Exploring destination imagery : a holistic assessment on Malaysian destination image from a British perspective
The aim of this thesis is to understand the meaning and measurement of destination imagery from a holistic angle. Three objectives outlined to achieve this aim includes: 1) to explore the meaning and measurement of tourism destination image, 2) to formulate a holistic approach to study tourism destination image and 3) to asses Malaysian destination image from a British perspective. Based upon feasibility, the British market was chosen to be the case study. However, the complexity of destination imagery derived from literature review requiring inter-dimensional relationship to address destination imagery in a holistic manner, needed further probing of methodological aspects both at philosophical and technical levels as a requisite prior to embarking on the empirical study. The findings in the form of 9 propositions of the initial exploratory study coupled with the inter-dimensional conceptual framework resulted in providing the operational framework of systems thinking as the catalyst for the execution purpose of this study. However, the mismatch of the underpinning set of beliefs to put the operational framework into execution was addressed through philosophical debates that resulted in the formation of 'Synergistic Holism' as a way of research giving priority to the search of truth over rules. Drawing from this philosophical understanding, the inter-dimensional aspects of imagery were made possible to be tested empirically. The roles of tourist, travel advisers, industry players and media materials were assessed using descriptive statistics, in-depth interviews and semiotic analyses respectively. The findings include favourable, unfavourable and ambivalent images of Malaysia from a British perspective. Consequently, 6Is best practices namely Involvement, Innovation, Infusion, Interpretation, Intimacy and Ingenuity are formulated for future policy implications. The knowledge contributions from both theoretical and practical angles are discussed. The finale presents a self-reflection of the journey in completing this thesis and hindsight on future research direction.