THE IMPACT OF DESTINATION IMAGE ON TOURIST SATISFACTION, AND DESTINATION LOYALTY: A CASE OF FORBIDDEN CITY. A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT
Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Research Background
Tourist destinations with better diverse attractions have become more important than individual attractions due to better highways over the past few years in China. Destination image, tourist satisfaction and destination loyalty are vital factors which are used to explain visitor motivation or their intention to revisit a tourist destination (Chi and Qu, 2008). Tourist satisfaction is a post consumption assessment of the service received and is entirely dependent on destination image. As the number of areas developed for tourism increase, the choice of destinations available to consumers’ drastically expands. Furthermore, today’s tourists, encouraged by increased time devoted for leisure, increasing disposable income, and highly efficient transport networks, have ability and capacity to choose from various destinations available to them. As such, tourism marketing faces issues of influencing the consumer decisions in an ever increasing complex and competitive market place (Alexandris, Kouthhouris, and Meligidis, 2006).
One of the most striking challenges in tourism marketing is a need to effectively position a destination. To successfully encourage tourism in the targeted market, destination should be differentiated from its competitors, or otherwise positively positioned in consumers’ minds (Ekinci, and Hosany, 2006). A key strategic component in this instance is creation and enhancement of distinct, unique and appealing perception, or image, of that particular destination (Pike, 2002).
Prayang, (2008) posits that there exist negative and positive associations with a destination, its products, people, which are somewhat difficult to be altered. Destination images affect tourists travel decisions and behavior towards that destination as well as the level of satisfaction, recollection and the tourism experience (Naidoo, Ramseook and Ladsawut, 2010). Therefore, perceived images of the destination forms a backbone of evaluation and selection process and thus gives a link between motivation and destination selection (O’Leary and Deagan, 2003).
To understand the diversity of perceptions, images, and level of satisfaction vis-a-vis motivation towards a destination is pivotal in the understanding and prediction of tourism demand and its effects on local tourism destination. Simply put, the understanding of destination image and consumers’ perception is important to a destination and acts as a basis of more efficient and effective future strategic planning and decision making.