The role of movie images and its impact on destination choice
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Purpose – This study aims to examine whether movies are pivotal in developing empathy, nostalgia, perceived risk, place familiarity and place image that can shape viewer attitude towards and intention to visit a place. Design/methodology/approach – Data were collected from two sample frames of patrons at a large cinema chain located in a major shopping centre in Perth, Western Australia. The experimental group watched the romantic comedy, Friends with Benefits. The control group watched the romantic comedy, Desi Boyz which is set in London and India and is not associated with New York. A quota for data collection was set at 230 subjects in each group. The two groups watched their movies concurrently in different theatres at the same cinema chain in the same shopping centre. Subjects in both groups were asked for their responses to New York immediately after viewing the movie. Findings – In an experimental study, subjects who watched a romantic comedy set in New York had significantly higher empathy, place familiarity, attitude towards and intention to visit New York and significantly lower performance/financial risk associated with visiting New York than the control group. However, perceived risk played no significant role in influencing place familiarity in the experimental group, whereas nostalgia played no significant role in influencing place familiarity in the control group. Originality/value – The proposed decision-making framework provides academics with theoretical underpinning for future empirical tourism studies in the research area. The findings also encourage more collaboration between government, movie producers, destination management organisations and marketers to deliver a movie that provides consistent branding in its story, location and product placement strategies.
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