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Destination Image - Do Berlin´s tourist authorities have to consider cultural segmentation when developing marketing strategies relating to the place´s image in an era that refers to the global tourist?

An exploratory study of Arab-Islamic and Protestant European youths` pre-visitation image

Masterarbeit 2008 163 Seiten


Table of Contents

Attestation of Authorship



List of Tables

List of Figures

List of Appendices

List of Abbreviations

Chapter One: Introduction
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Rationale
1.3 Aims and Objectives
1.4 Definition of terms
1.4.1 Who is meant by ‘’Protestant European’’?
1.4.2 Who is meant by ‘’Arab-Islamic’’?
1.4.3 The youth market
1.4.4 Culture
1.5 Chapter overview
1.5.1 Chapter One: Introduction
1.5.2 Chapter Two: Berlin as a tourist destination
1.5.3 Chapter Three: Literature Review I Destination image
1.5.4 Chapter Four: Literature Review II Globalisation: Its effects on consumer behaviour. Comparing Arab-Islamic and Protestant European Culture.
1.5.5 Chapter Five: Methodology
1.5.6 Chapter Six: Data analysis and findings
1.5.7 Chapter Seven: Conclusion and recommendations
1.6 Summary

Chapter Two: Berlin as a tourist destination
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Berlin’s tourism industry – facts and figures
2.3 Contemporary Berlin as a tourist destination
2.4 Examination of previous image studies on Germany
2.5 Examination of previous image studies on Berlin
2.6 Summary

Chapter Three: Literature Review I Destination Image
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Defining destination image
3.2.1 Destination image’s complexity
3.3 Destination image formation in the pre-visitation stage
3.4 Factors influencing the formation of pre-visitation destination image
3.5 Cultural factors influencing destination image formation
3.6 Summary

Chapter Four: Literature Review II Globalisation: Its effects on consumer behaviour. Comparing Arab-Islamic and Protestant European Culture.
4.1 Introduction
4.2 The influence of globalisation on consumer behaviour
4.3 Analysis: Arab-Islamic and Protestant European cultures
4.4 Arab-Islamic and Protestant European youth cultures
4.5 Summary
4.6 Literature review: conclusions and research gap

Chapter Five: Methodology 5.1 Introduction
5.2 Research philosophy
5.2.1 Applied research
5.2.2 Deductive research
5.2.3 Positivism, interpretivism and realism
5.3 Primary research
5.4 Quantitative and qualitative data analysis
5.5 Survey sample
5.6 Questionnaire design
5.7 Pilot questionnaire
5.8 Data analysis
5.9 Research limitations
5.10 Summary

Chapter Six: Data analysis and findings
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Respondents’ profile
6.2.1 Demographic characteristics: Protestant European survey participants
6.2.2 Demographic characteristics: Arab-Islamic survey participants
6.2.3 Demographic characteristics of focus group interviewees and other qualitative data collection methods
6.3 What comes first to your mind, when you think about Berlin?
6.4 Question 4: Functional attributes of Berlin & the level of agreement
6.5 Question 5: Psychological attributes of Berlin & the level of agreement
6.6 Question 6: Functional holistic picture of Berlin
6.7 Question 7: Psychological holistic picture of Berlin
6.8 How do you rate your overall image of Berlin as a tourist destination?
6.9 Summary

Chapter Seven: Conclusion and recommendations
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Discussions and conclusions
7.3 Recommendations for further research
7.4 Summary



Attestation of Authorship

‘‘I declare that this dissertation is my own unaided work. I have not included any material or data from other authors or sources which are not acknowledged and identified in the prescribed manner. I have read the section in the Student Handbook on Assessment Offences and understand that such offences may lead the Examinations Board to withhold or withdraw the award of Master of Arts.”


Destination image is considered as the key in attracting tourists. This thesis purported to scrutinise whether Berlin’s tourist authorities have to consider cultural segmentation when developing marketing strategies relating to the place’s image. As an exploratory study, it examined Berlin’s image among youths from Arab-Islamic and Protestant European countries and confronted them. In an era that is subjected to globalisation and refers to the global tourist, it is vindicated to pose this question. Various scholars are convinced that the world tourism market may be treated as a homogenous one due to globalisation. However, the literature also provides some opposing bearings and discusses them. It further gives some background information on Berlin as a tourist destination, addresses destination image concerning influential cultural factors and the implications of globalisation on consumer behaviour. Finally, it studies the Arab-Islamic and Protestant European youth cultures in the light of globalisation and possible modifying effects.

In response to the objectives of this study, primary research was conducted. It involved both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. Field and online surveys enabled the researcher to collect 239 completed questionnaires (103 Arab-Islamic and 136 Protestant European youths). Besides semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions were carried out at EF Language School, Bournemouth. Following the completion of the survey, obtained data was entered into SPSS. Frequencies and means were calculated for each variable and several ANOVA tests and cross-tabulations conducted in order to stress destination image’s specificity in terms of cultural background.

Research findings revealed significant differences between the groups regarding their perception of Berlin. Arab-Islamic youths had a more negative stance towards Berlin than their counterparts. Not only did divergences occur between the groups, but also within the groups. Thus, destination image is culture-specific and may also vary across countries sharing similar cultural backgrounds. Overall, despite the effects of globalisation, cultural market segmentation still remains a vital element for a tourist place such as Berlin where the image management is concerned. The thesis provides recommendations for Berlin congruent with the outcomes and concludes with the provision of recommendations for further research.


At this point I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those people that have supported me during the completion of my thesis.

First of all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation to my parents and my grandmother who have made the last study year possible thanks to their financial contribution. In particular, very special thanks to my grandmother who is very ill and has unfortunately been to hospital since the beginning of July. I dedicate this work to her.

Secondly, a big thanks to my girl-friend Verena, whose support and kind words of encouragement in bad times enabled me to remain optimistic. Thank you very much.

I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to my supervisor Ton van Egmond, for his helpful guidance right the way through the writing of my thesis. Also here a special thanks to him.

Finally, I am additionally grateful to all the people that supported me in conducting primary research. Thanks to all survey participants, interviewees and to EF School, Bournemouth and especially to my Jordanian friend Houssam who was so kind to support me in arranging as many Arab-Islamic surveyees as possible.

Word Count: 21, 739

List of Tables

2.1 Tourist arrivals in Berlin 2007

4.1 Hofstede’s Cultural Indices

5.1 An overview of this study’s research methods

6.1 One-way ANOVA test on ‘what comes first into your mind when you think of Berlin?

6.2 One-way ANOVA test on functional attributes by cultural background

6.3 Average means of responses under functional attributes by nationality

6.4 One-way ANOVA test on psychological attributes by cultural background

6.5 Average means of responses under psychological attributes by nationality

6.6 One-way ANOVA test on the functional holistic picture by cultural background

6.7 Average means of responses under functional holistic by nationality

6.8 One-way ANOVA test on the psychological holistic picture by cultural background

6.9 Average means of responses under psychological holistic by nationality

6.10 Average means of responses under psychological holistic by Arab nationalities

6.11 One-way ANOVA test on the general perception of Berlin by cultural background

6.12 Average means of responses under psychological holistic by nationality

List of Figures

1.1 Research Framework

1.2 The Arab World

2.1 Chapter overview

2.2 Ranking of markets in correspondence with their importance as source markets

3.1 Chapter overview

3.2 An illustrative example of the four components of destination image

3.3 Gunn’s Seven Phases Model

3.4 A General Framework of Destination Image Formation

4.1 Chapter overview

4.2 Arab perspective vs. Western perspective

4.3 Is globalisation causing homogeneity in consumer behaviour?

5.1 Circular model of research approaches

5.2 The four components of destination image

6.1 Country of origin

6.2 Cultural background and gender

6.3 Cultural background and education

6.4 Focus group interviews at EF School, Bournemouth

6.5 How do you rate your overall image of Berlin?

6.6 Cross tabulation of the overall image of Berlin

6.7 Perceptual mapping of Berlin’s image between Arab-Islamic and Protestant European respondents

7.1 Summary of main outcomes

List of Appendices

Appendix 1: Inglehart – Welzel Cultural Map of the World

Appendix 2: The Anholt – GfK Roper Nations Brand Index

Appendix 3: CWH & B: European Cities Monitor 20 European Cities most familiar to respondents as a business location

Appendix 4: The Anholt City Brands Index 2005: Berlin’s Rank

Appendix 5: Globalisation & World cities Group (GAWC)

Appendix 6: Questionnaire in English/German/Arabic

Appendix 7: CD of Semi-Structured Group Interviews, transcript and written comments on Berlin

Appendix 7.1: Comments on Berlin via e-mail

Appendix 8: Pilot questionnaire

Appendix 9: ANOVA explained

Appendix 10: Detailed SPSS results for question1

Appendix 11: Detailed SPSS results for question 3

Appendix 12: Detailed SPSS results for question 4

Appendix 13: Detailed SPSS results for question 5

Appendix 14: Detailed SPSS results for question 6

Appendix 15: Detailed SPSS results for question 7

Appendix 16: Detailed SPSS results for question 8

List of Abbreviations

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Chapter One: Introduction

1.1 Introduction

The travel and tourism industry is one of the world’s largest employers, creating over 231 million jobs worldwide (WTTC 2008) and growing steadily at disproportionally high rates compared to other industries as a result of globally spreading wealth, which makes tourism more international (UNWTO 2008a).

The growing internationality in tourism is part of an on-going globalisation process. Possible implications of globalisation are the homogenisation of cultures, which may induce more homogenous preferences and tastes across diverse societies (Buttaro 2005, CATO Institute 2003). Cultural diversity is being lost to homogeneity nearly everywhere in the world (Redford & Brosius 2006). In this context, Barber (cited CATO Institute 2003:9) cites an interesting statement of a Bayer AG Manager: ‘ A lie has been perpetuated for years and years. The lie is that people are different!’

Back in the 1980’s, Plog (1990 cited Kozak et al. 2003) mentioned that a tourist should not be examined by his cultural background. He referred to the global tourist, which means that the world tourism market may be treated as a homogenous market. Since the 1980’s, the world has extensively developed, especially technologically, and is evermore merging (Nuscheler 2006, Stahel et al. 2008). Isizoh (2006, p.155) talks of the ‘global village’ and of the shrinking world, which is progressively merging in terms of culture, religion and language due to technological developments, such as the Internet and fast travel. The latter factors mean that people around the globe are more easily subjected to the same lifestyles and to growing globalisation of cultures. In particular, the dominant Western culture is increasingly absorbed by marginal cultures, which are in jeopardy of losing cultural integrity (Chang et al. 2006).

So what could this all mean for the tourism industry or, in the case of this study, for Berlin as a tourist destination? A destination such as Berlin attracts tourists from around the world and from various cultural backgrounds. In order to attract tourists from diverse cultural backgrounds, the city of Berlin develops marketing strategies that are tailor-made for each of its source markets and respond to cultural preferences (Gruber 2008). However, is cultural segmentation necessary in an era where globalisation apparently induces homogenisation in people’s preferences and tastes across cultures? If it is not, a tourist destination, such as Berlin could reduce its marketing expenditure, as it would be able to adopt identical strategies across cultures. Therefore, this exploratory study scrutinises a vital part of marketing, namely destination image, and intends to identify whether Arab-Islamic and Protestant European youths (see 1.4.1) homogenously perceive Berlin as a tourist destination. Youths are especially prone to globalisation and gradually adopt the ‘Coca Cola’ culture (Pelkington et al. 2002, Zahid 2007), as they are more proficient with the Internet and hence experience dimensions that former generations never knew. The youth market is the market of the future; consequently, it is vital for the tourism industry to understand it.

Among young tourists, Berlin is a fashionable tourism destination due to a variety of cultural and entertainment based offers. In recent years, Berlin has generally become a very successful tourist destination and the most visited German city, not only among Germans, but also among international tourists. About 38% of 17.3 million overnight stays were made by foreigners in 2007, an increase of approximately 17% on 2006 (BTM 2007). Most came from the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Denmark, with only a minor number from the Arab world. Previous image studies have shown that Berlin is quite popular among tourists due to its interesting history, the variety of cultural activities, its rich gastronomy offer, and its multi-cultural society and favourable price level (Habermann et al 2006). Hence, Berlin’s image among tourists is generally known; however, the author could not locate any sources that show how the city’s image may vary from place to place, which again justifies this study.

Destination image is a crucial part of destination management and considered as the key in attracting tourists (Cooper et al. 2005 , Echtner & Brent Ritchie 2003, Frochot & Legohére 2007, p. 176, Kim & Richardson 2003, Kozak et al. 2004). Due to the growing internationality of the tourism market, identifying the perceived image of tourists from various cultural backgrounds is becoming more complicated; however, it also becomes more important. Regarding destination image alone, a very limited number of studies have been carried out, not to speak of the studies from a cross-cultural point of view. The topic of how tourists from different cultural backgrounds are at variance in their perceived destination image is basically under-researched (Kozak et al. 2004). Besides, the studies that investigate destination image in cultural terms are contradictory. The majority of sources claim that cultural factors influence the image formation process (Pizam cited Kozak et al. 2003), while others maintain the contrary (Plog cited Kozak et al. 2003). Plog (cited Kozak et al. 2003) proposes that the rapid globalisation of the tourist phenomenon brings about an enhanced understanding of the ‘global tourist’. The on-going globalisation process, which is potentially modifying the way that people live and behave supports Plog’s assumption. International tourism can be considered as part of the globalisation process (Macleod 2004, p.8; Reid 2003, p.13), which may induce changing behavioural patterns within cultures and their people.

To conclude, it is this study’s aim to identify whether there is a correlation between cultural background and the perception of Berlin between Arab-Islamic and Protestant European youth. The question arises, as a consequence of the on-going globalisation process, which is considered by many scholars as bringing about cultural homogenisation, as well as homogenous consumer preferences across cultures.

1.2 Rationale

In a period in which the business climate is worsening due to events such as the credit crunch, it may be important for organisations to cut expenditures. In future, the city of Berlin could be able to reduce its marketing expenditures for the management of its image, if it was found that people across cultures do not differ in their perception of a place.

Berlin has been chosen as the case study, since Berlin’s tourism authorities have consented to support this study by providing supportive documents. Berlin’s image as a tourist destination is generally known, but not how it may differ among people from varying cultural backgrounds. Little is known about Arab tourists in particular, which justifies opting for these tourists to be studied. Due to the author’s contacts with people from the Arab and Western worlds, he is able to capture a relatively high number of interviewees from both cultural backgrounds. Consequently, an expressive comparative study is more likely and will enhance the study’s validity.

The focal point lies on the youth market, since it composes tomorrow’s market and is currently the largest growing segment in tourism (WYSE 2007). The youth market is often under-rated; even though travellers aged 16-24 represent about 20% of all international tourists. What is more, its budget reputation is not vindicated. In fact the average spend per trip has improved by 40% since 2004 to 1,915 Euros in 2007, making youths a fairly noteworthy market for destination managers (Mintel 2006a, UNWTO 2008b).

Cross-cultural research in tourism has received increasing vigilance from scholars in recent years (Kozak et al. 2003, Reisinger & Turner 2003, p. xxi), nonetheless, compared with other fields of tourism research, cross-cultural studies are almost entirely missing (van Egmond 2005, p. 8). Especially in destination image, cross-cultural studies are scarce (Kozak et al. 2004). The growing internationality of the tourism market makes cross-cultural studies increasingly imperative (Reisinger & Turner 2003, p.29), because prior cross-cultural studies were contradictory with some sources claiming culture-specificity of tourism, while others claim the contrary (see 3.5). The aim of undertaking cross-cultural research is to scrutinise other cultures, to gain knowledge of them and to test cultural differences in tourism marketing contexts (Kozak et al. 2004). It is vital for destination management to study the profile of its customers, particularly their behaviour, preferences and values in order to apply efficient positioning and market segmentation strategies (Reisinger & Turner 2002a). Schiffman and Kanuk (1991, p.464) add that an understanding of ‘the similarities and differences that exist between nations is critical to the multinational marketer’ and Berlin can be regarded as such.

1.3 Aims and Objectives

Figure 1.1 demonstrates the research framework of this study. The thesis aims to find an answer to the following question:

Do Berlin’s tourist authorities have to consider cultural segmentation when developing marketing strategies relating to the place’s image in an era that refers to the global tourist?’

The author has identified six research objectives in order to meet the overall aim of his study. These are:

- To examine previous image studies on Berlin and Germany, as tourist destinations.
- To review the literature and to identify the importance of destination image, as well as the factors, including cultural factors that influence individuals’ image of a destination.
- To examine whether the globalisation process is influencing people’s behaviour in general and whether globalisation induces a more homogenous lifestyle, especially among youths.
- To examine the Arab-Islamic and the Protestant European culture in general and the relevant youth cultures and to identify differences and similarities.
- To survey a sample of Arab-Islamic and Protestant European youth on their image of Berlin as a tourist destination by distributing online-surveys and conducting semi-structured interviews.
- To identify if there are cross-cultural differences in the perception of Berlin as a tourist destination among Arab-Islamic and Protestant European youth?

Figure 1.1: Research Framework

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1.4 Definition of terms

1.4.1 Who is meant by ‘‘Protestant European’’?

The prevailing culture of European origin is often referred to as Western culture. Western culture depicts on Greek notions, Roman law, the Latin language and Christian expectations (Lashbrook 1969, van Egmond 2005). Nowadays, Western culture dominates in Western and Central European nations and in various countries in which European descendents reside, such as the US and Australia. Due to the roots of Western culture, it is assumed that people share similar behavioural patterns; however, Western Europe can be divided into two parts, culture-wise. Northern/Western Europe is characterised by the Protestant ethic, while Southern/Western Europe is characterised by the Catholic ethic (Doyle 1986, p.151).

Why did the inner European-division take place? In the age of religious wars from the 16th to the 18th century, violence among Roman Catholics and Protestants dominated life across Europe (Pearson Education 2008). At the end of the war, Europe found itself in a period of religious reformation and was divided into different creeds (Doyle 1986, p. 151). The religious division took place in almost every sense, both in terms of varying interpretations of the Christian doctrine and practices and historical traditions. Consequently, Protestant and Catholic Europe emerged that both developed diverging values. Nowadays, a variety of scholars from varying research areas claim the existence of cultural differences between the groups (Kanniainen & Pääkkönen 2007, Randell-Moon 2006, Sullins 1999).

However, Catholicism and Protestantism both include the forms of Christian faith and practice that originated with the principles of the Reformation (Oxford Dictionary 2008). The value systems of the Protestants have influenced a variety of cultures in Europe (van Egmond 2005, p.18). The countries that have been influenced are Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Great Britain and Austria. Inglehart (cited Inglehart & Baker 2000) conducted world value surveys from 1990 to 1991 and from 1995 to 1998 examining different regions and ethnicities by their cultural context and illustrating the phenomena with the aid of a cultural value map (Appendix 1). As a result, he deduced that the countries mentioned above share similar values and beliefs, which are partly affected by the economic success of these countries. Although, the UK and Austria are not part of Protestant Europe in his map, it is widely acknowledged that these countries hold Protestant values (Delacroix & Nielsen 2001, van Egmond 2005, p. 18-19). People from Protestant countries are considered to demonstrate common behavioural patterns in terms of ‘thinking, feeling and acting’ (Hofstede 1991 cited van Egmond 2005, p. 19) and will thus be regarded as one market for the purpose of this study.

1.4.2 Who is meant by ‘‘Arab-Islamic’’?

The Arab world comprises 24 countries and stretches from the Arabian Sea in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west (Figure 1.2). The majority of people within the Arab world share the same religion, the Islam. It is also the source of Arabic culture and Arabic language and is the reason why the Arab world displays many similarities in terms of lifestyle (Altawajiri 1998).

Figure 1.2: The Arab World

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Source: 2007

However, not all countries within the Arab world are lucrative from a destination manager’s perspective, since only the Arab countries in the Middle East expose notable numbers of outbound tourists. The five countries with the highest profile in terms of outbound tourist expenditure are the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt and Syria (Mintel 2006b). However, the other Middle Eastern countries, such as Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Jordan may also be quite lucrative markets due to their ‘oil money’ (Mintel 2004). Consequently, all the Middle Eastern and Gulf countries mentioned above will be considered as the Arab world throughout this thesis. Like traditionally Protestant European, Arab-Islamic from the Middle East also demonstrate common behavioural patterns where thinking, feeling and acting is concerned, and will thus be treated as one group for the purpose of this study. According to Hofstede (2001, p.52) the Middle East can be regarded as a culturally homogenous region.

1.4.3 The youth market

A universal definition on the youth market does not seem to exist. While the UN defines youth as people between 15 to 24 years (cited UNESCO 2006), the UNWTO (cited Mintel 2006c) adopts an upper age limit of 25 years. However, there is a trend for setting the upper age limit even higher, up to 30 years of age and more due to current social changes (Mintel 2006c).

People are considered as youths as long as they live at their parental home, are full-time students and are financially dependent to a certain degree. Since, the European and the Middle Eastern education systems imply that most students will graduate at the age of 23 to 25; the author has decided to adopt UNWTO’s definition which sets the age limit to 25 years and is a major player within the tourism industry.

1.4.4 Culture

Culture is widely defined as ‘the set of customs, values, norms, beliefs, habits, arts and patterns of lifestyle shared by a group of people or society’ (Reisinger & Turner 2002b, Khang & Moscardo 2006). It is the spirit of a country and the mark of its identity (Altwaijri 1998). Altwaijri (1998) claims all nations possess their own culture and demonstrate a distinct lifestyle. Thus, culture holds human groups together, since it is considered as the way of life by homogenous groups (Harris & Moran 1979 cited Reisinger & Turner 2002b). Culture is also a guide to behavioural patterns that develop rules of social behaviour and perceptions and lead to similar ways of feeling and thinking about things within a human group of the same cultural background (Khang & Moscardo 2006, Reisinger & Turner 2002b, Truong & King 2006).

Concerning the purpose of this thesis, it may be helpful to understand that the meaning of culture slightly differs in Arabic, although the definitions above are also part of the term’s definition here. In addition though, the word ‘culture’ is increasingly being used in regard to ‘the intellectual, literary and social progress of individuals and communities’ (Altwaijri 1998). According to Altwaijri (1998) it means ‘ to refine the soul, speech and intelligence’. Al-Muhit (cited Altwaijri 1998) defines the term culture as follows: ‘to become intelligent, agile, and smart; to straighten the lance, to make straight’. Altogether this demonstrates that the Arab definition rather considers culture in terms of how cultivated groups of humans and their individuals are.

1.5 Chapter overview

This thesis is divided into seven chapters. A summary of each chapter is:

1.5.1 Chapter One: Introduction

This chapter introduces the studied topic and vindicates the necessity for scrutinising this research area. Subsequently, the research aim and objectives are presented and certain key terms defined that are utilised throughout the thesis.

1.5.2 Chapter Two: Berlin as a tourist destination

This chapter provides background information on Berlin and on Germany as tourist destinations. It also presents previous destination image studies on Berlin.

1.5.3 Chapter Three: Literature Review I Destination image

This chapter provides an accurate analysis of destination image. The term is being defined and the factors that impinge on the formation of image examined, including cultural factors.

1.5.4 Chapter Four: Literature Review II Globalisation: Its effects on consumer behaviour. Comparing Arab-Islamic and Protestant European Culture

This chapter investigates the implications of globalisation on consumer behaviour. Afterwards, the Arab-Islamic and Protestant European culture, in particular the respective youth cultures, are examined and compared in order to identify cultural similarities and differences.

1.5.5 Chapter Five: Methodology

This chapter demonstrates the methodological framework of this study. It shows how primary research was conducted and unveils the limitations of this study.

1.5.6 Chapter Six: Data analysis and findings

This chapter presents the most connoting primary findings and analyses them by focalising on identifying correlations between cultural background and the perception of a place.

1.5.7 Chapter Seven: Conclusion and recommendations

Prior to concluding the thesis, this chapter discusses the findings of primary research and the literature review. Subsequently, recommendations are made to Berlin’s tourist authorities along with suggestions for further research.

1.6 Summary

This chapter has introduced the research project to the reader. The study’s aim and objectives were explained, as well as the structure of this work. The next chapter provides background information on Berlin and Germany as tourist destinations.

Chapter Two: Berlin as a tourist destination

2.1 Introduction

This chapter introduces Berlin as a tourist destination with Berlin’s attributes being presented, as well as facts and figures concerning its tourism industry. Furthermore, Germany’s image will be scrutinised in terms of tourism prior to focussing on previous image studies regarding Berlin. An overview is illustrated in figure 2.1.

Figure 2.1: Chapter overview

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2.2 Berlin’s tourism industry – facts and figures

Berlin is Germany’s largest city with a population of 3.4 million people (BTM 2007). It is Germany’s most visited city and increasingly becoming a popular tourist destination on an international scale. In 2007, Berlin counted 17.3 million bed nights and 7.6 million hotel guests, of whom 38.3% were foreign (BTM 2008a). This meant an immense rise for the fourth consecutive year and proves that Berlin is a popular city.

Germany is the most important source market for incoming tourists by number, followed by the UK, the US, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain (Table 2.1). In 2007, Berlin noted massive increases in hotel guests from the Baltic States [+ 57%], Ireland [+ 40.1%], Portugal [+35.5%] and Russia [+22%] (BTM 2008a). However, the number of Arab tourists was comparatively very small with only 40.551 overnight stays made, which meant a decrease of 0.9% on the previous year (BTM 2008b).

Table 2.1: Tourist arrivals in Berlin 2007

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Source: BTM 2008b, Amt fuer Statistik Berlin-Brandenburg

Europe wide, Berlin is the 9th most visited city (Hedorfer 2008). What is striking though is that domestic tourists play a particularly high role in Berlin’s tourism industry and represent about 65% of the total visitor numbers. Other European cities, even other German cities such as Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Munich, have a much higher share of foreign tourists (+50%), which raises the question of whether Berlin has an image problem. Many English and Dutch, for example, still associate Germany with war (Smith-Spark 2006) and this might naturally have negative implications on Berlin and its tourism industry, as Germany’s capital.

According to Nerger (cited BTM 2008a), the CEO of Berlin Tourismus Marketing GmbH, Berlin’s aim is to reach 20 million bed nights by 2010. In order to reach this figure, an increased number of international visitors, including Arabs, would need to stimulate Berlin’s tourism industry. Since tourists are believed to visit a destination only if they have a positive image of it (Prebensen 2007), it generally appears reasonable to study Berlin’s image among foreigners. This thesis mainly studies the city’s image among foreigners and might provide information, recommendations and alternatives to enhance the image if required.

2.3 Contemporary Berlin as a tourist destination

Travel guides (Lonely Planet 2008, Travel Smart 2008) indicate Berlin’s attractiveness as a tourist destination. Germany’s capital has undergone vast changes in the past decades and is a ‘thriving, modern and exciting city’ at present (Travel Smart 2008) especially because of the large varieties of activities that appeal to visitors. The city has a lot to offer from cultural events, with numerous historical sites, multi-faceted architecture, brilliant shopping facilities, rich gastronomy and a vivid nightlife. Furthermore, Berlin is quite a green metropolis with 30% of the area covered by parks, lakes etc (BTM 2007). In particular Berlin’s history and the city’s importance during the Cold War, followed by the fall of the Berlin Wall, are of special interest for tourists.

Besides, Berlin is Germany’s most multicultural city and approximately 14% of the population possess a foreign passport (BTM 2007). Most immigrants in Berlin are originally Turkish, so that some districts, such as Kreuzberg are even called ‘Little Istanbul’.

The German stereotype is often considered as unfriendly; however, Berlin and its people differ in this regard. The capital is an amicable and tourist-friendly city according to a study on behalf of Reader’s Digest (Strohmaier 2006) that compared 35 international metropolises in terms of friendliness, in which Berlin came fourth.

Despite Berlin’s growing appeal and its tourism industry’s positive development in recent years, a study conducted by the Swiss bank UBS (FAZ 2008) identified that Berlin is an inexpensive destination compared to other international cities. The city has a major competitive advantage by offering more economically priced lodging in the same hotel categories than many other European cities (Sueddeutsche 2007). Consequently, in conjunction with the destination attributes mentioned above, Berlin can be regarded as a highly attractive tourist place.

2.4 Examination of previous image studies on Germany

The events of the Second World War affect Germany’s image even 60 years later. In some countries, Germany is still associated with features of the war (Geoghegan 2006) and, in the US and Russia, Hitler is the best-known German, for instance (Deutsche Welle 2004). This casts a poor light on present day Germany and, arguably, on its tourism industry and may impinge on foreign people’s image of the nation.

However, the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany induced positive implications on Germany as a tourist destination. Prior to the World Cup, a study of BPB (2005), the Federal Centre for Political Education, revealed that Germany’s image was rather moderate in countries, such as the UK and Poland, for example, whereas Germany was already positively regarded in the Netherlands and Denmark. Yet, the World Cup further inspired Germany’s image across other countries around the world. In the Anholt Nations Brand Index 2007 (see Appendix 2), which measures the image of countries by considering 6 factors namely tourism, people, culture and heritage, exports, governance and investment and immigration, Germany ranks first, which means a massive improvement over the previous couple of years (GNTB 2008, Hedorfer 2008). Germany could above all score high on tourism and exports as well as on culture and heritage; while, in terms of people, the score was rather low. However, it has overtaken countries, such as the UK, Italy, Canada and France which are well-established tourist destinations.

A further image study conducted by the BBC across 22 countries also revealed that Germany’s political image was positive within the Western world; however, in Islamic-coined countries, such as Egypt and Turkey, the image was negative (cited Spiegel 2008). This might be the result of the political situation in the Middle East, because Arabs and other Islam members increasingly consider the Western world as an enemy (Galal et al. 2008). Galal et al. (2008) allege that, since 9/11, there have been many terrible waves between Arabs and Western people, mainly due to the political situation, which plays a major role in the Arab peoples’ image of the West. Although Americans are considered as the main enemy, other Western countries are seen as allies, which might also affect Germany’s image in Arabic nations.

Al-Hamarneh (2006) opposes this notion and claims that Germany has a good image in the Arab world for several reasons. Germany’s anti-war policy during the Iraq crisis impressed Arabs and boosted Germany’s bilateral relations with Arab nations (German Embassy 2008). Furthermore, ‘Made in Germany’ is highly appreciated, as it guarantees high quality. Germany is synonymous with high quality, which explains the nation’s popularity for medical tourists from the Arab world (Al-Hamarneh 2006). However, Germans are also seen as hard-working, innovative, cultivated and helpful people and thus enjoy a good image too. Consequently, Germany seems to enjoy a positive position in the Arab world beyond the political situation.

2.5 Examination of previous image studies of Berlin

10 to 15 years ago, Berlin used to be a city in search of an identity, which projected a battered image, also as a result of huge economic problems (Focus 1994). Berlin has favourably managed its problems though and, nowadays, is one of Europe’s most popular cities for tourists thanks to an image change, not only of Berlin but of Germany as a whole.

Although Berlin is still not mentioned in the same breath as Paris, New York or London (Adjouri 2008), it is increasingly perceived as international. For instance, the C&W/H&B’s European Cities Monitor (cited Clark 2008), which ranks European cities by their business importance, repositioned Berlin on rank 8 in 2005, meaning an improvement of 7 places in comparison to 1990.

In addition, the Anholt City Brands Index 2005 (cited Clark 2008) ranks Berlin’s brand-value within the top ten cities world-wide, which manifests Berlin’s enhanced image. Nevertheless, as already mentioned above, Berlin is still not a big player among international cities, which is further visualised by the GAWC. GAWC (cited Clark 2008) clusters big cities in three different orders, Alpha, Beta and Gamma. Alpha-cities are defined as the most important world cities, Beta-cities are less significant and Gamma-cities are the least important. New York and London, for example, are Alpha-cities; whilst Berlin is a Gamma-city, which shows that, despite Berlin’s recent success in tourism, the city might still not have a world reputation. While places such as London might induce clear images in people’s minds around the world, Berlin’s image might be more distorted the farther away people live from Berlin and this may affect primary research findings of this thesis. Some scholars (Prebensen 2007, Soenmez & Sirakaya 2002) assume that images of distant destinations are rather blurred, especially when the destination is not so known. In this regard, Protestant Europeans and Arabs might display varying images of Berlin, simply because the Arabs’ image of the city could be blurred, especially where pre-visitation image is measured. As will be examined in 3.2, information sources are major influential factors in the image formation process. Since Berlin’s marketing efforts are much higher in Europe than in the Arab world, the likelihood that people’s picture of Berlin is clearer among Europeans than it is among Arabs is increased.

This is also likely regarding BTM’s global marketing strategies. The further away the market is the more focus is put on strategic co-operations, which means Berlin is only represented by third parties in distant places (BTM 2006, p.18). BTM (2006, p.31) splits potential source markets into four different groups (Figure 2.2). Berlin allocates the highest marketing budget to primary markets, while the budget decreases gradually with the lowest budget for basic markets. Consequently, Berlin is much more involved in the UK market, than it is in the Middle East, for example, which might impinge on people’s image of the city.

Figure 2.2: Ranking of markets in correspondence with their importance as source markets

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Source: Berlin Tourismus, Berlin zum Erfolg 2006-2010, p.31

Previous image studies identified that Berlin’s overall image is positive. Within its source markets (Germany, France, UK, Holland, Poland, and USA), Berlin is especially interesting due to its history, its sound accessibility, its cultural offer, its rich gastronomy and its vivid cityscape (Adjouri 2008, Habermann et al. 2006, Maschewski 2008a). The majority of the respondents also mention Berlin’s sound shopping facilities, its multi-cultural ambiance and the great variety of activities as positive attributes, which create an overall pleasant atmosphere for tourists (Habermann et al. 2008). Altogether, most respondents, including young tourists, perceive Berlin as a young, creative, multi-cultural, hospitable and dynamic city, while a small minority also mention interesting architecture as appealing (Adjouri 2008, Flatau 2008, Habermann et al. 2008, Karasek 2003, Maschewski 2008b). Only when considering the attributes of cleanliness and low price levels do a greater number of people disagree. What is more, many tourists are also disappointed to see little of the Berlin Wall remaining, having originally expected more (Maschewski 2008a).

Habermann et al’s (2008) image study is appealing for this thesis, as it was based on about 2,000 respondents, of whom about 20% were under the age of 25. Furthermore, most of them were Germans, Dutch, Americans and British who are representative of Protestant Europe, except for the Americans who are also Protestants. This group exposed slight differences from elder groups in the perception of Berlin, albeit the image was also ‘country of origin-specific’. For example, young people evaluated Berlin’s friendliness of people and security issues lower than elderly people did, whereas older age groups gave smaller scores to cleanliness, but much higher ones in appreciating Berlin’s numerous parks and other green areas (Habermann et al. 2006). Young people appreciated Berlin’s lively nightlife in particular, whereas foreigners were more reserved than Germans. Differences also became apparent in terms of assessing friendliness since Italians evaluated this attribute lower than their counterparts. British and Italians assessed Berlin’s price level as favourable, while Americans agreed to a lesser extent.

2.6 Summary

This chapter has introduced Berlin in various aspects of tourism. It has demonstrated that Berlin has undergone major changes in the last decades, which is why Berlin has become a thriving tourist destination. The capital is a modern city, which offers numerous appealing attributes for tourists. Partly, the success is also due to Germany’s general change towards a positive image from which Berlin also seems to benefit. Regarding Habermann et al’s image study, slight differences became obvious in the perception of Berlin as a tourist destination among different Protestant groups. In aggregate, these differences are too small though to derivate any significant resolutions, nonetheless, they might already indicate that greater differences may exist among varying cultural groups.

Chapter Three: Literature Review I Destination Image

3.1 Introduction

This chapter focuses on an accurate analysis of what destination image is. Firstly, the term will be defined and its complexity exposed. Subsequent to this, the formation of destination image will be examined, as well as the factors that influence an individual’s image formation. In the light of this study, destination image and the influence of cultural factors will be particularly analysed. Furthermore, this chapter presents an effective tool for measuring destination image. Figure 3.1 provides an overview.

Figure 3.1: Chapter overview

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3.2 Defining destination image

Large ranges of marketing literature highlight the enormous importance of destination image (Cooper et al. 2005, Echtner & Brent Ritchie 2003, Frochot & Legohére 2007, p.176, Kim & Richardson 2003). The image of a place is a powerful and vital element in the decision of destination choice for a vacation (Page 2003, Cooper et al. 2005, Frochot & Legohére 2007, p.177). Some researchers consider destination image as the main factor ‘in deciding where to travel’ (Chon 1990, Hunt 1975, Kent 1984, Colton 1987, Telisman-Kosuta 1989 cited Mac Kay & Fesenmaier 2000). Ateljevic (1999, p.193) even claims that image is regularly regarded ‘to be more important than reality’, as mental images form the basis of the holiday planning process and influence it accordingly.

Nevertheless, Chon (1989 cited Lubbe 2004) identifies a further influential factor in the destination selection process. According to him, two pivotal aspects generally motivate a tourist to travel. Firstly, the tourist recognises his or her needs and wants as travel objectives prior to assessing whether the destination can satisfy them. Secondly, the tourist may have developed an image of the destination and consequently evaluates the extent to which the image matches the concept of their holiday. Jenkins (1999) adds a third point that influences a tourist’s travel decision and claims that cognition and behaviour at the destination, as well as the level of satisfaction play a crucial role. Frochot and Legohere (2007, p.183) append that some people might just exclude a certain destination from their list of alternative places to visit, not because they have a negative image of the destination, but simply due to a lack of information and a basic lack of interest. Altogether, this demonstrates that destination image alone does not attract tourists.

Destination image is a vital aspect for destination managers yet it seems difficult to define the term precisely, since the term has been applied in a variety of contexts and disciplines in the past (Zhao 2006). Many researchers avoid an exact definition of it; Pearce (1988 cited Echtner & Brent Ritchie 2003), however, defined the term ‘destination image’ as follows:

‘...image is one of those terms that will not go away...a term with vague and shifting meanings’.

Hunt (1975) and Phelps (1986), on the other hand, consider destination image as:

‘Perceptions held by potential visitors about an area’.

Both definitions expose how the term ‘destination image’ is being used in diverse contexts, although the latter definition is widely applied by most scholars (Crompton 1979, Tourism Canada 1986-1989, Gartner & Hunt 1987, Calantone et al. 1989 cited Echtner & Brent Ritchie 2003). Destination image is frequently summarised as a ‘totality of impressions, beliefs, ideas, expectations, and feelings accumulated towards a place over time’ (Kim & Richardson 2003, Lubbe 2004). Coshall (2000) also believes in destination image being ‘a series of perceptual beliefs, ideas and impressions of a destination’ which are influenced by several factors, such as past promotions, reputation, opinions of tour operators, and peer evaluation. This, in turn, shows that the difficulties in defining destination image might be due to the term’s complexity, which is examined next.

3.2.1 Destination image’s complexity

The definitions mentioned in the previous section appear to be vague and inexplicit. Echtner and Brent Ritchie (2003) criticise that destination image is often purely explained as ‘impressions of a place’ or ‘perceptions of an area’. The majority of researchers and their definitions merely consider destination image in terms of attributes and indicate unclear features regarding whether they include holistic or attribute-based components of image. Holistic components have recently gained more importance within the topic of destination image (Echtner & Brent Ritchie 2003).

For instance, Lubbe (2004) recognises that destination image is constructed of more than merely the attributes of a destination. He claims that a destination and an individual have a personal relationship, which stimulates the individual to create a particular picture of the destination and to assess whether the destination can fulfil his needs and expectations. Hence, the term ‘destination image’ is increasingly characterised by statements, such as ‘ the total impression a place makes on the mind of others’ (Reilly 1990 cited Echtner & Brent Ritchie 2003). According to Um and Crompton (1990 cited Echtner & Brent Ritchie 2003), destination image can be seen as a ‘gestalt’ or a ‘holistic construct’. Pearce (1988, p.163) adds by signifying that the term ‘destination image’ often portrays ‘an overall mental picture’; nonetheless, each individual may perceive certain factors differently.

Beerli and Martin (2004) prove that destination image is a complex area of marketing. They state that most recent studies view destination image in consideration of two interrelated components. Firstly, perceptive/cognitive components relate to the individual’s knowledge and beliefs of the place whilst, secondly, the individual also has an emotional interpretation of the place which reflects his feeling towards it. When both factors combine, they form a general destination image which will either be positive or negative (Baloglu & McCleary 1999). Stern and Krakover (1993 cited Beerli & Martin 2004) scientifically proved that affective components severely influence perceptive/cognitive components. Consequently, an individual’s general feeling towards a place appears to be highly influential for the evaluation of other destination attributes.

Similarly, Beerli and Martin (2004) and Echtner and Brent Ritchie (2003) also interrelate two components concerning destination image, which they call attribute-based and holistic continuum. Attribute-based components are measurable characteristics, such as scenery, attractions, accommodation facilities and price levels, while holistic components rather consider intangible characteristics, such as friendliness, safety and atmosphere. Echtner and Brent Ritchie (2003) suggest that Martineau’s notion of ‘functional and psychological characteristics’ might be related to destination images in this context, since they play a crucial role in establishing the image of an entity. While functional characteristics are classified as ‘directly observable or measurable’ (e.g. prices), psychological characteristics cannot be objectively measured (e.g. friendliness, atmosphere).

Figure 3.2: An illustrative example of the four components of destination image

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Source: The Journal of Tourism Studies 2003. 14 (1), p. 43

Echtner and Brent Ritchie (2003) propose the inclusion of these components in a measurement tool for image. Consequently, as shown in figure 3.2, to measure the perceptions of people towards a destination, consideration of the following attributes and characteristics is suggested:



ISBN (eBook)
1.2 MB
Institution / Hochschule
Bournemouth University – Service Management School, European Tourism Management
2008 (Oktober)
marketing destination image cultural segmentation berlin



Titel: Destination Image - Do Berlin´s tourist authorities have to consider cultural segmentation when developing marketing strategies relating to the place´s image in an era that refers to the global tourist?