Visitor and Resident Images of Qingdao, China as a Tourism Destination
Because the role of tourism in stimulating economic development is recognized by governments of many countries (Sinclair, 1998), tourism destinations have proliferated worldwide in the past few decades. This has resulted in intensified competition among destinations for visitors (Page & Connell, 2006). In response, marketers have put great effort into developing effective marketing strategies to enhance the competitiveness of their places. A primary strategy adopted by municipal governments in many countries is to promote an appealing destination image to inform the potential consumers about the destination. The underlying rationale is that individuals’ images of a destination have a significant influence on their travel choices (Page & Connell; Tasci & Gartner, 2007). If an individual has a strong and positive image about a destination, he or she is more likely to consider and choose this destination when making travel decisions (Andreu, Bigne, & Cooper, 2000). Consequently, adequately understanding the destination images that potential consumers hold is critical for a successful place marketing (Baloglu & McCleary, 1999).