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Does one culture all think the same? An investigation of destination image perceptions from several origins

Glenn McCartney (Assistant Professor in the Faculty of International Tourism, Macao University of Science & Technology, Macao SAR, China)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 24 October 2008




The purpose of this paper is primarily to examine the impact of cultural background on image formation by looking at Macao's regional tourism destination image perceptions by its main tourist markets of China (PRC), Hong Kong and Taiwan. Other image formation components are explored within this context, such as the impact of travel behaviors, travel motives and sources of information on Macao's image.


A face‐to‐face survey (random sampling) was conducted in the departure areas of the international airports in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Taiwan (Kaohsiung). This uncovered perceptions of actual visitors and potential visitors to Macao, and allowed for only those with the ability to travel to be interviewed.


Multivariate analysis conducted on the data revealed significant differences between the Chinese travelers from the various cities on leading image perception attributes, travel behaviors, travel motives and influences of sources of information.

Research limitations/implications

Cultural background, while recognized in the image research as an important component in destination image formation, has been rarely examined in tourism destination image studies with research conducted on one nationality or group of people based on specific demographic indicators (such as student, leisure or business traveler). The research reveals important implications for the successful positioning and branding of a destination targeting at various markets even within one nation or culture, and questioning overall effectiveness of future image research that proposes national marketing and promotional strategy based on one source group.


As competition continues to intensify within cities and regions for domestic and international travel, the paper shows that there is a need to design tailored marketing, promotion and public relations programs in order to optimize influence on specific travel segments.



McCartney, G. (2008), "Does one culture all think the same? An investigation of destination image perceptions from several origins", Tourism Review, Vol. 63 No. 4, pp. 13-26.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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