Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

Congruency between the Projected and Perceived Tourism Destination Image of Vietnam

Academic journal article Journal of International Business Research

Congruency between the Projected and Perceived Tourism Destination Image of Vietnam

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Since the last decade, the tourism industry has given great opportunities to emerging markets like Vietnam to grow remarkably. Vietnam has been still an attractive tourism destination for Chinese, Japanese, Korean, European and American visitors, even during the global economic crisis period. Signs of recovery are observed with an increase of the number of foreign visitors by 34.8% (more than 5 million visitors) in 2010 in comparison with the figures shown in 2009. However, the country has been facing competition from its ASEAN neighboring countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia which have developed a strong tourism destination image for years. This research work explores the destination image attributes perceived by foreign visitors on one hand and examines the government's projected image of Vietnam on the other hand. The qualitative study on the level of congruence between destination image projected by the tourism public sector and the image perceived by international tourists will help Vietnam as a tourism destination attract more and more visitors in order to improve significantly tourism growth as supported by the literature about destination image (Cai, 2002; Roerte, 2009; Le, Cooper, 2009).

INTRODUCTION

Since the early 1990s, Vietnam has experienced a new start of tourism development. The country has been gradually building up its destination image and witnessing growing popularity of tourism attraction. Recently, the quick economic recovery in Vietnam with annual economic growth rate of 6.78% in 2010 against 5.30% in 2009 has been also the key driver for boosting a new wave of international arrivals. In 2010, Vietnam hosted more than 3 million international tourists out of 5 million arrivals, a good sign for the tourism industry after the global recession (Figure 1). It generates a turnover of VND billion 96, 000 (equivalent to USD billion 4).

Relied on potential resources and experiences of the tourism industry, the Vietnamese authorities plan optimistically to host 7-8 million international tourists and to generate around USD billion 10, contributing to 5.5%-6% to GDP in 2015. Its key traditional inbound markets are Asian, especially Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, Australian, American and European. Recently, Russian tourists emerge as very potential markets for Vietnam (Figure 2).

Despite of increasing popularity of Vietnam as a tourist destination, the country has been facing fierce competition from its ASEAN neighboring markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia which have developed their strong tourism destination image for years. Therefore, in order to attain its tourism five-year plan objective, Vietnam need to build a strong destination image compared with its Asian competitors that influences on destination decision making of international visitors (Crompton, 1979; Echtner, Ritchie, 1993; Buhalis, 2000; Freiré, 2002; Hall, 2002; Kotler, Gertrude, 2002; Lodge, 2002; Pike, 2008; Frochot, Kreziak, 2008; Le, Cooper, 2009). As a destination image is composed of the perceived and projected image, incongruities between the perceived and projected image might weaken marketing efforts of destination marketers to target and position markets (Cai, 2002).

This paper aims to identify relevant destination image attributes of Vietnam, both on the visitors' perspective and on the government's perspective. It also analyzes the level of congruency between the projected and perceived tourism destination image of Vietnam. The congruency of destination image anticipated by the tourism public sector with the image perceived by tourists will help Vietnam as a tourism destination attract more and more visitors in order to improve significantly tourism growth as supported by the literature about destination image (Cai, 2002, Koerte, 2009; Prebezac, Mikulic, 2009; Le, Cooper, 2009).

RESEARCH ON TOURIST DESTINATION IMAGE

Conceptualization of tourism destination image

Concepts

Destination image is defined generally a sum of beliefs, ideas and impressions that people have of a particular tourism destination (Crompton, 1979). …

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