Tourism Destination's Reputation and Visitors' Affective Evaluation and Cognitive Perception Case Study: Isfahan City

Document Type : Articles extracted from Thesis


1 M.A. of Tourism Marketing, Mazandaran University, Babolsar, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Tourism Management, Mazandaran University, Babolsar, Iran

3 Associate Professor of Tourism Management, Mazandaran University, Babolsar, Iran


Extended Abstract
In recent years, brand and reputation issues have been widely discussed nationally, regionally, in local communities, and destination marketing strategies. Reputation is a component of attractiveness and encompasses the overall image of the destination. Reputation plays a vital role in tourism development. It positively affects the image of the destination, perception of the value and loyalty of tourists to a destination, and ultimately their satisfaction. The reputation of a destination plays an essential role in attracting tourists. Besides, reputation is a critical aspect in evaluating destination characteristics based on visitors' affective evaluation and cognitive perception. Isfahan has long been known as a domestic and international tourism destination. The city hosts many local and international tourists with its many potentials, including numerous historical sites and climatic and natural diversity. Previous studies show that Isfahan has not been adequately introduced to tourism markets despite having many historical and cultural attractions and does not have a perfect destination image. Paying attention to the components of Isfahan's urban reputation and identifying them based on visitors' perceptions will help better understand the preferences and needs of tourists and what they want to experience. In this regard, this study's primary purpose is to investigate the factors affecting Isfahan's reputation and the affective and cognitive assessment of the city's reputation from the perspective of two groups of people who have traveled to Isfahan or have not traveled. The presented model in this study examines the relationship between cognitive perception and affective evaluation with destination reputation and the mediating role of destination image, residents' hospitality, and local people's attitude towards tourists, which researchers in previous studies have not considered.
The indicators were collected based on previous studies and then approved by experts to design a questionnaire to measure dependent and independent variables. After assessing the questionnaire's validity by 15 tourism and marketing management professors, the designed questionnaire was distributed among 30 respondents. After reviewing and analyzing the answers, the wording of some questions was corrected, and then the final questionnaire was developed.
Its validity was calculated based on Cronbach's alpha that was obtained 0.895, which indicates the appropriate validity of the research questions. To test the designed model, questionnaires were distributed by random sampling among two groups of people who have traveled to Isfahan or not. The statistical sample of 384 people was selected based on the Cochran model. After distributing and discarding the distorted and incomplete questionnaires, 295 complete questionnaires were processed using SPSS software.
Results and discussion
This study's results helped enrich the theoretical literature in the field of reputation and management of tourism destinations. The presented model in this study examined the relationship between cognitive perception and affective evaluation with the destination's reputation and the mediating role of the destination image, the hospitality of residents, and local people's attitude towards tourists. Identifying these relationships is very important for marketers of tourism destinations so that they can continuously attract tourists. The destination's image, the hospitality of the residents, and the local people's attitude towards the tourists play a mediating role in shaping the destination's reputation. Therefore, even though tourists have a positive affective evaluation and cognitive perception; if the destination does not have a good image, its residents are not hospitable and do not have a good attitude towards tourists and these factors will probably not affect the reputation of the destination. The results showed that among the effective factors on Isfahan's reputation, the destination image affects its reputation more than other factors. There is no significant difference in the city's reputation between the attitude of people who visited Isfahan and people who have not been there before. This research showed that the reputation of the destination and the recommendation of friends and relatives are critical factors in introducing Isfahan to visitors, and media, exhibitions, and training have a minimal role in this regard. It can be said that paying attention to comfort, diversity of destination activities, security, proper infrastructure, good transportation, marketing, and promotion of cultural attractions strengthened the cognitive perception of visitors to the destination and positively enhanced its reputation, providing leisure facilities for tourists can be attractive and have a positive effect on their attitudes towards Isfahan.
Reputation is an essential factor in choosing Isfahan and encourages tourists to respect the destination and the residents. The destination's good reputation makes it more believable and reliable for tourists and affects the degree of loyalty, satisfaction, and promotion of visitors' image of the destination. This study shows that destination image, hospitality, and local community attitudes have a positive effect on reputation. The findings indicate that unique attractions and entertainment have the most significant effect on Isfahan's reputation. Pay more attention to innovation and creativity in providing products and services, gaining trust in the target market, and better management of attractions can promote the image of Isfahan. The results showed that people's cognitive perception of Isfahan's reputation was a factor in revisiting this city and directly affected people's perception of reputation. There was a high correlation between the cognitive perception and reputation of Isfahan.


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