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Projected Destination Image: A Visual Analysis of Seoul

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Massive development projects and tourism promotion campaigns are transforming Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea, into a global tourist city. In Seoul, tourism brochures are ubiquitous and free to the visitor and showcase certain attractions and experiences. They project a synecdochical image of the city to visitors and potential visitors using photographs. This paper describes an examination of the photographs found in tourism brochures using a visual methods content analysis. The aim is to develop an understanding of the explicit and implicit messages being conveyed in promotional photographs and to draw conclusions regarding the connection between the representation and the physical reality of the city. The analysis indicates a clear and potentially memorable destination image. However, it is unclear whether the projected destination image accurately reflects the conscious intentions of tourism planners. It is recommended that tourism marketers take a closer look at the visual destination image they project and its connotations. It is also suggested that destination image should be designed to be representative of the actual interests and experiences of residents and visitors.
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Keywords: Destination image; Han River; Seoul; photographs; representations; synecdoche; tourism brochures; visual analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: College of Hotel and Tourism Management,Kyung Hee University, Seoul City, Republic of Korea

Publication date: 2012-08-01

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