Document Type : Case Studies


1 Head of tourism research center of ACECR in Isfahan university

2 Faculty of tourism, University of Science and Culture, Tehran, Iran



Nowadays, the generated and shared content on tourist perceptions in social media is considered a fresh and far-reaching way to introduce the concept of the destination image. Destination decision-makers attempt to use this content to provide a deep understanding of tourism supply and demand. Marketers have to be particular about it when defining a proper destination image. In this regard, many researchers have emphasized the importance of using social media to tap into tourists’ perceptions of destination because it not only helps to deepen the administrators’ understanding of the demands of this type of tourism and to propose new approaches to determine the customers’ preferences in destination marketing but also directs new products and services to satisfy the tourists to a greater extent. Depending on the type of tourism, the contexts and criteria for this kind of virtual investigation are different. For example, in cultural destinations, tourists’ perceptions of tangible and intangible cultural heritage and services and products offered in virtual contexts are regarded as a tool to assess the tourists’ perceptions of that destination. The present study assumes that a holistic approach toward the analysis of tourist perception in the virtual sphere could be a well-qualified alternative to determine tourists’ wants in cultural destinations. Content analysis, which is a practical method in analyzing visual and textual data and 
therefore is quite pertinent to the analysis of tourist perceptions, was adopted as the data analysis instrument in this study. To collect the data, two frequently-visited and widely-used websites with easy access to tourists’ comments, namely TripAdvisor and Flickr, were selected so that tourists’ experiences and perceptions could be gathered more authentically and conveniently. The findings demonstrated that the analysis of perceived authenticity of cultural destinations in Iran could provide the content required to create a destination image for purposeful marketing in Iran. Perceived Authenticity was categorized into three main themes: emotional, sensational, and rational.


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