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Exploring Familiarity and Destination Choice in International Tourism

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The aim of this study is to identify the characteristics of prospective and experienced tourists to international tourism destinations. More specifically, this study examines how the differences in the level of familiarity with the host country (i.e., informational familiarity and experiential familiarity) influence sub-destination choice in terms of its scale and popularity. A survey was conducted with Korean nationals as potential visitors to tourism destinations in Japan. Six one-way ANOVA tests and six chi-square tests were performed to identify the relationships and differences between tourists' characteristics and the destination choices. The results indicate that (1) teens and people in their 50s and above were interested in visiting more popular places, (2) tourists who are more familiar with Japan tended to visit less popular destinations, and (3) tourists with more travel experiences to the country tended to visit destinations with bigger scale and less popularity. Managerial implications for each destination with different scales and popularities will be suggested to customize service for prospective first-time and experienced visitors.
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Keywords: cultural familiarity; destination choice; familiarity; language proficiency; travel experience

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Tourism and Hospitality Management,Temple University, 308 Speakman Hall, 1810 North 13th StreetPhiladelphia,PA,19122, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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