Destination Image Change in Tourist Subgroups: Evidence from Uzbekistan: An Abstract
The study aims to make two main contributions to the destination image literature: to develop a holistic theoretical model of destination image development in tourists’ minds and to maintain a longitudinal nature to empirically validate the model. To achieve the former, the model treats previsit, post-visit and during-visit variables as a continuum. The latter is achieved by conducting previsit and post-visit survey with the same pool of respondents before and after their visits. To support the model, the study relies on theories of stage, attitude and expectancy confirmation.
Literature suggests that travel behaviour is a continuous process with intercorrelated stages (e.g. Cohen et al. 2014). The studies that investigate post-visit image change have either used different samples (Yilmaz et al. 2009) or both pre- and post-visit questionnaires simultaneously (Wang and Davidson 2010). The use of the same respondents guarantees to capture actual changes without interference of externalities (Jani and Nguni 2016).
Stage theory leads this study’s framework, which represents destination image development in a sequence of previsit, during-visit and post-visit stages. Furthermore, by making use of attitude theory, the conceptual model depicts cognitive, affective and conative components of destination image. Finally, the image after the actual experience is measured as a difference between previsit and post-visit perceptions based on expectation-confirmation theory. These three theories in this context complement each other.
Data collection site is Uzbekistan. It uses self-administered previsit and post-visit questionnaires. The previsit questionnaire includes questions on cognitive, affective and overall image, information sources, motivations, socio-demographic characteristics and screening questions on first-time leisure tourists. The post-visit questionnaire repeats destination image questions and in addition contains questions on service quality, perceived value, satisfaction and future behavioural and perceived cultural differences. Likert-type and semantic differential scales have been used.
The survey will be conducted with the help of tour operators. The piloting process revealed this method as the best to overcome difficulties as majority of tourists travel to Uzbekistan through prepurchased tours. The previsit questionnaire will be completed by the tourists right after their arrival to the destination, while post-visit questionnaire will be completed before their departure.
References Available Upon Request