Huynh Hue Linh & Frederic Bouchon
Previous studies on destination choice mainly relied on the context of destination
image, motivation of travelling and characteristics of tourism products (Theocharous & Seddighi, 2002). The issue of halal food and Muslim’s travelling behaviour remains limited in academic research. This study aims to explore food constraints of Muslim travellers while developing a theoretical framework interconnecting food constraints and destination choice. It investigates the Muslim travellers’ behavioral dimensions regarding food constraints. It measures the weight of the halal concept in the Malaysian Muslim context. The methodology first followed a qualitative approach applying semi-structured interviews with tourism-related segments to generate an insightful understanding. A quantitative approach was then used to verify and analyse the practices and behaviours. The findings support the correlation between food constraints and decision making on destinations by Malaysian Muslim travellers. Connections proved to be varied according to travelling situation and travelling exposure. Furthermore, religious obligations were found to have a remarkable weight on the destination choice decision. The results of this research offer practical applications for destination stakeholders such as hospitality and tourism operators, food and beverage caterers, travel agencies, tourism marketers as well as policy makers who aim to cater to the Muslim market.
Keywords: Malaysian Muslim travellers, halal food, religious constraints, social influence, tourism, destination choice