Effects of Food Image on Tourists’ Destination Image and Visit Intention
In Korea, recent trends brand destinations using their regional food, realizing that food reflects a country’s culture and its people. However, theoretical concepts and research are lacking to explain how food images work in branding destination and what their effects are. Therefore, the primary goal of this study is to identify the attributes and impacts of Korean food image on potential tourists’ attitudes and intentions when they visit a destination. The proposed model will test the relationships among destination’s food image, destination image, and tourists’ visit intention. The results of this study will develop theoretical bases for food tourism, showing how regional food contributes to tourism and adds competitiveness to a destination. Also, it will encourage managerial efforts to focus on using food as a branding tool and a benefit for marketers in terms of brand differentiation.
Keywords: food image, destination image, visit intention, Korean food, branding.
As competition has grown among destinations, academics and government officials have focused on branding destinations through positive image building. Just as marketers select consistent brand elements for product identification, unique features are emphasized from a destination’s architecture, culture, food, festivals, history, and natural resources to create desirable perceptions. Recent trend in brand destinations is using regional food, realizing that food reflects a country’s culture and its people. For instance, at the beginning of 2010, the Korean government launched a professional organization to promote its food and announced they are willing to spend more than $90 million on several projects to enhance tourism awareness through food.
Although food is significant in destination branding, supporting theories and experimental studies do not adequately explain the current phenomenon. The most frequently researched topic in destination branding concerns the influence of destination image on travelers’ satisfaction and their buying behavior (Gartner & Tasci, 2007). Theoretical concepts and research are lacking to explain how food images work in branding destination and what their effects are.
Therefore, the primary goal of this study is to identify the attributes and impacts of Korean food image on potential tourists’ attitudes and intentions when they visit a destination. LITERATURE REIVEW
Destination image is an attitudinal concept consisting of the sum of beliefs, ideas, and impressions that a tourist holds of a destination (Crompton, 1979). Reynolds (1965) defines the formation of image as the development of a mental construct based upon a few impressions chosen from a flood of information. Kim and Yoon (2003) suggested affective attributes of a destination image are exotic atmosphere, scenic beauty, climate, recommendations, and availability of travel information. And cognitive attributes are consisted of personal safety, good restaurants, suitable accommodations, friendly people, and unique architecture.
The major role of destination image is to influence tourists’ visit intentions toward a destination (Tapachai & Waryszak, 2000; Kim & Richardson, 2003; Beerli & Martin, 2004; Chen
& Tsai, 2007). A theory of Fishbein and Ajzen(1975) that consumers’ behavior can be predicted by their attitude has been the most frequently used to explain the correlation between destination images and destination decision choice.
Several studies has shown the significance of food as a determinant of attitudes toward the destination. It has been proved that food is one of the components of destination image (Quan
& Wang, 2004). Hu and Ritichie (1986) mentioned food is the fourth most important attribute in...
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