Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

South Korea's Destination Image: Comparing Perceptions of Film and Nonfilm Chinese Tourists

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

South Korea's Destination Image: Comparing Perceptions of Film and Nonfilm Chinese Tourists

Article excerpt

Korean television dramas and movies are popular in Asian countries and have influenced the development of the Republic of Korea (hereafter referred to as South Korea) as an international film-induced tourism destination (Su, Huang, Brodowsky, & Kim, 2011). In China, the popularity of the Korean television drama series, My Love from the Stars, which was broadcast at the beginning of 2014, had a variety of economic and sociocultural impacts (Tang, 2014). For example, an increasing number of Chinese people now enjoy tasting Korean food, following Korean fashion, learning the Korean language, and visiting South Korea as part of a film pilgrimage (Tang, 2014). Successful Korean television dramas act as a favorable force to stimulate the growth of the Korean tourism industry and play a major role in building Korea's image as a tourist destination (Rittichainuwat & Rattanaphinanchai, 2015).

With China's enhanced influence in the international arena and swift economic development, the demand of people in China for outbound travel is expected to increase gradually; conversely, China has also become one of the largest tourism markets for South Koreans (Cai, Li, & Knutson, 2008). In 2014, over 6 million Chinese tourists visited South Korea, representing 43.1% of foreign tourists in that country. Moreover, the number of Chinese tourists as a percentage of inbound tourists to Korea dramatically increased by 327% between 2010 and 2014 (Korea Tourism Organization, 2014). Therefore, it is necessary for destination marketers to identify Chinese tourists' preferences for tourism destinations and to establish a strategic positioning plan for their destinations accordingly (Kim, Guo, & Agrusa, 2005). Hence, our main purpose in this study was to explore the destination image of South Korea for Chinese tourists and to compare the differences between tourists making a film pilgrimage and those who are going there for other reasons.

Literature Review

Film-Induced Tourism

The term film-induced tourism is a relatively new concept in tourism research (Kim & Wang, 2012). According to previous studies, film-induced tourism-also called film tourism or screen tourism-refers to the situation of tourists visiting sites where movies and television programs have been filmed, as well as going on tours to production studios, visiting film-related theme parks, attending film premiers, award ceremonies, film festivals, and engaging in celebrity spotting (Beeton, 2005). Researchers have shown that a growing number of tourists visit sites that have appeared in films or television dramas (Croy, 2011). Indeed, Connell (2005) found that film and television shows are perceived as having a more reliable and trustworthy role in influencing destination images than do other mass media, such as advertisements or other promotions, because the portrayal of the locations on film or television may reflect the destinations more accurately than do advertisements or promotions, which may contain exaggerations about the desirability of the locality as a place for tourists to visit.

Tourists can be categorized into two groups: film tourists and nonfilm tourists. Nonfilm tourists are those visitors whose choice of destination is not affected by film or television programs (Rittichainuwat & Rattanaphinanchai, 2015; Young & Young, 2008). In order to compare the differences between Chinese film and nonfilm tourists, in the current study we used these definitions to classify Chinese travelling to South Korea and conduct an examination of the perceptions of these two groups in terms of South Korea as a tourist destination.

Destination Image

Image is generally defined as a mental or attitudinal construct developed on the basis of a few selected impressions from among the flood of total impressions, through a creative process in which those selected are elaborated, embellished, and ordered (Fakeye & Crompton, 1991). Tasci and Gartner (2007) suggested that "destination image is an interactive system of thoughts, opinions, feelings, visualizations, and intentions toward a destination" (p. …

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