Tourism Industry is one of the fastest developing sectors
for the economy worldwide other than technology development (Garg, 2011). Tourists are people who travel to and stay in places
outside their usual environment for more than twenty-four hours and not more
than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related
to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited (United
Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), 2017).
Tourism industry is a major global industry which links tourists to diverse
destinations that they choose to travel. The
advancements in today’s technology creates more opportunities for
tourism industry in many developing countries. The widespread use of internet
for tourists to get knowledge about the vacation destination and make bookings
for their vacation as tourist’s promotional tourism marketing tool has greatly
increased the development of tourism industry (Spilsbury, R, 2010). According
to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the average annual
growth for international tourist arrivals was 4 percent for the world, while for
South-East Asia was 5 percent. As the world tourism went global, the effect of
tourism to total contribution to GDP has increased significantly from 1995 to
2016. The impact of tourism on economic and socio development in South-East
Asia has a huge contribution in the GDP, employment, visitor exports and
investment (World Travel & Tourism Council, 2017). Gunduz and Hatemi (2005)
stated that the tourism industry is a world source of invigorating economic
growth, in contain of exports, taxes, income, and employment (Su, Y. & H.
Lin., 2014). Moreover, tourism is also high in visibility and ubiquity, tourism
related crimes are usually highly published in the publicity. This cause the
tourists doubt to visit destinations which had high crime rates.
majority of authors argued that the absence of crime is important for tourism
sector in any country (Mthembu, N., 2009). Crime is defined as an action or
behavior that qualifies as crime by the order of law (Shafer, S., 1967). A
crime may occur in different places and different situations, for example,
crimes committed by local residents against tourists, crimes committed by
tourists against local residents, crimes committed by tourists against other
tourists and planned crimes against tourism entities (Prashyanusorn, V., S.
Kaviya, and P. P. Yupapin, 2010). Crime can be divided into two categories, violent
crime and property crime. Within each category, many more specific crimes
exist. Violent crime, a crime where an
offender physically hurts or threatens to hurt a victim. It might be or might
not be committed with weapons. Violent crimes includes homicide,
aggravated and simple assault, rape and sexual assault, and robbery. Property
crime is a theft or destruction of someone
else’s property. It does not involve force or threat of force against a
victim. Property crime includes burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft,
robbery, vandalism and arson (Wikipedia, 2017). Furthermore,
crime is one of many types of risk that mostly affect the tourists.
Risk can be stated as a major source of concern for international
travelers. The need for security is a fundamental feature of a person and
safety concerns can prevent travel to certain places (Kozak, et al., 2007).
Risk perception is defined as a cognitive assessment that affects tourist
behavior. In other words, the risk perception of a tourist is significantly
affected by events when buying or consuming tourism product, or perceptions
about a destination. In this sense, it is assumed that tourist are rational,
risk-averse consumers who prefer to safe destinations (Chahal, Devi, 2015).
Tourists often prefer travelling to destinations with low cost and low security
risk. It is possible for tourists to create a negative impression towards a
destination when they feel unsafe or threatened. Therefore, tourists prefer
destinations that are perceived as safer instead of the ones that are perceived
as risky or insecure (Seabra, et al., 2013).
1.2 Tourism in Malaysia
Malaysia is a
developing country in South-East Asia. It is like 2 countries
in 1, separated in half by the South China Sea, Peninsular Malaysia and East
Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo) situated in Southeast Asia. Peninsular Malaysia
flaunts bustling cities, colonial buildings, misty tea plantation, and chill
out islands, while Malaysian Borneo is a tropical paradise with endless white sandy beaches, the oldest and most
bio-diverse rainforest, and an abundance of natural wonders. Malaysia is one of
the most unique travel destination with splendor of nature. In addition,
Malaysia is a country that has Asia’s three
major races such as Malay, Chinese and Indian. Besides that, there are various
other ethnic groups, which is Dayak, Iban, Biyaduhs, Kadazan, Bajau,
Murut and many more. Multiculturalism has not
only made Malaysia a unique country but it also has made Malaysia famous for
its exciting diversity of cultures, festivals, traditions, food and customs.
Ayob & Masron (2014) clarified that tourism sector has become as one of the main
source to Malaysia’s incomes. The Prime Minister of
Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak also claimed that tourism industry
stands at the sixth largest contributor, contributing a total of RM 161
billion (14.9%) for the year 2014 GDP in Malaysia,
whereby it is important to sustain the development on the economy and
society. Nevertheless, in the past few years the safety concerns among tourists
have raised. The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC US State Department)
(2015) reported that the overall crime rate for Malaysia is pretty high. It
also stated that there was an increase in crime in Malaysia in 2014, which
included several assaults and robberies, several times involving weapons. The
most common crimes committed against foreigners in Malaysia are purse
snatching, petty theft, pickpocketing, residential burglaries, credit card
fraud and automobile theft. Residential burglaries are becoming a more common
crime in Malaysia. Australia citizen was killed in a home burglary accident in
2013. On 15 November 2013, a Taiwanese man was shot dead and his wife was
kidnapped by a group of unidentified gunmen, after being attacked in the resort
of Pom Pom Island off Semporna, east coast of Sabah. Later, on 20 December
2013, the Taiwanese lady was rescued by Philippines security forces (The STAR,
2013). Another incident occurred again on 2 April 2014, in Semporna, Sabah, a
Chinese tourist and a Filipino hotel employee from Singamata Reef Resort were
kidnapped. This incident led to a dramatic decline of Chinese tourist arrivals
to Sabah, all flights from China to Kota Kinabalu, the state capital were cancelled
(The STAR, 2014). The twin tragedies of Malaysia
Airlines (MAS) flights MH370 and MH17 has make 2014 a tragic year for Malaysia.
MH370 is still unaccounted since its mysterious disappearance on a trip from
Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8. Just four months later, another MAS flight
MH17, was shot down in eastern Ukraine on July 17. These incidents
brings threat to the tourism destination image.
1.3 Research Problem
Tourism as a product is intangible,
inseparable, heterogeneous, and perishable in nature which makes risk part of
the package (Mitchell and Greatorex, 1993; Williams & Baláž, 2013),
although at times, risk contributes to the excitement and positive experience
of travel (Cater, 2006; Dickson and Dolnicar, 2004; Quintal et al., 2010). Many
authors discussed about risk and tourism, especially those focused to safety
and security risks, such as terrorism and crime. Travel-related risk research
trend emerged in the 1990’s (Sönmez et al, 1999). A number of common crime
incidents in Malaysia recent years have raised the safety and security concerns
among tourists, including kidnapping in east coast of Sabah and phone snatching
in Kuala Lumpur incidents.
A great number of prior studies have
investigated travel-related risk perception on a large sample which led to
promising statistical significance, but much of the data was collected from
residents, students, and the general public rather than actual tourists, and
were not destination nor event specific (Lepp & Gibson, 2003; Simpson and
Siguaw, 2008; Williams and Baláž, 2013). Roehl & Fesenmaier (1992), two of
the pioneer authors in this field, have cautioned that risk perception is
situation-specific, hence it necessitates a destination-based study to aptly examine
risk perception and its antecedents in the context of interest. This study
aimed to investigate tourists’ risk perception towards crime (event-specific)
on Malaysia (destination-specific) from actual tourists at international
airports, popular tourist places, hotels and shopping mall.
1.4 Research Questions
are some specific questions included in this study. The specific questions of
this study are as follow:
How tourists perceive risk on crime in Malaysia?
How does travel experience, prior
experience with risk, travel motivation, novelty preference, and demographic
factors affect tourists risk perception?
1.5 Research Objectives
1.5.1 General Objective
general objective of this study is to understand tourist’s risk perception
towards crime in Malaysia.
1.5.2 Specific Objectives
are some specific objectives included in this study. The specific objectives of
this study are as follow:
To examine how travel experience affects
risk perception of tourist towards crime.
To investigate how prior experience with
risk affects risk perception of tourist towards crime.
To study how travel motivation affects
risk perception of tourist towards crime.
To inspect how novelty preference
affects risk perception of tourist towards crime.
To examine how demographic factors
affects risk perception of tourist towards crime.
1.6 Significance of
From a CNN global study in 2013, 67%
of respondents are more worried about the safety and security of a destination
rather than its cost and reputation. When the tourists feel unsafe or threatened, they can create a negative
impression of the certain holiday destination. Tourists may become scared and
hesitates to travel to certain places and destinations due to being a high-risk
zone. Bad impression can develop bad reputation and causes decline in tourism
industry. The more the tourists
feel unsecured, the less the intention they have to visit any particular
destinations. Therefore, the
safety of tourist’s is important because when they invest their money in
Malaysia, the currency rate increases and benefits the Malaysia’s economy
The main interest of this study is to
see tourists feel safe and secure during their vacation in Malaysia and to
encourage and attract more tourists to visit Malaysia because it will benefits
the Malaysia’s economy. Furthermore, this research expected to contribute
opportune perspectives to the tourism industry in Malaysia and to provide
theoretical implications to other destinations with similar risk background.
Literature review is a systematic process of examining the ideas,
concepts, theories, practices, trends and issues related to research activity.
It helps to gain insights that useful for formulating research design with
appropriate hypotheses and instruments for data collection. Accordingly, a
plenty of research has been carried out on the selected research topic. For
this purpose, various national and international journals, periodicals,
reports, books, academic theses, newspapers, opinion and popular writings
This review has broadly covered existing literature on crime in
tourism, risk perception in tourism, and tourist risk perception towards crime.
Major research papers were reviewed for better understanding and to get clarity
of the concepts and the research problem. The review of literature facilitated
the researcher to identify research gaps in the existing knowledge base.
2.1: Definitions of Crime
international act in violation of the criminal law (statutory and case law),
committed without defense or excuse, and penalized by the state as a felony
“An act that
violates the law of the society or serious offence against the law of the
society for which there is a severe punishment by law.”
et al. (2012)
“An act or omission forbidden by law on pain
of punishment or else is a violation of law.”
Baharom, and Tan (2013)
‘property rights’ where the focus was prioritized on crime against property.”
2.3 The Cases of Crime in Malaysia on
There are several crime
incidents which is kidnapping cases which occurred in Sabah for the past few
years. Early on 15 November 2013, a Taiwanese man was shot dead and his wife was
kidnapped by a group of unidentified gunmen after the couple being attacked in
the resort of Pom Pom Island off Semporna, east coast of Sabah. The Taiwanese’s
wife was rescued by Philippines security forces later on 20 December 2013 (The
Star, 2014). Tourist being kidnaped incident happened again on 2 April 2014,
which a Chinese tourist and a Filipino hotel employee from Singamata Reef
Resort in Semporna, Sabah, were kidnapped. This incident caused a dramatic
decline of Chinese tourist arrivals from China to Sabah (The Star, 2014). Tourist
kidnapping incidents in Sabah, adversely affected Malaysia’s tourism sector. Lee,
C.F., (2014), further explained that the Chinese-tourist kidnapping incidents
resulted flights from China to Kota Kinabalu, the state capital were been
cancelled. As of April, 76 flights from China to Kota Kinabalu were cancelled.
Among the 76 cancelled flights, 10 were Malaysia Airlines flights from
Shanghai, 22 were China Southern Airlines flights from Shenzhen and 44 were Spring
Airlines flights from Shanghai. Moreover, twin
tragedies of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flights MH370 and MH17 has make 2014 a
tragic year for Malaysia. MH370 is still unaccounted since its mysterious
disappearance on a trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8. Just four
months later, another MAS flight MH17, was shot down in eastern Ukraine on July
17.This incidents prompted many tourists from China to avoid the Southeast
Asian country, causing business operators to suffer conservatively RM10 million
loss and the amount reaches RM100 million for the whole tourism market (Khmer
Times, 2014). Malaysian government had taken several measures to reduce
the loss due to the tragic incidents occurred in 2014. According to the news reported
in The Star, 2014, Tourism and Culture Minister conducted tourism campaigns in other
countries, such as Thailand, Singapore,
Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Australia
and New Zealand. Malaysia established a crisis management committee specifically
to tackle China’s tourism sector in order to rebuild the China tourist’s
confidence of to visit Malaysia.
a tourist from China wrote to reader’s column in
Sin Chew Daily about them being victim of theft during their visit to Malacca. A
thief on motorcycle has snatched a camera from one of their members in the group.
They were extremely shocked that such incident took place under broad daylight
(Malaysian Chinese news, 2014). Recently
in one of the hotel in Kuala Lumpur, two tourists become victims of a snatch
theft at the entrance of the hotel, where a man on motorcycle rides into view
and quickly snatches one of the tourist’s phone and rides off quickly. (The
STAR, 2017). This incidents has eroded international
tourist’s confidence on safety during their visit to Malaysia.