Tourism and social capital in Malaysia

Paolo Mura*, Rokhshad Tavakoli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the relationship between social capital and tourism in Malaysia. Social capital is a concept that has received particular attention within the social sciences. Despite this, scholars have relatively neglected whether and how tourism contributes to enhance levels of social capital. This is particularly true if non-Western societies, such as Malaysia, are referred to. Malaysia is a plural society that consists of three main ethnic groups, namely Malays, Chinese, and Indians. Considering the country's diverse socio-cultural fabric, social capital is a highly debated topic in Malaysia. Yet, there exists a paucity of data on how specific social practices, such as tourism, strengthen social relationships within Malaysian society. In an attempt to fill this gap, in-depth interviews were conducted with 22 Malaysians from the three main ethnic groups. The findings reveal that tourism is an experience that creates and strengthens social relationships among people irrespective of ethnic background. Overall, this article's contribution to our knowledge is twofold. First, the work on which this article is based contributes to the ongoing debate concerning the nature and meaning of tourism and post-tourism experiences. Second, it provides empirical material on non-Western tourists, who have been relatively neglected by tourism scholars.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-45
Number of pages18
JournalCurrent Issues in Tourism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Malaysia
  • post-tourism experience
  • social capital
  • tourism experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Tourism and social capital in Malaysia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this