Tourists Perceptions of Kota Bharu Islamic City

  • Chai Li Cheam Faculty of Business and Management, UiTM Kelantan
  • Nurul Amanina Othman Faculty of Business and Management, UiTM Kelantan
  • Faten Noor Saadah Bt Ahmad Khir Johari Faculty of Business and Management, UiTM Kelantan
Keywords: perception, spirituality, brand, islamic city, cultural attributes, service quality


The aim of this paper is to determine tourists' pereptions on spiritual experience, brand image, cultural attributes and service quality they experienced in Kota Bharu, the capital and administration centre of Kelantan, Malaysia. Kota Bharu was declared an Islamic City in 2005. It has many mosques, various museums, unique architectural old building and palaces. As the number of tourist arrivals to Kelantan is encouraging and contributing to the state income, it is important too examine what these tourists perceive during their stays in Kota Bharu Islamic City. Variance Based Structural Equation Modelling technique of Partial Least Square (PLS) was employed. The findings show that all the variables are significantly influencing tourists' pereption except for service qualiity. In other words, tourists perception of Kota Bharu are positively related to spirituality, brand destination and cultural attributes. Tourists perceptions play a crucial role as this will affect the future tourists arrivals in the stte. Thus, the findings of the study will be useful in helping policy planners to ounderstand how tourists perceived Kota Bharu and design policies too increase tourism receipts and to perserve tourism attributes.


Download data is not yet available.


Aggarwal, A. K., Gulgani, M., Goel, R. K. Spiritual and Yoga (2008) Tourism: A case study on experience of foreign tourists visiting Rishikesh, India. Conference on Tourism in India-Challenges Ahead.457-464, IIMK.

Ambrož, M., and Ovsenik, R (2011).Tourist origin and spiritual motives. Management,16(2), 71-86.

Angelo Nicolaides and Anton Grobler (2017). Spirituality, Wellness Tourism and Quality of Life. African Journal of Hospitality.Tourism and Leisure, 6(1).

Antoniou, J (1981.). Islamic Cities and Conservation. The UNESCO Press. Switzerland.

Asubonteng, P., McCleary, K.J. and Swan, J.E.(1996).SERVQUAL Revisited: A Critical Review of  Service Quality. Journal of Services Marketing, 10(6), 62-81.

Baker, M.J. and Cameron, E.(2008). Critical Success Factors in Destination Marketing.Tourism and Hospitality Research, 8(2), 79-97.

Barclay, D. W., Thompson, R., and Higgins, C. (1995). The Partial Least Square (PLS) Approach to Causal Modeling: Personal Computer Adoption and Use and Illustration.Technology Studies, 2(2), 285-309.

Beerli, A., and Martin, J. D. (2004).Tourists’ characteristics and the perceived image of tourist destinations: a quantitative analysis – a case study of Lanzarote, Spain. Tourism Management, 25(5), 623-636.

Bonn, M, A., Joseph, S, M., Dai, M. (2005).International versus Domestic Visitors: An Examination of Destination Image Perceptions. Journal of Travel Research, 43, 294-301.

Burkart, A. J. and Medlik, S. (1981).  Tourism:  Past, Present and Future.2nd Edition, Heinemann Professional Publishing Ltd.

Cheam, Chai Li and Abdullah, N. S. (2005).The perception of government civil servants on the impacts of tourism on their quality of life.International Journal of Economics, Management and Accounting, 23(2), 141-161.

Chheang, V. (2011). Angkor Heritage Tourim and Tourist Perception.An International Multidisciplinary Journal of Tourism, 213-240.

Chi, C, G-Q and Qu, H. (2008).Examining the structural relationships of destination image, tourist satisfaction and destination loyalty: An integrated approach.Tourism Management, 29, 624-636.

Compeau, D. R., Higgins, C. A., and Huff, S. (1999). Social Cognitive Theory and Individual Reactions to Computing Technology: a Longitudinal-Study. MIS Q, 23(2), 145-158.

Crompton, J. L. (2004). Motivations for pleasure vacation, in Williams, S. (ed.) Tourism: Critical concepts in the Social Sciences. London: Routledge.

D‘Silva, B., and D‘Silva,S. (2008). Perception of tourists towards India as a preferred tourist destination: An empirical research.Presenting at Conference on Tourism in India-Challenges Ahead. Kozhikode: Indian Institute of Management.

Fatemeh, Shafaei and Badaruddin, Mohamed (2014). Involvement and brand equity: a conceptual model for Muslim tourists. International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, 9(1), 54-67.

Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Buchner, A., and Lang, A.-G. (2009). Statistical Power Analyses Using G*Power 3.1: Tests for Correlation and Regression Analyses. Behavior Research Methods, 41, 1149-1160.

Fuller, R. C. (2001).Spiritual, but not religious: Understanding unchurched America. New York: Oxford.

Fynes, B. and C. Voss (2001).A path analytic model of quality practices, quality performance and business performance.Production and Operation Management. Winter, 10, 494-510.

Gao, B., and Zhang, H. Q. (2009). Dream destination: A concept of perception of leisure travelers.Presenting at ICHRIE Conference. Amherst: University of Massachussets Amherst.

Goodrich, J. N.(1977). Benefit bundle analysis: An empirical study of international travelers. Journal of Travel Research, 26(2), 6-9.

Gyekye, K., (1998). African Cultural Values an introduction. Sankofa Publishing Company Accra, Ghana, 1998.

Hair, J. F., Black , W. C., and Anderson, R. E. (2010). Multivariate data analysis.Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River.

Halter, Reese and Randle, Dave (2012).Sustainable tourism: A key to global solutions. (assessed May 12, 2012).

Hamidi, S., Raston, N. A. and Al-Mamun, A. (2014).Customer Satisfaction towards Three Star Hotels in Kelantan, Malaysia.The Social Sciences, 9(3), 182-188.

Harun, S. N., Ali, Z. M., and Zawaw, R. (2011).TheChangingImage and Identity of Kota Bharu, Kelantan Malaysia from Cultural City to Islamic City.International Journal of Social Planning and Development, 1(1), 75-80.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. McGraw-Hill, London.

Holloway, J. C. (1986). The Business of Tourism.London: Longman Publishing Ltd.

Islamic Tourism Centre, Malaysia, website:

Jalilv and, M., Bahadori, M., andJahanbaksh, M. (2011).The Employee`s Perspectives on Knowledge Management. Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, 3(3), 249-256.

Jalis, M. H., MohdSalehuddinMohdZahari, Muhamad IzzatZulkifly and Zulhan Othman (2009).Western Tourists Perception of Malaysia Gastronomic Products.Asian Social Science, 3(1), 25-36.

Kamil, A. A. (2010). Travelles’ Perceptions of Malaysia as Their Next Holiday Destination.Ozean Journal of Social Science, 3(2), 171-183.

Kaplanidou, K. (2009). Relationships among Behavioral Intentions, Cognitive Event and Destination Images among Different Geographic Regions of Olympic Games Spectators.Journal of Sports  and Tourism, 14(4), 249-272.

King, L. M., McCool, S. F., Fredman, P. and Halpenny, E. A., (2012).Protected Area Branding Strategies to Increase Stewardship Among Park Constituencies.Parks International Journal, 18, 54–63.

Laws, E. (1995).Tourist Destination Management: Issues, Analysis, and Policies. Routledge, New York.

Lee, Cindy Ker Hui and Richardson, Scott (2012).An analysis of Australian tourist's perceptions of Malaysia as a tourist destination. In: CAUTHE 2012: The new golden age of tourism and hospitality; Book 2; Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference. Melbourne, Vic.: La Trobe University, 367-373.

Lewis, B., and Mitchell, V. (1990). Defining and Measuring the Quality of Cuctomer Service.Marketing Intelligence and Planning,  8(6), 11-17.

Lina MunirahKamarudinandHairulNizam (2013). Islamic Tourism: The ImpactsTo Malaysia’s Tourism Industry.Proceedings of International Conference on Tourism Development.

M.R. Mohd Nasir and I.H. Salleh (2014).Kota Bharu Islamic City – The Concept of a New Cultural Tourism Product.SHS Web of Conferences. 12.

Mayo, E. J., and L. P. Jarvis (1981).The psychology of leisure travel.Boston, MA: CBI Publishing Company.

Mohamad, M., A.M. ALI and A.G. Ghani (2011).Structural Model of Destination Image, Tourists’ Satisfaction and Satisfaction and Destination Loyalty.International journal of business and Management, 3(2).

Morgan, N., A. Pritchard, and R. Pride (2004).Destination Branding: Creating the Unique Destination Proposition. 2nd ed. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

MPKB-BI.(2002). KotaBharu.Landscape master plan report.

Norman, A. (2012). The Varieties of the Spiritual Tourists Experience., 20-37

Oliver, R. (1997). Satisfaction : A Behavioral Perspective ON the Consumer. McGraw-Hill, New York.

Parasuraman, A., V.A. Zeithamlm and L.L. Berry.(1985). A conceptual model of service quality and its implication for future research.Journal of Marketing, 41-50. 

Poria, Y., Butler, R., and Airey, D. (2003). The Core of Heritage Tourism.Annals of Tourism Research, 238-254.

Prabaharan, B., Arulraj, A., and Rajagopal, V. (2008). Service Quality on Tourism: Applicaiton of Structural Equation Modeling. Conference on Tourism in India- Challenges Ahead.

Rahman, M. K. (2014). Motivating factors of Islamic tourist’s destination loyalty: an empirical investigation in Malaysia.Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Management, 2(1), 63-77.

Reisinger, Y., and Turner, L. (2003).Cross-Cultural Behaviour in Tourism; Concept and Analysis.Oxford: Elsevier Science Limited.

Shih, D. (1986). VALS as a tool of tourism market research: The Pennsylvania experience. Journal of Travel Research, 24(4), 2-11.

Simonin, B. L. (2008). Nation Branding and Public Diplomacy: Challenges and Opportunities. Fletcher Forum of World Affair, 32(3), 19–34.

Skanavis, C. and Giannoulis, C. (2010).Improving quality of ecotourism through advancing education & training of Greek eco-tour guides: The role of training in environmental interpretation.Tourismos,5(2), 49- 68.

Sufahani, S. F., Ismail Z. and Muhammad, M. (2013).An analysis of international tourist behavior towards tourism sector in Kelantan.Prosiding Seminar KebangsaanAplikasiSains and Matematik.

Timothy, D. J. and Olsen, D. H. (2006).Tourism, Religion and Spiritual Journeys.London: Routledge.

Tsang, N. K-F., and Ap John (2007). Tourists’ Perceptions of Relational Quality Service Attributes: a Cross Cultural Study.Journal of Travel Research,45, 355-363.

Ukwayi, Joseph. K.; Eja, Eja. L and Unwanede, Chibuzo. C. (2012).Assessment of Tourist Perception on Service Quality in the Hospitality Industry in Cross River State.Journal of Sociological Research, 3(2).

Um, S., and Crompton, J. L. (1990). Attitude determinants in tourism destination choice.”Annals of Tourism Research,17,432-448.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (2011). Tourism: Investing in Energy and Resource Efficiency.Towards A Green Economy Book. 417-449

Van Raaij, W. F. (1986). Consumer research on tourism: Mental and behavioral constructs. Annals of Tourism Research, 13, 1-9.

Wilson, E., and Harris, C. (2006). Meaningful Travel:Women, Independent Travel and The Search for Meaning.Tourism: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 161-172.

Wisniewski, M. and Donnelly, M. (1996).Measuring Service Quality in the Public Sector: The Potential for SERVQUAL.Total Quality Management, 7(4), 357-365.

Woodside, A.G., and Lysonski, S. A. (1989).General Model of Traveler Destination Choice.Journal of Travel Research, 17(4), 8–14.

World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).(2012)Travel and Tourism: Economic Impact 2012. The Authority on World Travel and Tourism

Yasami, M. (2013).The perception of international tourists towards Iran’s culture and their intentions to visit Iran.Proceeding of World Business and Social Science Research Conference.

Zeithaml, V., Berry, L., and Parasuraman, A. (1996). The Behavioral Consequences of Service Quality.Journal of Marketing, 31-46.
How to Cite
Cheam, C. L., Othman, N. A. and Bt Ahmad Khir Johari, F. N. S. (2018) “Tourists Perceptions of Kota Bharu Islamic City”, Malaysian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities (MJSSH), 3(4), pp. 60 - 72. doi: 10.47405/mjssh.v3i4.122.