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Analysis of Chinese travel blogs of New Zealand

The Chinese outbound tourism market is a fast growing source market for many destinations. However, more research is needed to better understand the Chinese outbound tourism market and its diversity and complexity. Again, it can be argued that consistent monitoring of what is a fast evolving market is required, even where prior research has been undertaken. The aim of this research is to provide the tourism industry with a better understanding of the Chinese tourist market and the attitudes of Chinese visitors with specific reference to New Zealand. Consequently perceived destination image, travel motivations, and patterns of online communications of and about New Zealand were identified by analysing travel blogs written by Chinese tourists. Given that there were 181 million bloggers existing in China by the end of 2009 (CNNIC, 2009), blogs written by Chinese visitors have a significant market value for tourism organisations and marketers. This study used content analysis to identify the perceived destination image held by Chinese tourists to New Zealand. In this study, the analytical process was divided into two parts, namely photographic and textual analysis. In each of the two parts, qualitative content analysis was first undertaken, and then followed by secondary quantitative analysis to support the findings discerned through the qualitative process. By analysing 6968 photographs and 408 blog entries posted by Chinese visitors, an image of New Zealand as a tourism destination was identified. The findings revealed that the main components of New Zealand, as perceived by Chinese visitors, were that it possessed a protected ecological environment, offered a variety of activities, and had a highly developed society with a “Pakeha” culture. The research also indicated that Chinese cultural norms played an important role in the process of decision making, perception formation and interpretation. These norms included the desire of harmony, Li, Junzi Aspiration, and a respect of authorities. The results of the study also included details about travel patterns in dining, accommodation, and tourism activities. These results indicated that content analysis of visual and textual materials provides rich information about perceived destination image, travel preference, and online information search behaviours. Online photographs and narratives posted by visitors are not only valuable information source for potential visitors who read the blogs, but can also be an effective way to understand the Chinese market. Based on the results, it can be concluded that blogs are important, and point a way by which destination marketing organisations can seek to influence potential visitors. For example, blog celebrities are an effective way by which to attract thousands of readers to know more about the country. The use of the Chinese language and creating special arrangements for Chinese festivals are shown to be effective means by which hosts can display a friendly attitude to their Chinese guests. With more and more countries being granted Approved Destination Status (ADS) by the Chinese government, Chinese citizens have more choices as to where to travel overseas, thereby intensifying competition for their custom. It is vital for tourism destinations to promote their unique features through all possible channels according to different target markets. Additionally, because service quality is a crucial issue for group tourists, consistent monitoring the travel blogs is an effective way of facilitating the improvement of the service quality of tourism product suppliers.
Type of thesis
Sun, M. (2013). Analysis of Chinese travel blogs of New Zealand (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7499
University of Waikato
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