Marketing Mix for a Responsible Muslim Destination by hcj


									    Mohammad Zahedi
Univ. of Payame- Nour, Iran
The economic importance of tourism
industry, the role of tourism development in
preparing a better international image for
the destinations and the mode phenomenon
of developing a tourism sector in our
economies pushed the policy makers of the
third world countries in to the processes of
running toward tourism. Muslim societies
like other parts of the third world countries
seriously are eager to develop tourism sector
 in their economies
Different destinations try to attract tourists
from all around the world by introducing
themselves through distinguished marketing
mix, which has been shaped by their own
characteristics. In other hand, Social
marketing ideas during the last decades insist
on the necessity of fair marketing actions
against our customers.
Now the most important question may be is
what are the elements of a marketing mix for
a Muslim destination? How the marketing
mix of a Muslim destination could be as real
and honest with the customers, and what
characteristics should be take in to account
when we are shaping our marketing mix. Here
some elements of a marketing mix for a
typical Muslim destination would introduce
in brief due to the responsibility subject
First of all I should emphasize that in my opinion
and in this paper a Muslim destination does not
mean any Muslim country, city or community, but
those Muslim communities that themselves insists
on their Islamic way of life and prefer to attract
tourists that respect to their sensitivities and
customs will consider as Muslim destination in this
Indeed Muslim societies less or more have especial
cultural and moral sensitivities in their tourism
  tourism development.
Theoretical framework

Theoretical framework of the paper will focus on
two main subjects. The first one is the essence of
responsibility in tourism industry and the second
will give us a summary of the Marketing mix
focusing on tourism destinations.
Responsibility in tourism

As the core theme of the conference is the subject of
responsibility in tourism I will give you just a brief
concept of the subject to avoid unnecessary repeating.
Let's summarize responsible tourism as the 2002 Cape
Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in
Destinations defines it as follows:

• minimizes negative economic, environmental and
social impacts
• generates greater economic benefits for
local people and enhances the well being
of host communities
• improves working conditions and access
to the industry
• involves local people in decisions that
affect their lives and life chances
• makes positive contributions to the
conservation of natural and cultural
heritage embracing diversity
• provides more enjoyable experiences for
tourists through more meaningful connections
with local people, and a greater understanding
of local cultural, social and environmental
 • provides access for physically challenged
• is culturally sensitive, encourages respect
between tourists and hosts, and builds local
pride and confidence”
Marketing Mix

Planned mix of the controllable elements of a product marketing
plan or combination of marketing elements used in the sale of a
particular product is called marketing mix. The marketing elements
usually for goods contain four elements of product, place, price and
promotion. The term "marketing mix" was first used in 1953 by
Neil Borden, further the term "marketing-mix“ was introduced. A
prominent marketer, Mc carthy, proposed a 4 P classification in
1960. But know the marketers have added three more Ps to the
marketing mix, those are; People, Process and Physical Evidence or
aspects. The latter which is called the extended marketing mix,
seems to be more applicable to service products such as tourism

Armstrong and Kotler define product as “anything
that can be offered to a market for attention,
acquisition, use, or consumption and that might
satisfy a want or need” (Armstrong & Kotler, 2005, p.
223).But , what kind of product Muslim tourism
destinations prepare for the customers? Muslim
destinations usually focus on the culture as the
mainstream of their tourism products.
Different aspects of their cultures attract
tourists to them; Architecture such as
mosques (Domes and Minarets), religious
phenomenon such as the way of praying,
cloths and covers such as Hijab, foods and
beverages, traditional ceremonies and
customs and so on. One may consider some
of those as physical aspects of the destination
But among all other types of tourism, especially
regards to the growing share of nature based
tourism in this industry and due to the increasing
attention to the environmental subjects this would
not give us a comprehensive assessment about the
tourism industries in Muslim world. As most of
Muslim destinations are located in under treated
ecological areas and have different climatologically
situations with the countries of tourist origins, and
so, nature based tourism now have a very
important role in their tourism development plans.
A Muslim destination product must be
something more, the spiritual atmosphere of a
Muslim community is what added to physical
and visible products that it supply and makes it
different. How do you appreciate the voice of
Azan, in Fajr praying time in Isfahan? What
about the amount of prayers moving to the
Prophet Mosque in Medina and how do you feel
the smell of fresh bread at Eftar (the time for fast
breaking) in Muscat?
The responsible Muslim destination first
should try to choose the right target market
which may have sympathy with the Islamic
atmosphere of the destination rather than the
physical and architectural aspects of it, and
then to introduce the product clearly for the
target market. I will emphasize that focusing on
the atmosphere is highly recommended, any
misunderstanding about it would have fatal
effects on the destination image.
Furthermore responsibility engage with
providing       access   for    physically
challenged people, comparing to the
Islamic way of life, we will find out that
for Muslim destination it's just enough
to act as it is based on Islamic laws and
orders to be known as a responsible

 The word place here would mean the way that
makes accessible the destination to the customers,
or channels of distribution and at the same time
refers to the physical or geographical position of
the destination. As a geographical position surly
there is no possibility to making change in the
place element. And as a channel of distribution it
seems that there is no difference between a
Muslim destination and the others about the place

The price is the amount a customer pays for the product.
First of all for a Muslim destination due to the price
element of marketing mix ,responsibility means to be fair
to guarantee the rights of consumer sovereignty ,on the
other hand, as a Muslim destination could be unique and
have monopolistic conditions , the price may vary
,because the pricing should aim the economic benefit of
the host community and prepare enough money to
preserve the cultural and environmental reserves of the
community due to the responsibility in the local people

Promotion is concerned with telling the target market
or others in the channel of distribution about the “right”
product. (Armstrong & Kotler, 2004). To understand
the importance of promotion efforts just let's talk about
an unusual advertisement which has made by the DMO
of a Muslim country which targeted the Arab countries
market to the destination. This is a case of giving the
market the wrong information about the destination .
The ad show that people in destination are in local dresses
which are likely to Arabian people and playing the same
musical instruments like the Arabian ones, the destination is
a dried lands and deserts, and sometimes you may find there
a spring!! women covers their faces, with no image about the
modern side of the life in the destination. We know that when
people decide to travel, they try to taste something different
from their usual life. So what this ad means? As I know the
destination as well, and we know that these are not
representing the truthful image of the destination , so I can
say that the producers of such an ad may don't know any
 thing about marketing!!!!

People here consists two important groups: visitors
and our community. As mentioned before in product
element and as the cultural and eco-tourists of our
time usually act in a right and meaningful manner, a
well organized marketing plan which clearly
introduce the product of a Muslim destination ,would
attract right tourists to your destination which are
respectful to the moral and spiritual circumstances of
the destination.
The key points here are focusing on the
attractive and different aspects of the
life in the destination should be clear
and honest with the customers and to
be sure that the target market has
received the right message of the
 marketing plan.
But the element of people here has a very
significant importance due to the responsibility
either the subject is local people or the tourists.

From the customer point of view, local people way
of act and connections with the tourists affect on
the sustainability of tourist flow to the destination
and, so on the concept of responsibility. You as the
local people invited the tourists to your Muslim
community and the way you say greeting to and
involve with them is so important.
According to the Islamic morals the
Muslim should admit the tourists, from
our religious lessons we have been
learned that:

  "Guests are the Allah (God) friends".

There should be no doubt that the
Islamic way of hospitality would
guarantee the responsibility in tourism
industry of the host community.
I should remind the phrases written on the entry of
Sheikh Abolhasan Kharaghani monastery in Iran:

"Whoever coming in to this house should be given
food and do not ask about his piety or religion,
because if he is so precious by Allah (the God) to be
alive, is so precious to be admitted by us."
Tourist's responsibility is the other side of
the subject. Travelers of our world are more
sensitive to the cultural and ecological
characteristics in the destination , among
them, cultural and eco- tourists who are
mostly invited by the Muslim destinations
even are more respectful , because one of
the most important motivators that
attracted them to a Muslim destination is
learning and they do know what are the
 learning morals.
 Compare them to the 3S tourists in non Muslim
destinations, they pay more attention to pleasure
activities , even some times they cannot see the local
community, sometimes they are staying in a resort
away from the local societies or sometimes they really
don't want to see people and admit them as those
which can be connected to them, these kind of
tourists just look forward the local people to
accommodate their needs, local people for them are
something like tools and machineries, they are not
people to be connected , they are mades, servants or
even worse.
The environment in which the service or product is
delivered is physical evidence of the product, here
tangible aspects are the one which helps to
communicate and intangible is the knowledge of
the people around us. The physical evidence of a
Muslim destination is the visual images of the
community, for example the environment of the
city, the architecture, and the monuments. The
intangibles are the way of thinking and act of the
host community due to the tourists and the way
they preserve services to the visiting people.
The tangible side of the physical aspects usually
attracts tourists, if the environment is not dirty
and polluted, but the intangible side especially
due to the way of service providing most of the
time seems to be poor and un acceptable by the
tourists. Sometimes those working in the tourist
vacancies have little knowledge and aren't well
educated for the jobs ,sometimes they aren't
honest with the tourists ,sometimes they are
sloppy or even trying to cheat the visiting people.
As a tourist who has visited many
Islamic countries and living in one of
them, the main roots of the problems
are the process of selection for the job
vacancies, and the lack of education, the
latter seems to be more important.
These are the important aspects which
should be taken in to account in the

Due to the nature of responsibility the process of
preparing a Muslim community to become a tourism
destination and the way of decision making by the
authorities of the DMO should be a democratic one.
Using the Islamic way of decision making, "Shoura",
which has been mentioned in holy Quran could
guarantee the right of local people to be involved in
decisions that affect their lives and life chances.
Developing the nongovernmental organizations
(NGOs) also is a reasonable way.
Defining the rules and regulations upon the
tangible measures but not based on the
tastes of pressure groups in the destination
would make tourists enable to be informed
about what can do what not eligible to do and
to cope with it. This would eliminate most of
the possible problems that tourists may face
to in the destination especially the cultural
and ecological ones.
Here the major point that should be
mentioned is that the destination
really wants to accept tourists and
which prices the local communities
are ready to pay for? Does the DMO
of the destination accurately appraise
these situations?
The process of selecting people for the tourism
industry's job opportunities and the way of their
education are very important subjects of process
element in a Muslim destination, as many
Muslim communities are at the beginning
phases of their planned development of tourism
development, they should pay serious attention
to this matter, because putting the wrong people
in a service industry is a disaster.

Muslim communities try to attract people from all
around the world to be seen , to create more jobs , to
remove poverty and to earn money. There is no
doubt that they should shape their marketing mix in a
right manner to success in this way. To ensure the
responsible way of tourism development they should
pay more attention to the following subjects:
-To emphasize on what really they prepare as
tourism product especially on the spiritual
atmosphere of the destination

-To select the right part of the market, a
sustainable, respectful and responsible part

-To emphasize on the religious lessons on
hospitality and decision making
- Participation of local people in decision making,
even in development of tourism industry or in the
planning process should be in focus, using local
people NGOs could be a useful instrument

-To develop a meaningful way of promoting the
destination      to         the        market

-To be serious in standardization the process of
selecting and educating the people engaging in
Thank you very
much for your

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