Nowadays, the tourism industry is dealing with a more demanding customer market that is aware of the variety of tourism products and services as well as the levels of quality that are available.
As the tourists are more highly educated and posses higher purchasing power, their demands on better tourism products and services should be fulfilled in order for the tourism business to be sustainable. There should be offered a variety of tourism products and services and ensure quality level in accordance to the market needs.The importance of quality products and services contributed a significant outcome to an organization’s survival and failure.
Tourist satisfaction with the tourism products and its qualities available has become a critical business issue nowadays especially in the service-oriented industry of tourism and hospitality. Tourist satisfaction has generally been conceptualized as the outcome for the customer after exposure to the service product (Crompton and Love, 1995; Baker and Crompton, 2000; Kozak, 2001).Czepiel and Rosenberg (1976) described customer satisfaction as an overall assessment of customers on various attributes of a product. According to David Foster (1996), understanding the customer’s reactions to the product offering, in particularly will know whether it meets the needs of the target market.
Tourism industry should ensure that the current tourism products offering are satisfying the needs, expectations and desires of the tourists. What are the tourism products available in Malaysia that becoming the great attractions of tourists? Malaysia truly Asia” is the slogan used by Tourism Malaysia in promoting the country. It best describes Malaysia as the melting pot of different races and religions found in Asia country such as Malays, Chinese, Indians and many other ethnic groups. Despite of the diverse races, cultures and religions, Malaysians live in perfect harmony and peacefulness. The multiculturalism in Malaysia not only made it a wonderful cultural paradise but also as the home of hundreds colorful festivals.Malaysia has an infinite range of tourism products and attractions across the 13 states and 3 Federal Territories that offered for the tourists to explore and enjoy throughout the year. Malaysia is fortunate to have many natural assets and attractions that could suit to the different preferences of the visitors.
Those attractions are comprised of natural destinations such as rainforest, island, beach, mountain, caves; man-made attractions such as theme park; historical heritage sites and museum; cultural events and cuisines; modernism and high-tech cities; and so on.The strategic location of Malaysia allowed the visitor to have the opportunity to explore back to the nature. It has a wide range of beautiful natural destinations for example million-year-old tropical rainforest of Endau-Rompin State Park, Pahang; Crocker Range National Park located at Sabah; and Niah National Park and Niah Caves at Sarawak. There are also islands with sandy beaches such as Pulau Pangkor, Pulau Tioman, Pulau Redang, and Pulau Langkawi. The famous mountain attractions found in Malaysia are Cameron Highland and Bukit Tinggi.
Another famous city of entertainment is Genting Highlands at Pahang where upon the greenly rainforest, there is the city of excitements suitable for all kinds of tourists. In addition, there are also historical remains of heritage sites that become one of the attractions in Malaysia such as Malacca. The history of colonialism and culture remains attract most of the foreign tourists to visit to Malacca.
The country also complemented by its modernism of cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Penang Island and so on.Those cities are equipped with modern infrastructures building, luxury hotels, world-class MICE facilities, shopping centers, and convenience transportation system. Malaysia colorful multi-racial culture also famous with the cultural festivals and events such as Hari Raya Aidil Fitri, Thaipusam, Chinese New Year, Wesak Day, Hari Gawai, Harvest Festivals, and so on. Different festivals are being celebrated by different ethnics that allowed the tourists to understand the local cultural and tradition.Foods and beverages are another famous attractions in Malaysia whereas it is famous with several of mouth-watering cuisines from different races and ethnics.
The tourism products available in Malaysia are wonderful and attractive enough to attract the tourists to visit to the country. However, the choice of tourism products are depending on the tourists preferences, need and wants as well as the satisfaction of the tourists towards the products.Since the tourist satisfaction increased in popularity, it is the priority for the industry player to value the theories and ensure the tourist satisfaction. Jin Huh and Muzaffer (2003) said that the characteristics of tourists are the important factors when analyzes their satisfaction. It is because of the different backgrounds, values, beliefs, as well as different needs and wants of different people need to be identified in order to offer the products that best suit to the tourists.Pizam and Milman (1993) argued that when investigating tourist satisfaction, the analysis should be conducted separately for different segments because the importance of products attributes may vary with market segments.
This is due to the characteristics of different segments where the tourism products will appeal to different people for different reasons. It is important to identify the tourist satisfaction with each of the product attributes so that the dissatisfaction with one attribute would not lead to the overall dissatisfaction of the tourism products.According to Kozak and Rimmington (2000), tourist satisfaction is important to the successful destination marketing because it influences the choice of tourism product, the consumption of the products and services, and the decision to return. In contrast, if the tourists are being dissatisfied, they tend to remember their bad experiences and it will spread likes a virus to everywhere the tourists go that bring bad reputation to the tourism products.
Since the pleasantness of experience is more likely to influence the future behavior of the tourists, it is important to take seriously into satisfying the tourists.