

tourism motivations. Bogari et al. claimed that destination attributes and issues pertaining to

Islamic culture were not sufficiently covered by researchers. By using qualitative data, Battour et

al. identified Islamic attributes of destinations that may attract Muslim tourists which include

prayer facilities, Halal food, Islamic entertainment, Islamic dress codes, general Islamic morality

and Islamic call for prayer. Furthermore, it was recommended to study the effect of catering to

the religious needs of tourists in order to gain a high level of satisfaction . In line with that,

Battour et al. claimed that future research is needed to explore the religious attributes of

destination which may satisfy Muslim tourists. Battour et al. (2011) also recommended that the

needs of Muslims travellers should be studied empirically by developing instruments for

quantitative research.

2.2.1Research Gaps related to religion (Islam)

Although the relationship between tourism and religion has been addressed in the

literature on tourism, there remains a shortage of theoretical publications in the area of tourism in

the context of Islam. When it comes to the relationship between tourism and Islam, the lack of

literature is more obvious, especially regarding Islamic norms and practices related to tourism at

the destination and their impact on the needs of Muslim tourists. Furthermore, no study currently

exists that provides a model including Islamic norms and practices at the destination to test their

impact on Muslim tourist satisfaction. Therefore, as a moderating variable, religion, Islamic

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norms and practices related to tourism at the destination (INP), is proposed between tourism

motivations and overall tourist satisfaction, as shown in Figure 1.The impact of religion on

behaviour and purchasing decisions has been discussed in previous studies . Weidenfeld

supported that the availability of religious needs for tourists will increase their satisfaction.

Therefore, it was posited that religion (INP) moderate the relationships between push

motivations (PUSM) and overall tourist satisfaction (OTS), as well as the relationship between

pull motivations (PULM) and overall tourist satisfaction (OTS). Using the propositions arrived at

through the literature review, the following hypotheses were developed:

H3: Religion (INP) moderates the relationship between the push motivations (PUSM) and the

overall tourist satisfaction (OTS).

H4: Religion (INP) moderates the relationship between the pull motivations (PULM) and the

overall tourist satisfaction (OTS).

Please insert Figure 1 about here

3. RESEARCH METHODS

3.1 Questionnaire design

This study followed the sequence of steps that should be performed in developing

measures of constructs, as suggested by Churchill , Four stages are suggested for developing

religion as a construct. Stage one includes determining the domain by conducting a thorough

review of tourism and Islamic teachings literature. Stage two includes generating items that

capture the domain as specified based on the combination of conducting qualitative research

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(Two FGDs & 53 interviews) and reviewing the literature. Stage three was purifying the

measures by a panel of tourism experts and Islamic scholars, and then a pre-test was done. Stage

four includes purifying the measures by exploratory factor analysis; the reliability assessment,

and the construct validity assessment. Once the internal consistency and construct validity were

satisfactory, the Islamic norms and practices related to tourism at the destination (INP) ‘religion’

instruments can be used for further analysis. The INP construct consists of 18 items.

In order to measure the overall tourist satisfaction (OTS), the measurements developed

by Bigné et al. , Chi and Qu , Del-Bosque and Martín , and Yoon and Uysal were adopted. The

OTS construct consists of four items. Tourism motivation items (push/pull) were adopted from

previous research . The push motivation (PUSM) construct consists of 30 items, and the pull

motivation (PULM) consists of 24 items. A total of 1,300 questionnaires were distributed

(Administered from February to May 2010) in international hotels and tourism sites in four

Malaysian cities: Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Terengganu, Penang, and Johor Bahru. The

questionnaires were distributed in two versions –Arabic version and English version. The study

used a questionnaire in Arabic because some of the tourists visiting Malaysia are from the Arab

countries and may not understand English.

The five point Likert scale was used to capture tourist satisfaction which includes the

items statements relevant to each variable from 1 to 5 . For example, the five point Likert scale

for question No. 1“How does Malaysia, in general, rate compared to what you expected?” was:

(1)Much worse than I expected; (2)Worse than I expected; (3)As I expected; (4)Better than I

expected; and (5)Much better than I expected. For the question No. 5 “How would you rate

Malaysia as a vacation destination compared to other similar countries that you may have

visited?”, the items statements were: (1)Much worse; (2)Worse; (3)Neutral; (4)Better; and

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(5)Much better. A five point Likert scale was also used to measure religion (INP) and tourism

motivations (pull/push) . One indicates ‘not at all important’ and five indicates ‘very important’.

3.2 Measurement model

Before the assessment of the measurement model, both exploratory factor analysis (EFA)

and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) were performed for the purpose of data reduction in

tourism motivations and Religion. Factor analysis is frequently used to categorize a small

number of factors that explain most of the variance observed in a much larger number of

manifest variables .The principal components analysis (PCA) method was applied for this study.

The items with factor a loading above the cut-off point │0.50│are retained for further analysis

(Hair et al., 2010). All of these procedures were performed using SPSS 18. The confirmatory

factor analysis (CFA) is a special case of the structural equation model (SEM). The process of

item purification is applied through multiple iterations of CFA, with the maximum likelihood

estimation (MLE) method. The unfitted items are deleted from the measurement model. As

recommended by Hair et al. (2010), a modification of the initially hypothesized model is

performed where it is seen to be applicable. This is achieved based on such indicators as

modification indices (MI≥4), standardized residuals (< │4.0│), path estimates (≥0.5; ideally

≥0.7; and be significant), and squared multiple correlations (SMC or Reliability≥0.3). These

model diagnostics are used to suggest some model changes, which are known by specification

search, whereby an empirical trial-and-error approach is used (Hair et al., 2010).

The measurement models are commonly used to assess the construct validity (Churchill,

1979). The construct validity involves the evaluation of the degree to which a measure correctly

measures what it is supposed to measure . To achieve a construct validity, some conditions must

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be satisfied including: unidimensionality, reliability, convergent validity, and discriminant

validity . Unidimensionality means that a set of items can be explained by a single underlying

construct (Hair et al., 2010, p. 696). The procedure for assessing unidimensionality requires that

the items are significantly associated with an underlying construct, plus each item being

associated with one, and only one, latent variable . By using EFA, the indicator variables load on

only one construct with a factor loading of ±0.5. By using CFA, the regression weights are 0.5 or

higher with their significant t-values (t-value ≥ 1.96 at a=0.05), as recommended by Hair et al. .

Reliability refers to the extent to which measures are free from error, thus, being able to

create consistency between the measurements of a variable (Hair et al., 2010; O'Leary-Kelly &

Vokurka, 1998; Pallant, 2005). To achieve a good reliability, the reliability coefficient or

Cronbach’s alpha should be .7 or higher (Hair et al., 2010, p. 125). By using CFA, the composite

reliability (CR) is used which refers to the internal consistency of indicators measuring the

underlying factors (Fornell & Larcker, 1981). The rule of thumb of CR is that 0.7 or higher

implies good reliability (Hair et al., 2010, p. 710).

The convergent validity refers to the extent to which instruments designed to measure the

same construct are related to each other .To examine the convergent validity, the average

variance extracted (AVE) was computed by the indicators corresponding to each of the study

constructs. AVE is the amount of variance that is captured by the construct in relation to the

amount of variance due to measurement error. If AVE is less than 0.50, the variance due to

measurement error is larger than the variance captured by the construct, and the validity of the

individual indicators, as well as the construct, is questionable (Fornell & Larcker, 1981). Thus,

the convergent validity is established if the AVE for each construct accounts for 0.50 or more of

the total variance as applied by Battor and Battour .The discriminant validity is the extent to

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which the measure is indeed novel and not simply a reflection of some other variable . It is the

extent to which the measures of the constructs are distinctly different from each other. The

discriminant validity was examined using the procedure recommended by Fornell and Larcker

(1981), whereby the discriminant validity is established for a construct if its AVE is larger than

its shared variance with any other construct. The AVE was compared with the highest variance

that each construct shares with the other constructs in the model.

3.3 Structure model

The partial least square (PLS) technique is selected to assess the structural model in the

current study. Partial least square (PLS) and structural equation modelling (SEM) are second

generation data analysis techniques . Although there are some diversities between the PLS and

SEM programmes, the basic specification of the structural model is similar . The SEM is a

covariance-based approach using model fitting to compare the researcher’s model, as given by

theory, to a best possible model fit. SEM is more focused on explanation and is a more

appropriate tool for theory testing (Hair et al., 2010, p. 776). In contrast, PLS is designed to

explain the variance, variance-based, similar to OLS multiple regressions . Therefore, the focus

is much more on prediction (Hair et al., 2010, p. 776). PLS estimates the parameter that

minimizes the residual variance of all the dependent variables in the model, rather than

estimating the variance of all observed variables as in the covariance-based SEM.

Although PLS can be used for confirming the theory, it can also be used to suggest

whether relationships exist or not and to propose suggestions for further testing (Chin, 1998). In

general, PLS is a prediction model . The use of PLS methodology has become an increasingly

popular technique in empirical research in international marketing, which may signify an

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appreciation of the unique methodological features of PLS . Henseler et al. reported that “As of

March 2008, more than 30 articles on international marketing using PLS were published in

double-blind reviewed journals”. Moreover, PLS may be considered as the method of choice for

successful factor studies in marketing and for estimating the various customer satisfaction index

models .

PLS has been increasingly used as an alternative to SEM (Hair et al., 2010, p. 775). Thus,

the major reasons for using PLS in the current study in comparison with SEM are: (a) PLS is

more suitable for exploratory studies such as the current study, where some measures are new

and the relationships have not been previously tested enough ; (b) PLS is recommended for

complex models focusing on the prediction and latent variable model of interaction effects (Chin

et al., 2003). It is, therefore, necessary to use PLS as the proposed model includes a moderating

variable; (c) PLS is recommended when multi-item measures are not available for latent

constructs (Hair et al., 2010, p. 778), which is similar to the current study, because the overall

tourist satisfaction variable has only four items; (d) PLS is suggested where relationships might

or might not exist (Chin, 1998) and where theory is insufficiently grounded ; (e) At an early stage

of the model development, the regression based approach of PLS is considered more suitable

than the covariance-based methods such as SEM ; and (f) PLS determines the relationship

between established indicators to its respective latent variables, which is critical for validating

the exploratory models .

In order to examine the relationship between the constructs in the proposed model as well

as to test the hypotheses, two stages of analysis were performed to evaluate the structural model:

(a) Structural model without the moderating variable, and (b) Structural model with the

moderating variable. The method of examining competing models was applied in these two

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stages as recommended by previous researchers . The path modelling and analysis was

performed using SmartPLS software (http://www.smartpls.com/).The path coefficients and the

R-squared values derived from the competing models provide the statistical basis for hypotheses

testing to determine whether the hypothesized relationships are statistically significant. The path

coefficients reflect the strength of the relationship between the exogenous and endogenous

variables. The R-squared value indicates the predictive power of a model for the endogenous

variables. The significance of the paths is determined by calculating the t-value using a bootstrap

resampling method (500 samples).The Bootstrap is a general statistical technique for assessing

uncertainty through re-sampling data with data replacement (Chin, 1998).

The effect size is also calculated, which is a measure of the strength of the theoretical

relationship including the moderating effect . The effect size values of .02, .15, and .35 are

considered small, moderate and large effects, respectively ; the effect size is calculated by the

following equation:

Effect size = R-squared(interaction effect) − R-squared(main effect) ∕ 1− R-squared(main effect)

The interaction effect is a result of multiplying the independent and the moderator variable, and

to decrease the possible problems with multi-collinearity resulting from interaction terms. The

mean was centred to the indicators prior to multiplying them, as suggested by Chin et al. (2003).

The significance of the effect size is tested by the F statistic, as suggested by Tabachnick and

Fidell .

4. DATA ANALYSIS AND RESULTS

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4.1 Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis

Out of 1,300 questionnaires, 551 were completed and returned. This represented an

effective response rate of 42.3%. After data cleaning, the final sample size was 508. The EFA

results determined significantly the correlated factors, including six push travel motivations, five

pull travel motivations, and four factors representing religion (Tables 1, 2 and 3). Seven items

were dropped from push motivations, while four items were dropped from pull motives and no

items were dropped from religion (INP). After EFA, the measures were subjected to confirmatory

factor analysis using AMOS 18 software. The purification of items for the purpose of searching

for model specifications (Hair et al., 2010) was performed. Seven push items and eight pull items

were dropped, as they could not survive the model diagnostic procedure. The results of the

confirmatory factor analysis of the modified models of the push motivations, pull motivations,

and religion are summarized in Table 4.

Please insert Table 1, 2, 3 and 4 about here

4.2 Measurement Model

The properties of the measurement model are evaluated by assessment of construct

validity; unidimensionality, reliability, convergent validity, and discriminant validity. To assess

the unidimensionality in this study, the items should be significantly associated with an

underlying construct, in addition, each item must be associated with one, and only one latent

variable. It was found that the items in EFA have a loading of ≥ 0.5 (.601 to .868). In the CFA

results, all the regression weights (.51 to .99; with their significant t-values) are also greater than

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0.5, the threshold recommended by Hair et al. (2010). These results verified that the existence of

the unidimensionality is established in this study. To achieve a good reliability, the alpha ranges

in EFA are .55 to .95. It is noted that one alpha value (PUSM) falls below the threshold of 0.7 as

recommended by Hair et al. (2010). The value is still above 0.5, the threshold recommended by

Nunnally , thus, it is still acceptable. The composite reliability values calculated from the CFA

results indicate a high reliability, as all the alpha values are above the recommended threshold of

0.7. All the results of the unidimensionality and reliability assessment are presented in Table 5.

Please insert Table 5 about here

To assess the convergent validity, the average variance extracted (AVE) is examined by

running the smartPLS software for the entire measurement model. The results revealed that the

measures exceed the recommended level of 0.50 for push motivation (0.530), pull motivation

(0.591), overall tourist satisfaction (0.737), and religion (0.542), providing evidence for

convergent validity. The discriminant validity is established if the square root of the average

variance extracted (AVE) for each construct is greater than the value for the correlations between

the given construct and each of the other constructs . Table 6 shows that the bold number in the

diagonal of the table, the square root of the average variance extracted (AVE), is always greater

than the correlation values. These results suggest an acceptable discriminant validity for the

study measures. To sum up, these measurement model results are satisfactory and suggest that it

is suitable to proceed with the evaluation of the structural model.

Please insert Table 6 about here

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4.3 Analysis of the Structural Model and Testing of Hypotheses

A two-stage approach is followed for evaluating the interaction effects of moderating

variables modelled in PLS . This issue was investigated by comparing the baseline model in

stage1 with the model in stage 2 (See Fig. 2). In stage 1, the model includes only the INP as the

main effect but the model in stage 2 includes INP as the main effect as well as the interaction

effect of INP on the overall tourist satisfaction (Endogenous variable). The interaction effect

(INP* PUSM, INP*PULM) is a result of multiplying the independent variable (PUSM, PULM)

and the moderator variable (INP), as suggested by Chin et al. (2003). A bootstrapping method of

sampling with replacement was used, and standard errors computed on the basis of 500

bootstrapping runs. The effect size is also calculated. The comparison of the two stages is

presented in Table 7.

Please insert Figure 2 about here

Results in stage 1 indicate that the direct paths, PUSM to OTS, PULM to OTS, and INP to

OTS, are statistically significant as the t-values (3.85, 7.56, and 11.14) are greater than 1.64. The

explained variance (R-squared) is 0.54 for overall tourist satisfaction (OTS). The goodness-of-fit

(GoF) is 0.56. Whereas the results in stage 2, compared with stage 1, show that the R-squared

was increased to 0.66 providing evidence of a better explained variance. The effect size is 0.26

indicating that the Religion (INP) have more than a moderate effect (0.26 > 0.15) on the overall

tourist satisfaction (OTS). Using procedures suggested by Tabachnick and Fidell (2007, p.148),

the increased R-squared is attributable to the moderating effects and the effect size is statistically

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significant at 0.05 (F3, 504 =129.6 > Critical = 2.6). The GoF increased from 0.56 to 0.62,

indicating a better fit of the Model in stage 2.

Please insert Table 7 about here

In stage 2, the moderating effect of INP on the relationship between the pull motivation

and overall tourist satisfaction is statistically significant as the t-value of the interaction path

(PULM*INP to OTS) is 5.05 and higher than 1.64. However, the results show no support for the

moderating effects of INP on the relationship between the push motivation and overall tourist

satisfaction as the t-value of this path (PUSM*INP to OTS) is 1.25 and less than 1.64. These

results suggest that the Model in stage 2 is better than the Model in stage1 and provides evidence

that the Religion (INP) moderate the relationship between pull motivation (PULM) and the

overall tourist satisfaction (OTS). Table 8 shows that the results supported hypotheses H1, H2,

and H4, as evidenced by the path coefficient and significant t-value. While hypothesis H3 was

not supported meaning that there is no significant moderating relationship between PUSM and

OTS by INP.

Please insert Table 8 about here

5. CONCLUSION

The results clearly indicate that there is a relationship between push motivation and overall

tourist satisfaction (β = 0.14, t-value (4.42) >1.64). However, this finding is not similar to the

outcome of the Yoon and Uysal study (2005), as the relationship between tourist satisfaction and

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push travel motivation was not supported. This may be explained by using SEM in Yoon and

Uysal’s study to test this relationship, which is totally not similar to the PLS used in this study.

Furthermore, the results of the PLS indicate that the pull motivation significantly and positively

relates to the overall tourist satisfaction (β = 0.27, t-value (6.04) > 1.64). This result confirms the

robust findings which suggest that a positive and direct relationship exists between the

destination attributes and the overall tourist satisfaction. Having good destination attributes may

help the destination marketers to achieve tourist satisfaction. Determining the preferable

destination attributes to tourists may also help destination marketers to design and develop better

products and services.

The findings show a similar outcome as in previous studies in terms of the relationship

between destination attributes and overall tourist satisfaction. For example, Devesa et al. (2010)

empirically confirmed that specific attributes of destination affect the level of visitor satisfaction.

Zabkar et al. found that destination attributes affect tourist satisfaction, while Fang et al.

reported that destination attributes are a function of the overall tourist satisfaction. Chi and Qu

supported that satisfaction with destination attributes has a positive impact on the overall tourist

satisfaction. Lastly, Yoon and Uysal (2005) found that the destination attributes (small size and

reliable weather, cleanliness & shopping, night life & local cuisine) have an impact on the

overall tourist satisfaction. The results show that four factors were extracted from the eighteen

Islamic norms and practices items and labelled; worship facilities, Halalness, general Islamic

morality, alcoholic drinks and gambling free. Among these four factors, lack of public

consumption of alcohol and public gambling activities were found to be the most important

Islamic norms and practices with a mean score of 3.79, followed by general Islamic morality

(3.78), worship facilities (3.765), and Halalness (3.763). The four factors were subjected to

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confirmatory factor analysis, revealing results supporting good construct validity, and were then

subjected to the PLS structural model.

The results of the PLS indicated that religion significantly moderates the relationship

between the pull motivation and the overall tourist satisfaction based on the significant

interaction and variance explained (β = 0.15, t-value (5.05) >1.64). This result confirms that the

availability of Islamic norms and practices related to tourism at the destination contributes to the

overall tourist satisfaction and strengthens the relationship between conventional destination

attributes and tourist satisfaction for Muslim tourists. By having Islamic norms and practices,

destination marketers can achieve tourist satisfaction among Muslim tourists. Furthermore, if

destination marketers determine the preferable Islamic norms and practices to Muslim tourists,

this could help them to design and tailor Halal products and services. In addition, the results of

the PLS revealed that the religion does not moderate the relationship between the push

motivation and the overall tourist satisfaction based on the insignificant interaction (β = -0.15, t-

value (1.25) <1.64). In other words, this relationship has not been supported by the research

results, which, accordingly, show that religion is not considered as the moderating variable

between push motivation and overall tourist satisfaction. This kind of relationship may have

resulted from the nature of the push motivations as internal desires are not related to destination

attributes. Therefore, religion may fail to strengthen this relationship.

This study empirically investigated the effects of tourism motivation on the overall tourist

satisfaction focusing on the moderating role of religion (Islam) between them. Thus, this study

makes several contributions to the body of knowledge in several areas. First, in recent years,

there seems to be a growing interest in new concepts such as ‘Halal’ tourism’, ‘Halal hospitality’,

and ‘Halal friendly travel’. Therefore, this study attempted to explore and cover these concepts in

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the tourism sector. Therefore, the primary contribution of this study was the development of a

theoretical framework linking tourism motivation and religion (Islam) for a better understanding

of the Muslim tourist behaviour. Second, this study makes methodological contributions. It

employed partial least square (PLS) analysis to test hypotheses, thereby enabling the

simultaneous analysis of multiple effects, which focus more on predicating rather than

confirming. This highlights the advantages of using PLS as a method of analysis for this study,

which is not fully used in destination marketing and tourism motive studies. Thus, the

application of this technique in this study may provide some guidelines for use in this context.

Third, this study investigated a new area of research empirically, which is Islamic norms and

practices related to tourism at the destination. This study identified some Islamic norms and

practices (INP), which may satisfy the Muslim tourists. The identified INP and their

corresponding items can be used in advancing the study on INP pertaining to Muslim countries

similar to that of Malaysia, and enable comparative studies in other countries.

Fourth, the theoretical model was developed based on the theory of pull and push

motivation by adding religion construct as the moderating variable. Such additions of Islamic

norms and practices to the theory may be considered a contribution, which will open a new area

for future research. The understanding of the moderating effects of INP on the links between

tourism motivation and overall tourist satisfaction is of extreme importance as it enables the

interacting effects of INP on the direct relationships between PULM and OTS to be studied.

Fifth, the findings of this study should help marketers to better understand “Islamic tourism” and

to develop marketing strategies to attract Muslim tourists. A destination can enhance the

probability of its selection by identifying and marketing its ability to meet the needs that their

chosen travel segments consider important. Furthermore, this study could offer some useful and

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practical guidelines for tourism organization and other types of business wishing to successfully

satisfy Muslim customers. Moreover, destination marketers might be able to design creative

programmes that harness the unique characteristics of tourism products to satisfy and delight

Muslim tourists. For example, design resorts fully meet Islamic religious needs such as

segregated beaches, segregated swimming pool, and alcoholic drinking free.

For the purpose of future research, and since it is considered as limitations to the present

study, the first limitation concerns the context of the study (Malaysia), which puts constraints on

the generalisation of the results compared with other countries. No claim can be made, therefore,

for the generalisation of the findings beyond these contexts. Further research is underway to

extend the current work to several other countries. However, the use of a country other than

Malaysia increases our understanding of Islamic norms and practices at the destination in other

contexts and helps to demonstrate the universality and global importance of that concept. Future

research that replicates this study in other contexts would be welcome and would further improve

our understanding of the significance of the impact that the pull motivation has on overall tourist

satisfaction based on the availability of Islamic norms and practices at the destination. Also,

future research might investigate distinctive Islamic norms and practices at the destination

through comparing with specific countries. This is extremely important as there are significant

cultural differences in the travel behaviour of different Muslims between countries and may

provide substantial insights into understanding the research results. The second limitation is

related to the selection of the PLS as a method for predicting the relationships in the proposed

theoretical model. Therefore, it is recommended to conduct this study by collecting new data and

using the structural equation model to confirm these relationships. Further research also needs to

be carried out with other tourism motivation measures (items) similar to this study. Furthermore,

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areas such as Islamic hospitality, Halal friendly travel, and Halal airlines need to be covered by

future research.

References

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