Destination image in Serbian youth ecotourism

Nikola Todorović, Marija Belij Radin

Abstract


Almost half of domestic overnight stays in Serbia in 2019 were made in just five destinations, indicating the need for mitigation of such regional imbalances, particularly given the positive economic effects of domestic tourism. Large number of protected areas in Serbia provide opportunities for ecotourism development, which would make domestic tourist flows more disperse. Despite the important role of destination image in ecotourism development, previous studies of Serbian ecotourism did not focus on this construct. The aim of this study is to advance the knowledge about cognitive and affective image components of Serbian ecotourism destinations, including the role of socio-demographic characteristics and travelling behaviour on these representations. Youth, i.e., student population, represents the target group of the study. Five factors of the cognitive image were identified – General, Hospitality and Safety, Culture, Affordability and Nature. Hypotheses testing showed that cognitive perceptions varied in relation to the destination type and to some extent to previous visitation and gender, while affective responses varied in relation to gender and partially to the destination type and recent domestic travel experience. These findings provide theoretical contributions to ecotourism destination image research and practical implications for the destination managers and national policymakers.

Key words: destination image, ecotourism, domestic tourism, Serbia

© 2020 Serbian Geographical Society, Belgrade, Serbia.
This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Serbia

 


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