This research empirically tested a tourism behaviour model explaining tourists' intentions to vacation for the first time in selected countries extending image research by Baloglu and McCleary [(1999). U.S. international pleasure travelers' images of four Mediterranean destinations: A comparison of visitors and nonvisitors. Journal of Travel Research, 38(2), 144-152; A model of destination image formation. Annals of Tourism Research, 26(4), 868-897] and more recently Kaplanidou and Vogt [(2007). The interrelationship between sport event and destination image and sport tourists' behaviors. Journal of Sport & Tourism, 12(3-4), 183-206]. Key factors that remain untested in modelling international travel propensity were identified as: information sources, cognitive and affective destination image, and perceived risk. On-site surveys were conducted in two US metropolitan areas with a purposive convenience sample. Data were analysed with structural equation modelling for three destination countries (China, Japan, and South Korea) so that positioning strategies were illustrated through empirical evidence. Modelling results supported previous research showing that stronger positive cognitive and affective destination images and lower perceived risks for vacationing in a destination positively influenced intentions to travel to the countries of interest. Of greater interest are findings on information usage influencing cognitively held images, particularly cultural experiences, but information use was found not to directly influence the affective component of image. Intent to travel to each of the three countries was heightened by different factors - for China it was affective image, for Japan cognitive image, and South Korea a reduction in perceived risks. Destination marketers can use this model to understand the use of information sources, in general or specific types, to influence cognitive images held and perceived risks associated with a foreign country, and to ultimately modify affective image and intent to visit a destination for the potential first-time visitors.
- Destination attributes
- Destination image
- Social psychology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management