Shida Irwana Omar, Badaruddin Mohamed & Gelareh Abooali
Realising that tourism is a fragile sector, many tourist destinations compete with
each other to remain relevant in the global tourism market. A successful destination must be able to provide diverse tourism products and better quality experience than others and more importantly meet the tourists’ expectations. This paper aims to measure the level of destination competitiveness of 15 urban destinations in Malaysia according to the perceptions of Malaysian travellers based on 40 attributes of five themes: tourist attraction, facilities and services, infrastructure, cost and hospitality. This paper also attempts to identify the perceived image of each destination of domestic tourists and evaluate the overall satisfaction level of
tourists towards the visited destinations on a 10-point scale. The results were drawn from a questionnaire survey of 716 domestic tourists conducted online and at major tourist spots throughout the country. The findings indicate that respondents perceived all destinations to be competitive in accommodation (μ= 3.87), scenery/natural resources (μ=3.84), food and beverage facilities (μ= 3.75), food/cuisine (μ= 3.74), accessibility of attractions (μ= 3.74) and variety of tourist attractions (μ= 3.74). Overall, Kuching was perceived to be the most attractive city for vacation compared with other destinations listed in the study. The five significant competitive indicators of Kuching include scenery and natural resources, culture and ethnicity, history, food or cuisine and accessibility of attractions. Results generated
from this research can assist tourism marketers to identify destination strengths and weaknesses and consequently develop future marketing and positioning strategies to meet the tourists’ expectation.
Keywords: Urban destinations, competitiveness, domestic tourists, Malaysia