Analysis of West Malaysians attitudes towards holidaying in the Northern Territory
: an assessment of cultural and inter generational differences

  • Asad Mohsin

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    This research is about West Malaysians perceptions of holidaying, their knowledge of Australian and Northern Territory's tourism product, their interest in visiting Australia generally and the Northern Territory (NT) of Australia particularly.

    The research commenced in September 1998 and had to be undertaken on a part time basis. As is endemic in an industry like tourism, the period from initiation to completion of the thesis was dynamic and complex. For example, as an outcome of significant changes in Australian airspace – Malaysian Airline flight from Kuala Lumpur to Darwin route was suspended in February 2002. There were organisational changes within Australian Tourist Organisations and therefore some of the initial marketing purposes established 4–5 years ago are no longer valid. Events like the terrorists attack in Bali in October 2002 and reduction of international airline flights from Darwin have impacted the circumstances to travel into or out of Darwin. This could well be a temporary slump in the local travel and tourism industry.

    However, the core of the thesis - an examination of socio-demographic variables like gender and marital status, ethnicity, education and age, and income as determinants of market demand, still remains. The results from the analysis of West Malaysian's general attitudes towards holidaying and expectations from a holiday still hold substantial convincing information.

    The research using a survey technique through administration of a structured questionnaire and face to face interviews, held in Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya, Kelang, and Seremban, accumulates information from six hundred and seventy five respondents. The respondents were residents of Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Perak, Johor, Terengganu, Kedah, Pulau Pinang, Negeri Sembilan, etc.

    An attempt has been made in the study to assess why West Malaysians were not coming to Northern Territory (NT) for a holiday, despite direct international flights for several years and short travelling time. Why is it that world renowned tourist icons of the NT (i.e. Uluru, Kakadu, Katherine Gorge) were failing to attract holidaymakers from West Malaysia? What particular West Malaysian attitude/s may aid the promotion of the NT tourism product? To what degree does the NT have a tourism product suited to the West Malaysian market? Did West Malaysian average income groups represent a suitable market for the NT tourism product? To what extent factors such as – knowledge of their language, Halal food, places for religious worships, suitable visa fee and accommodation important determinants of holiday destination for West Malaysian travellers? What segment/s of the West Malaysian population possesses positive attitude towards Australia xv and the NT and what implications might this have in the promotion of the NT to the West Malaysian market?

    The statistical analysis of the data using SPSS conveys that there is keen interest generally amongst the respondents to travel to Australia and the NT. The interest did not vary with gender, however, unmarried young people were found to have a greater zest to visit the NT and Australia. Although all three major ethnic groups namely Chinese, Malays and Indians are eager to visit the NT, the enthusiasm is greater amongst the Chinese followed with Indians then the Malays. The findings also reveal that West Malaysians in the age group of 20–29 years show greater enthusiasm to visit the NT followed by the 30–39 years age group. The older age groups above 40 years are not so eager to visit the NT. The assumption that the NT may not be attractive for the ‘high income’ group of West Malaysians has been supported by the findings of the study. The ‘average’ and ‘above average’ income groups in West Malaysians have shown to be very interested to visit the NT followed by the ‘below average’ income group. The ‘high income’ earners did not show any interest to visit the NT comparatively.

    Finally, the research has covered multiple aspects of attitudes of West Malaysians towards holidaying and features of the NT's tourism and holiday product to find the compatibility, however, like Alice in Wonderland the question arises of which way …to go from here?
    Date of AwardJun 2003
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorPascal Tremblay (Supervisor)

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