Does destination perception differ based on traveler type? A case of the world gambling capital: Macau


China's anti-corruption campaign has become a “new normal” and long-term policy that is affecting the gaming industry in Macau. Mainland Chinese travelers, especially the highly coveted and big-spending VIP ones, are a major contributor to gaming revenues in Macau, but they have sharply reduced their gaming expenditures since China's anti-corruption campaign began. Based on this information, ascertaining Mainland Chinese tourists’ perceived image of Macau is vital work for developing and facilitating better adaption to the policy change. This exploratory study first investigates the destination image of Macau as perceived by travelers from Mainland China. The results showed that Mainland Chinese travelers had a positive perception of gambling opportunities, environmental hygiene, quality of tourism infrastructure, nightlife, and diversity of products for shopping and a negative perception of the convenience of transportation. This study further subdivided Mainland Chinese travelers into three groups based on their travel arrangement [Liu, X., Li, J. J., & Yang, Y. (2015). Travel arrangement as a moderator in image–satisfaction–behavior relations: An investigation of Chinese outbound travelers. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 21(3), 225–236; Morrison, A. M., Hsieh, S., & O'Leary, J. T. (1993). Travel arrangement classifications for European international travellers. In R. V. Gasser & K. Weiermair (Eds.), Spoilt for choice: Decision making processes and preference changes of tourists: Proceedings of the institute of tourism and service economics international conference. November. University of Innsbruck (pp. 221–235). Thaur, Germany: Kulturvel]. The results indicated that all-inclusive packaged (AP) travelers gave lower evaluations to local food, unique European culture, gambling opportunities, and diversified products for shopping much lower than independent (IP) travelers and partial packaged travelers. On the other hand, IP travelers and partial packaged travelers gave lower evaluations to transportation convenience, access to tourism destinations, and communicating with locals than AP travelers. These results should help concerned parties determine the most appropriate strategies for improving Macau's image under the current circumstances.

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