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  • Perceptions of International Tourism Destinations

    by

    Nichole Hugo

    A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment

    of the Requirements for the Degree

    Doctor of Philosophy

    Approved July 2014 by the

    Graduate Supervisory Committee:

    Gyan Nyaupane, Chair

    Rich Harrill

    Christine Buzinde

    Kathleen Andereck

    ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY

    August 2014

  • i

    ABSTRACT

    Destination image has been explored by studying various aspects of the process of

    forming a perception about an area and choosing to visit or not. This study uses a variety of

    theories from previous research which has focused on subsets of factors which influence the

    overall process to create a model to organize the perception formation and decision making

    progress into one continuous and interrelated progression. Online questionnaires using Likert

    scale statements and questions were distributed to participants through Facebook in order to

    measure and test the model. A total of 266 questionnaires were completed and analyzed using t

    test, ANOVA, regression, factor analysis, and cluster analysis. The original model from the

    beginning of the study transformed with the removal of some variables and the alteration of

    others. The factors that were shown to influence perception of the destination were tourist type

    and knowledge of the country. Tourists who were more likely to seek new environments and had

    a higher level of knowledge of the country used in the marketing video had a better perception of

    the destination before and after the video. Obstacles for deciding to visit the destination were

    found to be long distances traveling and substitution of alternative destinations. The results show

    that marketing videos do create a positive change in the perception of the destination, but this

    alone is not likely enough to influence the decision to visit the destination. Marketing agencies

    should consider more ways of informing consumers of the destination in addition to commercials

    so that overall knowledge of the area can be improved. In addition, marketing agencies should

    target consumers that are interested in visiting new environments by using travel magazine

    subscriptions, international airline agencies and hotels, and social media groups.

  • ii

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Gyan Nyaupane, for assisting, pushing, and

    encouraging me to complete research in an area that I found to be interesting and at times

    overwhelming. I am very grateful for all of the guidance and support that I received for this

    research, other projects, and the overall competition of my PhD.

    It would like to express my gratitude to my committee members, Dr. Kathleen Andereck,

    Dr. Christine Buzinde, and Dr. Richard Harrill. I appreciated the direction and supervision that

    they provided during my dissertation process. It was a pleasure working with each of them as

    they helped in advancing my understanding and outlook on my topic.

    I am grateful to my friends and family that have supported me in this process and have

    put up with my complaining as I worked on revisions of drafts, studied for exams, and

    desperately tried to find people to complete my questionnaires. There are far too many to name

    each individually, but their support and encouragement has been very motivating. One in

    particular that did help with getting my mind off of work when I was having ideas continuously

    fly through my head would be my brother, Robbie. I am thankful for his ability to distract me

    from my topic so that I was able to go back to my research with a refreshed mentality.

    Finally, I would like to thank my parents for not only encouraging me to get through this

    program, but also helping me with aspects of daily life so that I could focus primarily on my

    school work. I am very grateful for the help from my mom and dad that has allowed me to

    complete my degree quickly and move on to a new and exciting chapter in my life.

  • iii

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Page

    LIST OF TABLES ...............................................................................................................v

    LIST OF FIGURES .......................................................................................................... vii

    CHAPTER

    1 INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................................1

    Research Questions and Hypotheses ......................................................................4

    2 LITERATURE REVIEW ...........................................................................................7

    Previous Studies .....................................................................................................7

    Theoretical Background .......................................................................................10

    Issues and Conflicts with Destination Image .......................................................26

    3 RESEARCH METHOD............................................................................................28

    Study Destination Selection .................................................................................28

    Strategy of Inquiry ................................................................................................34

    Research Design ...................................................................................................36

    Previous Approaches to Destination Image .........................................................37

    Data Collection Procedure ....................................................................................39

    Data Collected ......................................................................................................45

    4 RESULTS .................................................................................................................48

    Demographic Characteristics of the Sample ........................................................49

    Travel Characteristics of the Sample ....................................................................52

    Knowledge Gained Before Video ........................................................................55

    Choice to Visit the Country being Promoted .......................................................57

  • iv

    CHAPTER Page

    Results for Research Question 1 ..........................................................................59

    Results for Research Question 2 ..........................................................................77

    5 DISCUSSION ...........................................................................................................80

    Research Questions and Hypotheses ....................................................................80

    Theoretical Implications .......................................................................................92

    Practical Implications ...........................................................................................94

    Methodological Contributions ..............................................................................96

    6 CONCLUSIONS.......................................................................................................98

    Limitations ..........................................................................................................100

    Future Research ..................................................................................................100

    REFERENCES ................................................................................................................103

    APPENDIX

    A INSTRUMENT COVER PAGE ............................................................................112

    B SURVEY INSTRUMENT .....................................................................................114

  • v

    LIST OF TABLES

    Table Page

    1. Perceptions of Countries and Peaceful Rating ...............................................................30

    2. Sociodemographic Profile of the Sample ......................................................................49

    3. State Lived In .................................................................................................................51

    4. Number of International Trips in a Lifetime..................................................................52

    5. Year of Most Recent International Trip .........................................................................52

    6. International Travel ........................................................................................................53

    7. Type of Travel Preferred ................................................................................................54

    8. Traveled to the Country Before .....................................................................................54

    9. Number o