DESTINATION IMAGE PERCEPTION OF INTERNATIONAL TOURISTS: THE CASE OF SRI LANKA AS A TOURIST DESTINATION
Tourism is considered as a growing industry in Sri Lanka and constitutes a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product. However, with the high competition among destinations worldwide, the image held by travelers on a specific tourist destination is of high influencer to select alternative tourist destinations. Despite the importance of positive images for destinations, more recent literature acknowledges that there is a dearth of research on the influence of nationality on interpretations of destination imagery. Therefore, this study is designed to address the research question of whether the nationality a tourist has any significant impact on the perception they hold on Sri Lanka as a tourist destination. The major objectives are to assess the nature of image perception (IP) of tourists in Sri Lanka and to examine whether image perception varies in terms of the country of the tourist. A single cross sectional research design is employed to collect data through a self administered questionnaire. The unit of analysis and the proxies are the international tourists to Sri Lanka. A sample of 223 international tourists, who came to Sri Lanka during April and May, 2014 has been selected. One way ANOVA was performed to examine the differences among the perceptual evaluation of tourists on the destination image. The analysis shows that the destination image perception varies according to the nationality of the tourists. The implication of this research can be used to develop the tourist marketing mix to suit the image perception of tourists.
Key words: Destination, Image perception, International Tourists, Nationality
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Faculty of Management Studies & Commerce