Residents and Community Interpretation of, and Participation in Socio-cultural Awareness Activities of Tourism Environmental Conservation in Langkawi
Faculty of Management Sciences and Muamalat, Universiti Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah
Azila Azmi, Nor Asmalina Mohd Anuar
Faculty of Hotel and Tourism Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA
Langkawi is predominantly made up of Malays who are Muslims. However, there is a small percentage of Buddhists, Hindus, and Christians on the island. In Malaysia, Islam is constitutionally the official religion, with the freedom to practice other religions enshrined. It has played an important cultural role and influence the way Malaysians think. The main principle of any religion is to maintain harmony in peoples’ minds and between people in society. Consequently, avoidance of conflict through social confrontation becomes a significant value. Social Exchange Theory is supported by much research evidence suggesting the usefulness of the exchange system for the evaluation of tourism impacts. But no researcher has taken the cultural background of host residents into account when discussing awareness of tourism environmental conservation efforts. Langkawi is a tropical rainforest island, a Geopark, becoming an international tourism island that still maintains a laid-back island lifestyle; an openhearted multicultural community in the northwestern of Malaysia; was set as a case study of this research. A constructivist paradigm with a semi-structured interview method was adopted. This research explores an overview of Malaysian culture which is necessary to interpret the residents and community social construct of the socio-cultural awareness of tourism in environmental conservation and allows the focus to move away from a purely tourism-centric sociocultural interpretation, leading to a better understanding of residents and community responses to the awareness of tourism environmental conservation efforts in the context of Malaysia.
Keywords: Residents and community, Socio-cultural awareness, Social Exchange Theory, Tourism environmental conservation, Langkawi