The Impact of Country Attributes on Country Images

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THE IMPACT OF COUNTRY ATTRIBUTES ON STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM AND TOURISM DESTINATION PURCHASING DECISIONS ABSTRACT Place branding has become a very competitive arena. Despite the interest of researchers and practitioners, the segment of study abroad programs has received limited attention in the literature review. According to the 2008 Global Directions in Language Travel report, in 2008, in the language studies abroad travel market, more than 1.3 million students studied languages abroad. This limited attention is surprising, given that more and more students are studying abroad. Thus, the objective of this study is to investigate which country attributes are considered relevant when students choose a place for study. In addition, the…show more content…
47). The challenge is so great and the stakes so high that governments need to work in concern with business interests and academic researchers to maximize the chances for success. Gertner and Kotler (2004) investigated how notions about a place are formed in the consumer’s mind. The authors affirm: “Country images, or knowledge structures related to places, or place schemata, are commonly used as short-cuts for information processing and consumer decision heuristics” (Kotler & Gertner, 2002, p. 251). Govers and Go (2003) argue that the image of a tourist destination is composed of distinct attributes; it is these that tourists consider while evaluating a destination. More than 80% of the destination image studies conducted from 1973 to 2000 used lists of attributes, in structured questionnaires, to operationalize destination image (Pike, 2003). In general, scholars believe that people’s image toward a destination is the result of a combination of particular beliefs or attributes. Thus, scholars have tried to conceptualize destination branding with more accuracy by using structured and unstructured research methods to measure destination image. Unstructured research methods include the use of photos and/or open-ended questions, while structured methods used self-response questionnaires with lists of destination attributes. Two types of attributes surfaced in earlier studies about destination image: those that were generally

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