Tourism Destination Image (TDI) theory has been widely used by researchers to explain the relationship between images and Mental Representations (MR) of tourists towards holiday destinations. The widespread use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have increased worldwide attention for developing countries attempting to enter the tourism market as relative newcomers. Despite being voted the top tourist destination for 2020 in the world by the foremost American travel magazine Conde Nast (2021), Pakistan still has low levels of tourist visitors each year and as a result, struggles to grow its tourism economy which needs further investigation. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to understand how destination image is formed from the perspective of potential tourists by conducting a big data analysis of comments on social media regarding ‘Pakistan tourism’ and conducting qualitative interviews with specific segmentations who are thinking of traveling on holiday to Pakistan. It is widely agreed by researchers in the field that TDI can be improved using social media marketing (SMM) techniques, however, more research must be conducted on how destinations are perceived and why some developing countries still struggle to construct a positive DI. Tourist Destination Images (TDI) are not natural constructions and require careful planning and management involving multiple stakeholders and should focus on tourist perception of quality. The tourism industry is undergoing significant change, especially with globalisation phenomena and ease of travel which provides more potential for visitors but also more new entrants into a competing market and rivalry amongst competitors’ destinations that have similar service offerings. Social media is not just a strategic tool for marketing but is important to the survival of the entire service sector that relies on tourism for the future development of its economy. In order for Pakistan to create an effective destination image, one which resonates with specific segmentations of the tourism market, further research is needed into the perception of Pakistan as a competitive destination in the eyes of potential tourists.

Author: Rahal Ghazni

Published in: International Conference for Internet Technology and Secured Transactions (ICITST-2022)

  • Date of Conference: 6-8 December 2022
  • DOI: 10.20533/ICITST.2022.0009
  • ISBN: 978-1-913572-55-6
  • Conference Location: Virtual (London, UK)