Destination image in virtual social networks

Keywords: cultural tourism, urban areas, leisure, image formation, photography, tourism research, marketing techniques, virtual social networks


Since destination image is an important construct for tourism research, cities and regions try to understand and to develop a positive image in order to guarantee the number of visitors and the tourism revenue. The main objective of this article was to develop a model of evaluation of destination image through the use of pictures shared in virtual social networks. We propose that the image of a destination can be analyzed through the way tourists picture the destination in virtual social networks. Hence, we have developed a measurement to evaluate destination image based on pictures posted on Instagram, and we made a model to analyze destination image based on pictures shared in virtual social network. Our method was composed by an analysis of 1,500 pictures of three important destinations in Brazil (Foz do Iguaçú, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador). Our results contribute to tourism research by indicating that it is possible to determine the main characteristics of a destination by the pictures in virtual social networks, and by providing a 5-dimension model to do so. This study contributes to tourism research in two venues. First, we propose a method for evaluating destination image based on pictures posted in social media rather than the usual questionnaires. This may help scholars by providing an alternative way of evaluating destination image without recall, social desirability and non-response bias. And secondly, this study also contributes to practitioners and public policy in tourism by showing which characteristics of a destination image are more prominent to the destination image, based on virtual social networks.

  • References

    Amaro, S., Duarte, P., & Henriques, C. (2016). Travelers’ use of social media: A clustering approach. Annals of Tourism Research, 59(1), 1-15. Doi: 10.1016/j.annals.2016.03.007

    Armstrong, J., & Overton, T. (1977). Estimating nonresponse bias in mail surveys. Journal of Marketing Research, 14(3), 396-402. Doi: 10.2307/3150783

    Baloglu, S., & McCleary, K. (1999). A model of destination image formation. Annals of Tourism Research, 26(4), 868-897.

    Beerli, A., & Martin, J. D. (2004). Factors influencing destination image. Annals of Tourism Research, 31(3), 657-681. Doi: 10.1016/j.annals.2004.01.010

    Cabiddu, F., De Carlo, M., & Piccoli, G. (2014). Social media affordances: Enabling customer engagement. Annals of Tourism Research, 48, 175-192.

    Chagas, M. M. das. (2008). Imagem de destinos turísticos: Uma discussão teórica da literatura especializada. Turismo, Visão e Ação, 10(3), 435-455.

    Dwyer, L., Edwards, D., Mistilis, N., Roman, C., & Scott, N. (2009). Destination and enterprise management for a tourism future. Tourism Management, 30(1), 63-74. Doi: 10.1016/j.tourman.2008.04.002

    Echtner, C., & Ritchie, J. (1993). The measurement of destination image: An empirical assessment. Journal of Travel Research, 31(4), 3-13. Doi: 10.1177/004728759303100402

    Fisher, R. (1993). Social desirability bias and the validity of indirect questioning. Journal of Consumer Research, 20(2), 303-315. Doi: 10.1086/209351

    Gallarza, M. G., Saura, I. G., & García, H. C. (2002). Destination image: Towards a conceptual framework. Annals of Tourism Research, 29(1), 56-78. Doi: 10.1016/S0160-7383(01)00031-7

    Govers, R., Go, F. M., & Kumar, K. (2007). Virtual destination image a new measurement approach. Annals of Tourism Research, 34(4), 977-997. Doi: 10.1016/j.annals.2007.06.001

    Henseler, J., Ringle, C. & Sinkovics, R. (2009). The use of partial least squares path modeling in international marketing. Advances in International Marketing. 20(1), 277-319.

    Hofacker, C. F., & Belanche, D. (2016). Eight social media challenges for marketing managers. Spanish Journal of Marketing, 20(2), 73-80. Doi: 10.1016/j.sjme.2016.07.003

    Hunter, W. C. (2016). The social construction of tourism online destination image: A comparative semiotic analysis of the visual representation of Seoul. Tourism Management, 54(1), 221-229. Doi: 10.1016/j.tourman.2015.11.012

    Kock, F., Josiassen, A., & Assaf, A. G. (2016). Advancing destination image: The destination content model. Annals of Tourism Research, 61(1), 28-44. Doi: 10.1016/j.annals.2016.07.003

    Leal, S. (2002). A relevância da imagem para o processo de escolha de destinações. Revista Eletrônica de Turismo, 1(2), 1-6.

    Lee, E., Lee, J., Moon, J., & Sung, Y. (2015). Pictures speak louder than words: Motivations for using Instagram. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 18(9), 552-556. Doi: 10.1089/cyber.2015.0157

    Leung, D., Law, R., Van Hoof, H., & Buhalis, D. (2013). Social media in tourism and hospitality: A literature review. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 30(1), 3-22. Doi: 10.1080/10548408.2013.750919

    Lyu, S. O. (2016). Travel selfies on social media as objectified self-presentation. Tourism Management, 54(1), 185-195. Doi: 10.1016/j.tourman.2015.11.001

    Martín-Santana, J. D., Beerli-Palacio, A., & Nazzareno, P. A. (2017). Antecedents and consequences of destination image gap. Annals of Tourism Research, 62(1), 13-25. Doi: 10.1016/j.annals.2016.11.001

    Munar, A. M., & Jacobsen, J. K. S. (2014). Motivations for sharing tourism experiences through social media. Tourism Management, 43(1), 46-54. Doi: 10.1016/j.tourman.2014.01.012

    Oliveira, E., & Panyik, E. (2015). Content, context and co-creation: Digital challenges in destination branding with references to Portugal as a tourist destination. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 21(1), 53-74. Doi: 10.1177/1356766714544235

    Pan, B., & Li, X. R. (2011). The long tail of destination image and online marketing. Annals of Tourism Research, 38(1), 132-152. Doi: 10.1016/j.annals.2010.06.004.

    Price, R. (2018). Instagram just reached 1 billion users. Retrieved June 20, 2018, from

    Pike, S. (2002). Destination image analysis—a review of 142 papers from 1973 to 2000. Tourism Management, 23(5), 541-549. Doi: 10.1016/S0261-5177(02)00005-5

    Rezende-Parker, A. M., Morrison, A. M., & Ismail, J. A. (2003). Dazed and confused? An exploratory study of the image of Brazil as a travel destination. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 9(3) 243-259

    Secom. Pesquisa Brasileira de Mídia 2016. Recuperado 19 de novembro de 2018 de:

    Viol, M., Todd, L., Theodoraki, E., & Anastasiadou, C. (2018). The role of iconic-historic commemorative events in event tourism: Insights from the 20 th and 25 th anniversaries of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Tourism Management, 69(1), 246-262. Doi: 10.1016/j.tourman.2018.06.018

    Wang, X., Huang, Y., Li, X., & Peng, L. (2016). A moderated mediation model of sharing travel experience on social media: Motivations and face orientations in Chinese culture. Journal of China Tourism Research, 12(1), 42-64.

    Xiang, Z., Du, Q., Ma, Y., & Fan, W. (2017). A comparative analysis of major online review platforms: Implications for social media analytics in hospitality and tourism. Tourism Management, 58(1), 51-65. Doi: 10.1016/j.tourman.2016.10.001

    Yoo, K. H., & Gretzel, U. (2016). Use and Creation of Social Media by. Social media in travel, tourism and hospitality: Theory, practice and cases, 189.

    Zandavalle, A. C. In: Silva, T.; Stabile, M. (2016) Monitoramento e Pesquisa em Mídias Sociais: Metodologias, aplicações e inovações. Análise de redes em Mídias Sociais. São Paulo: Uva Limão, p. 237-260, 2016.

    Zeng, B., & Gerritsen, R. (2014). What do we know about social media in tourism? A review. Tourism Management Perspectives, 10(1), 27-36. Doi: 10.1016/j.tmp.2014.01.001.
  • Author Biographies

    Fabrícia Durieux Zucco, Universidade Regional de Blumenau

    Doctor in Administration (UNINOVE, São Paulo, Brazil)
    Professor of the Department of Communication (FURB, Santa Catarina, Brazil) and Professor of PPGTH, Master's and Doctorate in Tourism and Hospitality (UNIVALI, Santa Catarina, Brazil)

    Christian Falaster, Universidade Regional de Blumenau

    Professor of the Graduate School of Management at Universidade Regional de Blumenau (Brazil). Address: Rua Antonio da Veiga, 140 – Blumenau, SC – Brazil. E-mail: Orcid:

    Sara Joana Gadotti dos Anjos, Universidade do Vale do Itajaí

    Professor of the Graduate School of Tourism at Universidade do Vale do Itajaí (Brazil). Address: 5ª Avenida, 1100 - Balneário Camboriú, SC – Brazil. E-mail: Orcid:

    Camila Belli Kraus, Universidade do Vale do Itajaí

    Student of the Graduate School of Tourism at Universidade do Vale do Itajaí (Brazil). Address: 5ª Avenida, 1100 - Balneário Camboriú, SC – Brazil. E-mail: Orcid:

How to Cite
Zucco, F. D., Falaster, C., Gadotti dos Anjos, S. J., & Kraus, C. B. (2019). Destination image in virtual social networks. Anagramas Rumbos Y Sentidos De La Comunicación, 17(34), 27-43.


Download data is not yet available.