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The role of image in the promotion of a region as a visitor destination.

Finlay, Gillian C.


Gillian C. Finlay


Michael Robinson

Justin Greenwood


This research examines the role of image in the promotion of a geographical region as a visitor destination. The inter-relationship between tourism and image was focused upon from both the potential visitor's perspective and the viewpoint of the promoter. Using the Grampian region in the North East of Scotland as a case study, visitors and non-visitors to the area were surveyed to ascertain their image of Grampian, how that image was formed and the perceived role of image in destination selection. Although the importance of non-visitors to a destination has previously been recognised, an appropriate methodology has not been developed by other researchers. The significance of image to the promoters of a destination was examined through interviews with members of the industry, analysis of brochures and of policy documents. This revealed a significant lack of co-ordination throughout the industry which hindered effective image promotion. The empirical research was considered against a number of theoretical perspectives, which have been developed to assess tourist motivations and destination selection, but which have previously provided little or no weighting to the role of image. A conceptual framework for the decision-making process of destination selection was developed through the case study. The research suggests that the possession of a clear image is the most significant factor in destination selection due to its inseparable link with other factors, such as past experience of a potential destination and experiences of other destinations. By identifying the significance of experience on image formation, the importance of image promotion is also highlighted. However, there is a lack of significance attached to image in the promotion of a destination, mainly due to problems associated with effectiveness measurement. The research also highlights the problems of developing a promotional image for geographically and economically diverse regions and raises questions regarding the unit areas presently used in the promotion of Scotland.


FINLAY, G.C. 1998. The role of image in the promotion of a region as a visitor destination. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis. Hosted on OpenAIR [online]. Available from:

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jun 21, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jun 21, 2022
Keywords Regional tourism; Tourism; Place-making
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