Destination familiarity and favorability in a country-image contextexamining Taiwanese travelers’ perceptions of China
Building on international marketing research on the country-of-origin image effect, this research examines how people evaluate a culturally familiar country as a tourist destination. Derived from a sample of 710 Taiwanese travelers, research findings showed that when evaluating China as a tourist destination, respondents relied on both their general image of the country (country image) as well as tourism-specific perceptions (destination beliefs), while a few respondents with low familiarity with China relied only on their general image of the country to evaluate the destination. The research also showed that respondents with high levels of familiarity with China had more positive destination beliefs, resulting in more favorable destination evaluations; however, country image was found to be persistent and difficult to be changed by destination promoting materials and/or actual visits. The paper concludes with recommendations for destination marketing in the context of international tourism.