Research Corner | A partnership between Macau Business and the Macao Institute for Tourism Studies (IFTM)

‘Flagshipness’ and ‘iconicit as tools to bolst

s tools to bolster A 16 DECEMBER 2020

esearch paper co-authored by two scholars from the Macao Institute for Tourism Studies (IFTM) invites authorities in Macau to make use of visitor perceptions of attraction “flagshipness” and “iconicity” to formulate marketing strategies for

the city. The researchers argue this approach could help position Macau as a choice destination for travellers, both regionally and globally. “Perceived flagshipness and iconicity provide a new way of thinking about attraction segmentation and destination marketing,” the authors wrote. IFTM scholars Dr Connie Loi Kim Ieng and Dr Frances

Kong Weng Hang partnered with Dr Bill Xu Jing of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s College of Professional and Continuing Education, to produce the research. “The effects of perceptions of flagshipness and iconicity on word of mouth for attractions and destinations” was supported by a grant from IFTM and published earlier this year in the Journal of Vacation Marketing. The study results were based on a survey answered by 800

tourists to Macau, focused on the city’s tourism attractions. The sample comprised mainly tourists from Mainland China (81.8 percent). Taiwan region was the next largest source of respondents.

Novel approach

Flagshipness and iconicity are recent terms in the tourism context. A tourist attraction can be defined as being “flagship”

Research involving two IFTM scholars – and supported by the Institute – studies how perceptions of tourism attractions can help create destination marketing strategies

destination mark

ss’ and ‘iconicity’ stination marketing

when its appeal is attributed to distinct qualities – including uniqueness, location, international reputation and outstanding media attention – making it a “must-see” that is large both in relative scale and in its economic impact. An attraction is defined as being iconic if it serves as a universally-recognised symbol or representation of its location, culture or heritage, and evokes a powerfully positive image among both tourists and locals. Some examples of flagship attractions include Disneyland

Paris in France and Legoland in Denmark. Mount Fuji in Japan, the Eiffel Tower in France or the Great Wall of China, on the other hand, are iconic attractions for their respective destinations. For their study, Drs Xu, Loi and Kong used word-of-mouth

recommendations about a destination as a “meaningful surrogate” of tourist destination loyalty. The research found that visitor perception of tourism attractions, in terms of flagshipness and iconicity, impacted word-of-mouth recommendations for both the individual attractions and the destination itself. From a broader perspective, that meant that flagship and iconic attractions could help establish and reinforce a destination’s recognition and image. An attraction’s flagshipness and iconicity were both found leading indirectly to word of mouth about the destination, through the mediating effect of word of mouth about the attractions themselves. “However, the perception of iconicity was also noted to result in word of mouth about the destination in a direct manner,” they added.

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54