A research paper published in the Service Industries Journal examines the links between three antecedent factors (i.e. cosmopolitanism, self-identity, and a desire for social interaction) on perceived destination image and behavioural intentions in the context of religious travel.
The paper tests a model using a sample of 538 Iranian visitors to Mecca for the purpose of Umrah. The result from the structural model suggests that destination attributes influence perceived destination image. Further, such tourists are likely to revisit or recommend Islamic destinations if their experience matches their perceived image of the destination. This implies that, while the religious characteristics of the destination remain important, destination managers cannot disregard the tangential, non-religious attributes of a destination which are crucial in order to satisfy more conventional tourist desires. As such, this study suggests that those managing religious travel destinations should endeavour to foster a welcoming image, where experience, interaction, and tolerance are at the forefront of the destination’s offering.
Martin Joseph Gannon, Ian W. F. Baxter, Elaine Collinson, Ross Curran , Thomas Farrington , Steven Glasgow, Elliot M. Godsman, Keith Gori, Gordon R. A. Jack, Sean Lochrie, Rebecca Maxwell-Stuart, Andrew Craig MacLaren, Robert MacIntosh, Kevin O’Gorman, Luke Ottaway, Rodrigo Perez-Vega, Babak Taheri , Jamie Thompson & Ozge Yalinay (2017): Travelling for Umrah: destination attributes, destination image, and post-travel intentions, The Service Industries Journal.