Barcelona's city image as a tourist destination in chinese market.

Student thesis: Doctoral thesis


Acknowledging the increasing popularity of Chinese visitors in Barcelona, Spain, this thesis explores Barcelona's image as a tourist destination, namely in terms of tourist destination image (TDI), in the Chinese tourist market. We explore this topic thorough a number of angles including the influences of Chinese visitors' profile and travel motivations on Barcelona's image as a tourist destination in the their eyes; the relationships between Barcelona's cognitive image, affective image and overall TDI; comparison between Barcelona's TDI before the visitation, namely in Barcelona Pre-TDI, and Barcelona's TDI after the visitation, namely in Barcelona Post-TDI, with the aim of catching and adapting the emerging Asia market. Theoretically, the thesis aims to contribute towards the amplification of theoretical framework of TDI formation, especially in the particular theoretical framework of Barcelona's TDI in Chinese tourists' eyes. The thesis has expanded the concept of TDI formation by combining the static formation of TDI and the stage theories of TDI to run through the entire formation process of Barcelona's image before and after the actual visitation, which is a time-space dynamic structure. Apart from supporting the concepts that other scholars have identified regarding TDI with an attempt to link the tourist gaze and liminal experiences in the image formation, this research also proposes and develops a path model of the formation of Barcelona's TDI in Chinese tourists' eyes, among which a neglected but critically important concept of "emotional state" (affective evaluation to the tourist destination) has been developed and examined with emphasis. The author works with a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods using adapted grounded theory approach, with the addition of semi-structured in-depth interviews are applied. Based on the data obtained from the qualitative research, the initial measurement categories are obtained with the usage of Atlas. ti 7, while the questionnaire survey is analyzed using SPSS 22 analysis software. The findings suggest that gender, travel patterns, living place, marital status, professions and travel times are the characteristics that influence Chinese visitors' view of Barcelona's cognitive image. In particular, Chinese visitors' main reason for travelling to Barcelona is to have a ¨Cultural Experience¨, followed by a ¨Search for Natural Beauty¨, ¨Relaxation¨, and ¨Prestige and Networking¨. The visitors motivated by cultural experience are most satisfied with the cultural resources and the historical atmosphere around Barrio Gótico, and the visitors motivated by prestige and networking for travelling Barcelona are most satisfied with Barcelona's scenic hot spots, including shopping points. Both of the motivations have a positive and significant relationship with the affection dimension; visitors' motivation for relaxation and the search for natural beauty also significantly affects Barcelona's overalll TDI favorably. The cognitive dimensions of social and natural environment and the affective component have a significant influence on the city's overall image in Chinese tourists' eyes as well. Furthermore, there were shifts between Barcelona's Pre and Post-TDI. According to the results of our study, we observe that another influence involves Chinese visitors' adherence to ¨face-work¨ on their visitation to Barcelona, including their travel motivations, decision-making and travel behavior, since face acts as an important norm that most Chinese people follow when they interact with others. It is also a key concept for understanding the Chinese mind and behavior. The findings will improve tourist offers for the eastern tourism market in Barcelona.
Date of Award1 Jul 2019
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorGemma Canoves Valiente (Tutor)


  • Turisme; Turismo; Tourism; Mercat xinès; Mercado chino; Chinese market; Barcelona

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