Image formation information sources and an iconic Australian tourist destination

Document Type


Publication details

Hanlan, J & Kelly, SJ 2005, 'Image formation information sources and an iconic Australian tourist destination', Journal of Vacation Marketing, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 163-177.

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Peer Reviewed



Tourist destination brand image is a major influencing factor in traveller destination choice. This exploaratory research into the information sources form which destination brand image evolves provides insights which have the potential to improve tourism destination brand development strategies. In-depth interview with 21 international backpackers on Australia's northern NSW coast indicate that mainstream media play little or no part in the formation of respondents' image of the coastal destination of Byron Bay. Rather, word of mouth and autonomous independent information sources were the key media through which respondents formed their image of this iconic Australian tourist destination. Findings also show the importance of destination experience in the image formation process and suggest that destination marketing organizations can and should go beyond traditional mainstream media to communicate their brand message. Additionally, findings suggest the need for DMOs to provide leadership within the destination's tourism industry to improve service delivery and exceed the 'brand promise'.