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The Role of Media Channels in Developing Destination Image

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Impact of Television on Destination Image

There are several ways in which a destination image can be viewed on TV. It can be viewed in a movie or TV advertisement. It can also be seen on news casts. All in all, these viewings can alter the viewer’s perception of a particular place or destination image. Nowadays, movies and TV series are shot in exceedingly vast locations, news reports span a wider geographical area. Even documentaries are becoming more versatile and interesting. Tourists are now able to have visual access to countless destinations just by sitting in front of a television set.

Television in particular produces low personal involvement because the rate of viewing and understanding is beyond the viewer’s control. Instead, television is generally a non-selective medium that reaches out to a large audience. Television offers sight, sound, motion, and color, and has the indiscreet power to literally force itself onto viewers (Nylen, 1986; Kim, D. Hwang, Y. & Fesenmaier, D. 2005).

The impact of films on people’s image-formation has been widely recognized (Butler, 1990; Riley and van Doren, 1992; Gartner, 1993; Schofield, 1996; Iwashita, 2003; Kim and Richardson, 2003). “Films are not generally produced with the intent to attract tourists to a destination, but tend to influence viewers indirectly as the background part of the movie’s message” (Butler, 1990). This is because they can provide viewing for millions of viewers with considerable information about a destination, create an image for the first time, or change an already existing image in a relatively short timeframe (Hahm et al., 2008). For a destination, the publicity generated by a blockbuster and by famous actors can be remarkable. Researchers have already stated that films are more likely to reach wider audiences with less investment than specifically targeted tourism advertisements and promotion (Dore & Crouch, 2003). As a result, film-induced tourism or “film tourism”, as it is sometimes referred to, can be a very effective marketing tool for destinations that require financial backing for strong advertising campaigns, especially at a time of economic recession (Hudson, S., Wang, Y. & Gil, S. 2010).

“Movies have been found to influence both travel behavior and image perceptions. These effects can be positive, such as with the classic movie the Wizard of Oz, which travelers positively responded to in their perception of Kansas (Hsu, Wolfe, & Kang, 2004; Mccartney, G., Butler, R. & Bennett, M. 2008). It has been supported that merging the visual representation of a setting with audio cues such as music can produce a landscape to express something that cannot be otherwise expressed.

Research on sensorial marketing stating that using distinct sensory cues such as visuals, can yield positive image perception in consumers, where it clearly provides a competitive edge to a destination against its competitors, especially in the retail context (Aziz et al., 2012). As such, research pinpoints the influence of music on consumers’ evaluation of products and positive behavioral intention (Grewal et al., 2003). Although the value of stimulating the consumer’s senses has been recognized in consumer behavior for a long time, despite the convenience of using TV series as “changing potential tourists’ perceptions by stimulating their audial or visual senses has remained limited in the tourism discipline. .(Akarsu, T.N., Foroudi, P., & Melewar, TC. 2019).

A UK survey uncovered that 8 out of 10 British get ideas for their holiday destinations from films, and 1 in 5 will actually make the “pilgrimage” (Beeton, 2005, p. 34) to the shooting location of their favorite film (‘Movies’, 2004). Another recent study found that after family, friends, and the internet, TV shows and films were the next main influencer in the decision to travel to a particular destination. The survey found that “13% of people initially become interested in a country after seeing the destination on television or film”. (Hudson, S., Wang, Y. & Gil, S. 2010).

A new design was approved where a film was used as a treatment to experiment its impacts by conducting before-and-after surveys. “The film chosen for this experiment was the Motorcycle Diaries, described as a love story in the form of a travelogue” (Scott, 2004). In the film, Che Guevara and Alberto Granado, Guevara’s colleague, tour through Latin America on motorcycles, covering about 5000 miles. Their trip covered Buenos Aires, Argentina, through Patagonia and into Chile, north along the Andes to Machu Picchu, and finally to the Guajira Peninsula in

Venezuela. The movie was filmed over a 16-week period, in sequence, and primarily at the real locations of their journey across the continent. The film was chosen because it can be viewed in both Spanish and English, therefore allowing a multicultural perspective, and according to tourism specialists, was “a fantastic showcase for South America” (R. Skipsey, personal communication, 2006). A number of tour operators took advantage of the film to showcase the region to their customers. British film Journey Latin America, for example, offered a three-week attended “Motorcycle Diaries tour” from Buenos Aires to Lima. The company also had customized trips to any of the locations along the protagonists’ route, capitalizing on the role of the film in booming the tourism frequency that ensued. (Hudson, S., Wang, Y. & Gil, S. 2010).

Another remarkable story was Lord of the Rings, a clear example of the importance of using visual stimuli in film. This was also known to make a great leap by attracting multinational tourists to New Zealand, particularly of course, the destinations in which the films were shot (Jones & Smith, 2005; Shakeela & Weaver, 2013). According to Connell (2012), “the practitioners’ success stories are not limited with these cases where Notting Hill (Busby & Klug, 2001), Downton Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice (Sargent, 1998) are other prominent examples of how audial and visual cues can influence the destination image and behavioral outcome of potential tourists (Akarsu, T.N., Foroudi, P., & Melewar, TC. 2019).

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Media channels, particularly the news, because of the high credibility and market penetration they hold, may be the only agents of image formation which are able to change an area’s image dramatically in a short period of time (Gartner, 1994). It is well recognized that through a large variety of media, the audience receives information about tourist destinations, gain awareness and knowledge about these destinations and construct their individual images, which then form the basis for their destination decisions (Mercille, 2005; Khodadadi, M.2012).

If a tourist has a positive attitude towards a particular destination, the potential to actually make a purchasing decision is higher. If a tourist appreciates or values an advertisement, the propensity of purchasing the product increases. The tendencies for decision making and action are the motivational aspect of the attitude. Therefore, if a person feels strongly enough about a specific destination, hey may buy extra copies of the media channel (the magazine or newspaper, for instance) for their friends and family. In marketing, newspaper and magazine adverts often appeal first to the feelings and emotions of tourists. The goal is to get a tourist to appreciate and value a product, then make the purchase (Clow & Baack, 2004; Kotzé, F.C. 2005)

Impact of Radio on Destination Image

A study has shown that radio programs can elaborate the type of the services available in tourist sites, as well as the amenities offered to the tourists. The study also showed that there could be behavioral effects, represented by influencing people’s behaviors during those tourism activities, and increasing the demand for visiting some tourist destinations (Alhmedat, 2013; Al-Khasawneh, N., Al-Hrout, S.& Ibrahim, H. 2018). In 1993, $6.6 million were spent on radio-prompted travel and tourism advertising, therefore making it the sixth largest category of advertising (Bennett, M. & Seaton, A. 1996).

Radio has many qualities, one of which is immediacy since many radio adverts can be produced in mere hours and broadcast that very day. Radio airing requires radio commercials, singing commercials, or jingle commercials in the shape of pre-recorded messages that can be broadcast by the station (Yapparova, N. 2013). “Radio plays a key role in shaping the public mind and relationships among countries or political populations” (Hamidizadeh, M., Cheh, M.,Moghadam, A.& Salimipour, S. 2016).

Another quality of radio advertising is that it can also be used to develop destination images. However, due to lack of visual imagery, its main use is to distribute information rather than constructing an elaborate mental picture, therefore resulting in increased awareness. Due to radio’s lack of range, it is generally used to develop local area images or support special and seasonal promotional programs (Bennett, M. & Seaton, A. 1996).

Impact of Newspapers on Destination Image

Research has confirmed that advertising that is placed in a more trustworthy medium, such as a newspaper, is perceived as more informative, credible, and reliable. Whereas advertising placed in less credible media like TV is likely to be less informative (Bauer and Greyser, 1968; Larkin, 1979; Kim, D. Hwang, Y. & Fesenmaier, D. 2005).

Researchers Robertson and Rogers (2009) defined newspapers as an important medium in tourists’ decision-making process. There were many earlier studies that newspapers had what is known as a carryover effect (Clarke, 1976; Givon & Horsky, 1990; Herrington & Dempsey, 2005; Tull, 1965). According to the research of Kim, Lee, Mjelde, and Lee (2014) concerning the carryover effect, for instance, newspaper reports had a positive yield on attendance with this media effect rising for the first four days after publication. Through information collection processes, potential tourists were then able to resolve any doubts and therefore improve the overall quality of their trip (Fodness & Murray, 1997; Park, J. 2015).

Making newspapers reader-friendly is the “single highest potential area for growing readership”, an institute research paper states. Shockingly, according to the paper, ease of interpretation does not revolve around design or placement of articles (Clow & Baack, 2004), nor do factors such as graphics and color relate numerically to ease of reading. Alternatively, readers want such things as more practical “go and do” information in stories, including phone numbers, dates, addresses, working hours, and website information. Nowadays, this should be considered as good news for the contemporary tourism industry (Kotzé, F.C. 2005).

A great percentage of printable advertisements for travel products and services appears in newspapers and magazines. Naturally, they comprise about half of all travel and tourism advertising expenditure. Around 75% of the people in the United States read a newspaper on a daily basis. Based on the fact that newspapers appeal to such a large audience, they are initially important opportunities for travel suppliers to exploit. Major local and international travel suppliers, such as car rental agencies and airlines, advertise habitually in major daily newspapers, with over one million distributions in surplus (Burke & Resnick, 2000; Kotzé, F.C. 2005).

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The Role of Media Channels in Developing Destination Image. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2023, from
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The Role of Media Channels in Developing Destination Image. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 30 May 2023].
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