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Destination Familiarity, Awareness and Image of Bulgaria among U.S. College Students and Their Intent to Travel

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022347/00001

Material Information

Title: Destination Familiarity, Awareness and Image of Bulgaria among U.S. College Students and Their Intent to Travel
Physical Description: 1 online resource (186 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Roberts, Kristina
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Recreation, Parks, and Tourism thesis, M.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: As travelers become more sophisticated destinations need to become more creative in capturing those tourists. Images have been shown to be critical to the tourism development of destinations. Related to image constructs are destination awareness, familiarity, and intent to visit. The purpose of this study was to examine the awareness, familiarity, images of Bulgaria held by U.S. college students and their intent to travel. Bulgaria is a little known country among Americans. As a potential tourist destination it needs to create a brand to compete in the global tourism marketplace. Several variables identified in the literature that may affect an individual's image, familiarity, and intent to visit a destination, including prior international travel experience, tourist role preference, and gender were also examined. This investigation drew upon several theories: Theory of Reasoned Action, Theory of Planned Behavior, and marketing theories related to Awareness-Interest-Desire-Action (AIDA) sequence. A one group pre-test post-test experimental design was used where the participants filled out a part of a questionnaire, then they were shown a map of Bulgaria, watched two videos about Bulgaria and completed the post-test questionnaire. Results showed that students had minimal knowledge of Bulgaria before the intervention, even though the majority had heard of the country. Not surprisingly, some of their images were inaccurate. In addition, the variables prior international travel experience, prior travel to Europe, tourist role preference and gender did not influence the students' awareness, level of familiarity, image and intent to travel. However, there were significant differences in both types of familiarity: self-rated and knowledge-based when responses before and after the intervention were compared. Familiarity greatly improved after the intervention. In addition, overall image, the five image categories (Atmosphere; Culture, History and Art; Infrastructure; Natural Resources and Environment and Tourist Attributes) and 28 of the 36 image items significantly improved after the intervention. A multiple regression model revealed that overall image, and both types of familiarity were not good predictors of intent to visit Bulgaria in the next five years. Results are interpreted in line with the theoretical framework, previous research, practical implications and recommendations for future research. For example, one implication is that Bulgaria will benefit from building a brand emphasizing its unique attractions, cultural heritage, and characteristics. Bulgaria is not a well known country, therefore, a promotional campaign might increase the level of awareness of the country, especially if Bulgaria is to become a country in individuals' evoked sets.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Kristina Roberts.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Gibson, Heather J.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2010-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022347:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022347/00001

Material Information

Title: Destination Familiarity, Awareness and Image of Bulgaria among U.S. College Students and Their Intent to Travel
Physical Description: 1 online resource (186 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Roberts, Kristina
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Recreation, Parks, and Tourism thesis, M.S.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: As travelers become more sophisticated destinations need to become more creative in capturing those tourists. Images have been shown to be critical to the tourism development of destinations. Related to image constructs are destination awareness, familiarity, and intent to visit. The purpose of this study was to examine the awareness, familiarity, images of Bulgaria held by U.S. college students and their intent to travel. Bulgaria is a little known country among Americans. As a potential tourist destination it needs to create a brand to compete in the global tourism marketplace. Several variables identified in the literature that may affect an individual's image, familiarity, and intent to visit a destination, including prior international travel experience, tourist role preference, and gender were also examined. This investigation drew upon several theories: Theory of Reasoned Action, Theory of Planned Behavior, and marketing theories related to Awareness-Interest-Desire-Action (AIDA) sequence. A one group pre-test post-test experimental design was used where the participants filled out a part of a questionnaire, then they were shown a map of Bulgaria, watched two videos about Bulgaria and completed the post-test questionnaire. Results showed that students had minimal knowledge of Bulgaria before the intervention, even though the majority had heard of the country. Not surprisingly, some of their images were inaccurate. In addition, the variables prior international travel experience, prior travel to Europe, tourist role preference and gender did not influence the students' awareness, level of familiarity, image and intent to travel. However, there were significant differences in both types of familiarity: self-rated and knowledge-based when responses before and after the intervention were compared. Familiarity greatly improved after the intervention. In addition, overall image, the five image categories (Atmosphere; Culture, History and Art; Infrastructure; Natural Resources and Environment and Tourist Attributes) and 28 of the 36 image items significantly improved after the intervention. A multiple regression model revealed that overall image, and both types of familiarity were not good predictors of intent to visit Bulgaria in the next five years. Results are interpreted in line with the theoretical framework, previous research, practical implications and recommendations for future research. For example, one implication is that Bulgaria will benefit from building a brand emphasizing its unique attractions, cultural heritage, and characteristics. Bulgaria is not a well known country, therefore, a promotional campaign might increase the level of awareness of the country, especially if Bulgaria is to become a country in individuals' evoked sets.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Kristina Roberts.
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Gibson, Heather J.
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO UF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE UNTIL 2010-08-31

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022347:00001


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DESTINATION FAMILIARITY, AWARENESS AND IMAGE OF BULGARIA AMONG
U.S. COLLEGE STUDENTS AND THEIR INTENT TO TRAVEL




















By

KRISTINA IVANOVA ROBERTS


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2008

































2008 Kristina Ivanova Roberts


































To my loving husband, parents, sister, and professors without whom I would not have been able
to succeed in this endeavor









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This study was accomplished with the help of many individuals. First and foremost it was

conceived and accomplished with the endless help of my committee chair Dr. Heather Gibson,

whose tireless guidance, encouragement, support, and valuable feedback enabled me to complete

it. Thanks go to Dr. Lori Pennington-Gray for her help, feedback, and making my experience as

a master's student more valuable. I thank Dr. Jorge Villegas, my external committee member

whose consumer behavior class, feedback and statistical assistance helped me tremendously in

completing this study. I thank Dr. Petia Kostadonova who also had input in the beginning stages

of this project. Thanks go to our interim department chair Dr. James Zhang and to Dr. Ariel

Rodriguez both of whom assisted with statistical advice as well as to the participants from Dr.

Rodriguez's class. Thanks go to Dr. Charles Lane who provided me with the opportunity to

survey in his class and to several graduate students who have assisted me in various ways,

including providing me with feedback, materials, or surveys in their class: Ivana Simic, Luis

Suau, Chul Jeong, Seohee Chang, Chenchen Huang, Soo Hyun Jun, and Sung-Jin Kang. I thank

my friends for their encouragement and for cheering me up. Most of all thanks go to my husband

whose support has made this journey easier. I thank my parents and sister, for believing in me

and for their encouragement.









TABLE OF CONTENTS



A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ..............................................................................................................4

L IST O F T A B L E S ......................................................................................................... ........ .. 9

LIST OF FIGURES ............................................. .. ......... ............ ................ 11

A B S T R A C T .......................................................................................................... ..................... 12

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION .................................... .. ........... ..................................... 14

State ent of the Problem ............. .. .................. .................. .. ......................... ............... 18
B u lg a ria ...................... ... ...... ........................................................................................... 1 8
Previous Studies Relating to Bulgaria....................................................................19
T heoretical F ram ew ork ................................................. ............................................ 27
Theory of Reasoned Action .................................................................. ................ 27
T heory of P planned B ehavior........................................... ......................... ................ 32
Linking Awareness and Initial Purchase .................................................................... 33
Socio-demographic Factors, Tourist Role and Travel Experience...............................36
Purpose of the Study .................................. .. .......... ............................. 38
R research Q u estion s ......................................................................................................... 3 9
P re-test R research Q question 1 ......................................................................... ................ 39
P re-test R research Q question 2 .......................................... ......................... ................ 39
P ost-test R research Q question 2 ......................................... ........................ ................ 39
Pre-test R research Q question 3 ................................................................... ................ 40
P ost-test R research Q question 3 ......................................... ........................ ................ 40
R research Q question 4 ............... .. .................. .................. .......................... ................. 40
R research Q u estion 5 ........................................................................................................ 4 0

2 R E V IEW O F L ITERA TIR E ... ........................................................................... ............... 42

D estin action F am iliarity .............. ............................................................................................ 42
D destination A w areness .............. ............................................................................................ 46
D efinitions of A w areness .. ...................................................................... ................ 47
A w areness and Fam iliarity ..................................................................... ................ 48
A w areness and D destination Im age ............................................................. ................ 49
A w areness and Intention ..................... ...................................................................... 51
Awareness and Socio-demographics ..................... ...... ......................... ...............52
Information Sources, Familiarity, Awareness, Image and Choice...............................53
D e stin atio n Im ag e ................................................................................................................ ... 5 6
D destination Im age D efinitions......................................... ........................ ................ 57
Im age C om ponents ............... .. .................. .................. ............ ........ .... ... ........... 58
Im ag e F o rm atio n ............................................................................................................. 6 0









Image and Awareness ........................ .. .......... ............................. 62
Im age and Sociodem ographics..................................... ........................ ................ 63
In te n t to T rav e l .......................................................................................................................6 5
D definition of Intention ................................................... ...................... ..... ... ...... .......... ..... 65
Relationships of Intention, Destination Familiarity, Awareness, and Image...............65
Intention and Socio-dem graphics ..................................... ..................... ................ 68
P rior T ravel E experience ............... .. .................. .................. ............ ........ .... ............... 69
T ou rist R oles ......................................................................................................... ....... .. 7 1
Sum m ary .............................................................................................. ......... 78

3 M E T H O D S ........................................................................................................... ....... .. 8 1

D ata C collection .................................................................................................... ........ .. 8 1
Instrum ent ................... ... .................................................................................. . 83
O perationalization of V ariables........................................ ....................... ................ 83
P articip an ts ........................................................................................................... ....... .. 8 6
D ata A n aly sis ................ ... ................... ..... .......................................................... ......... 87
Participants' Demographics, Travel Experiences, and Tourist Roles and
Information Sources ................. .. ........... ......................................87
A analysis of the R research Q questions ........................................................... ................ 88
P re-test R research Q question 1 ......................................................................... ................ 88
P re-test R research Q question 2 .......................................... ......................... ................ 88
P ost-test R research Q question 2 ......................................... ........................ ................ 89
Pre-test R research Q question 3 ................................................................... ................ 90
P ost-test R research Q question 3 ......................................... ........................ ................ 9 1
R research Q question 4 ............... .. .................. .................. .......................... ................. 92
R research Q u estion 5 ........................................................................................................ 92

4 R E SU L T S ............................................................................................................. ........ .. 9 5

A w aren ess ...................... ............. ......................................................................... ........ .. 9 5
P re-test R research Q question 1 ...................................................................... ................ 95
la. What is the level of awareness of Bulgaria as a tourist destination among
U .S. college students? .......................................... ................. ... ... .. .......... .... 95
lb. Does the level of awareness vary by previous international travel
ex p erien ce? ........... .......... .... .................. ............................................. 9 5
Ic. Does the level of awareness vary by tourist role preference? ............................97
Id. Does level of awareness differ by gender?....................................................98
F am iliarity ...................... .. ................................................................................... . 99
P re-test R research Q question 2 ............................................................... ..... .................. 99
2a. What is the level of familiarity with Bulgaria among U.S. college students?.... 99
2b. Does familiarity vary by previous international travel experience?................99
2c. Does familiarity vary by tourist role preference?.................. ................... 101
2d. Does familiarity differ by gender? ...................................102
P ost-test R research Q question 2 .................................................................. .................. 103
2e. Following the intervention, what is the participants' level of familiarity and
is it different from familiarity before the intervention?.................................103









2f. What influence does previous international experience have on the level of
fam iliarity follow ing the intervention?.......................................... ............... 104
2g. What influence does tourist role preference have on the level of familiarity
follow ing the intervention? ........................................................... ................ 105
2h. What influence does gender have on the level of familiarity following the
in terv en tio n ? ....................................................................................................... 10 6
Im a g e ................ ............................... .......................................................... ........ . ....... 1 0 7
Pre-test R research Q question 3 .............. ................. ................ .. .. ....................... 107
3a. What organic and overall images of Bulgaria do U.S. college students
h o ld ? ............ .... ................. ...... .................................................................. ... 1 0 7
3b. Does the overall organic image vary by previous international travel
experience? ...................................... ... .......... ....... .................. ............. 108
3c. Does the overall organic image vary by tourist role preference? .................. 109
3d. Does the overall organic image vary by gender? .................. ...................109
Post-test Research Question 3 ................... ... ................ ........................ 110
3e. Following the intervention, do the induced and overall induced images held
by U.S. college students vary from their organic images? ...............................110
3f. Does the induced overall image vary by previous international travel
ex p erien ce? .......................................... ........ ....... ... ................... .......... . 111
3g. Does the induced overall image vary by tourist role preference? ..................112
3h. Does the induced overall image vary by gender?.................. .................. 112
Intent ........................................................................................................... 113
R research Q question 4 ................................................................... .................... ........ .. 113
4a. What are the travel intentions of U.S. college students towards Bulgaria as
a vacation destination after the intervention? ................................ ................ 113
4b. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria in the next five years vary by
previous international travel experience? .................................... .................. 114
4c. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria vary by tourist role preference? ...114
4d. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria vary by gender? .........................115
Research Question 5 ...................... ................................... 115
5a. Following the intervention, what is the relationship among overall induced
image of Bulgaria among U.S. college students, their familiarity levels (both
self-rated and knowledge-based) and intent to travel in the next five years?..... 115
S u m m ary ..................................................................................................... .................... 1 16

5 DISCUSSION AND CONLCUSION ..........................................................130

F am iliarity .................................................................................................... 130
A w areness ................................................................................................... 137
Im a g e ......................................................................................................... ........ . ....... 14 0
In ten t ....................................................................................... .. ............... .................. 14 7
Im p lic atio n s ............................................. ................................................... ..................... 1 5 5
Recommendations for Future Research...... ............. ............ ..................... 157
L im station s .............................................................................. ............. .................. 15 8
D elim stations ............................................................................. ..... ..................... 159
Conclusions ............................................................................. 160









APPENDIX

SU R V E Y IN ST R U M E N T ........................................................................................................... 163

L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S ....................................................... ................................................ 173

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H .................................................... ............................................. 186
















































8









LIST OF TABLES


Table page

3-1 Participants' demographic characteristics and tourist role preference (N=82)...............94

4-1 International and European prior travel experience and awareness of Bulgaria ...........118

4-2 Odds ratio of an individual who was aware of Bulgaria and who has traveled to
E urope ........................................................................................... .......... 118

4-3 Percentage of students who were aware of Bulgaria according to tourist role
p referen ce ...................................................................................................... ....... .. 1 19

4-4 Self-rated familiarity level before and after intervention ..................... ...................119

4-5 Familiarity differences and previous travel experience before the intervention............119

4-6 Familiarity and previous European travel experience before the intervention............. 120

4-7 One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist role on familiarity levels before
in te rv e n tio n .................................................................................................................. .... 1 2 0

4-8 Differences in familiarity levels before and after intervention...................................120

4-9 Familiarity levels and previous international travel experience after intervention.......... 121

4-10 Familiarity levels and previous European travel experience................ ...................121

4-11 One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist role on self- rated familiarity
levels after intervention........................... .......... ........................ 121

4-12 One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist role on knowledge-based
fam iliarity levels after intervention....................................................... ............... 122

4-13 Comparisons of tourist role by familiarity level....... ... ...................................... 122

4-14 Destination images of Bulgaria before and after intervention...................................123

4-15 Overall image of Bulgaria and previous international travel experience before
in te rv e n tio n .................................................................................................................. .... 1 2 5

4-16 Overall image of Bulgaria and previous European travel experience before
in te rv e n tio n .................................................................................................................. .... 1 2 5

4-17 One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist role on overall image before
in te rv e n tio n .................................................................................................................. .... 1 2 5

4-18 Overall image differences before and after intervention ...................... ...................126









4-19. Overall image and previous international travel experience after intervention...............126

4-20 Overall image and previous European travel experience after intervention................. 126

4-21 One-way analysis of variance for effects of a tourist role on overall image after
in te rv e n tio n .................................................................................................................. .... 1 2 6

4-22 Overall image among the four tourist roles after intervention...................................127

4-23 Intent to travel after intervention ................. ......................................................... 127

4-24 Travel intentions and previous international travel experience after intervention ........128

4-25 Travel intentions and previous European travel experience after intervention .............128

4-26 One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist role on intent to travel after
in te rv e n tio n .................................................................................................................. .... 1 2 8

4-27 Summary of regression analysis for variable predicting intent to visit bulgaria in the
next 5 years (N = 80) .............. .............. ..................................................... .. .. ..... 129










LIST OF FIGURES


Figure


1-1 Factors determining a person's behavior...................................................................... 30


page









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

DESTINATION FAMILIARITY, AWARENESS AND IMAGE OF BULGARIA AMONG
U.S. COLLEGE STUDENTS AND THEIR INTENT TO TRAVEL

By

Kristina Ivanova Roberts

August 2008

Chair: Heather Gibson
Major: Recreation, Parks, and Tourism

As travelers become more sophisticated destinations need to become more creative in

capturing those tourists. Images have been shown to be critical to the tourism development of

destinations. Related to image constructs are destination awareness, familiarity, and intent to

visit.

The purpose of this study was to examine the awareness, familiarity, images of Bulgaria

held by U.S. college students and their intent to travel. Bulgaria is a little known country among

Americans. As a potential tourist destination it needs to create a brand to compete in the global

tourism marketplace. Several variables identified in the literature that may affect an individual's

image, familiarity, and intent to visit a destination, including prior international travel

experience, tourist role preference, and gender were also examined. This investigation drew

upon several theories: Theory of Reasoned Action, Theory of Planned Behavior, and marketing

theories related to Awareness Interest Desire Action (AIDA) sequence.

A one group pre-test post-test experimental design was used where the participants filled

out a part of a questionnaire, then they were shown a map of Bulgaria, watched two videos about

Bulgaria and completed the post-test questionnaire. Results showed that students had minimal

knowledge of Bulgaria before the intervention, even though the majority had heard of the









country. Not surprisingly, some of their images were inaccurate. In addition, the variables prior

international travel experience, prior travel to Europe, tourist role preference and gender did not

influence the students' awareness, level of familiarity, image and intent to travel. However,

there were significant differences in both types of familiarity self-rated and knowledge-based

when responses before and after the intervention were compared. Familiarity greatly improved

after the intervention. In addition, overall image, the five image categories (Atmosphere;

Culture, History and Art; Infrastructure; Natural Resources and Environment and Tourist

Attributes) and 28 out of the 36 image items significantly improved after the intervention. A

multiple regression model revealed that overall image, and both types of familiarity were not

good predictors of intent to visit Bulgaria in the next five years. Results are interpreted in line

with the theoretical framework, previous research, practical implications and recommendations

for future research. For example, one implication is that Bulgaria will benefit from building a

brand emphasizing its unique attractions, cultural heritage, and characteristics. Bulgaria is not a

well known country, therefore, a promotional campaign might increase the level of awareness of

the country, especially if Bulgaria is to become a country in individuals' evoked sets.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Tourism is one of the largest industries worldwide and an important export industry for

many countries. In 2006 tourism accounted for $733 billion (WTO, Tourism highlights 2007

edition). International arrivals in 2006 totaled 846 million and have grown continuously since

the 1950s, with the only notable decreases occurring in the years following the September 11

attacks in 2001 (WTO, Tourism highlights 2007 edition). Tourism has become a leading

industry in many countries and as such constitutes a major social and economic force in the

world (Goeldner, Ritchie, & McIntosh, 1999).

As tourists have become more sophisticated consumers (Moutinho, 1987) and as the

availability of destinations has increased (Goodall, 1991), it is critical to understand how tourists

make decisions, what motivates them to go to certain destinations and not others. Mountinho

explained that social and economic factors influence patterns and trends in travel and tourism on

a regional, national, and international scale. In addition, Goodall pointed out that more

destinations and a wider choice of activities are available to the consumer today. Therefore,

destinations must employ strategies that will position them in the minds of the targeted

consumers and differentiate them from their competitors. Central to the success of a country in

the global tourism marketplace is differentiation. Morgan, Pritchard, and Piggott (2003)

emphasized that many destinations' accommodations, attractions, and services are no longer

sufficient to differentiate one destination from another and indicated that all countries claim to

have unique heritage and cultural resources. "As a result, the need for destinations to portray a

unique identity is more critical than ever. Indeed, it has become the basis for survival within a

globally competitive marketplace..." (p. 286).









Likewise, understanding 'who goes where and why' as Goodall (1991) suggested is critical

to the success of destinations. The answer to such questions involves on the one hand an

examination of the product and its attributes, positioning, branding of, and images destinations

want to portray and, on the other, the process of tourist decision making for selecting

destinations. The decision making process is influenced by components such as tourist

perceptions, familiarity, preferences, images, personal motivations, information search behavior,

and so forth (Fakeye & Crompton, 1991; Goodall, 1991; Milman & Pizam, 1995; Woodside &

Lysonski, 1989). In other words, both cognitive and affective processes take place before a

traveler makes a decision as to where he/she will vacation.

A significant amount of research in tourism behavior has been conducted over the last 30

or so years and includes concepts such as awareness, image, preferences, information search,

destination choice process, intentions, satisfaction and repeat visits related to the choice process.

Other fields such as psychology, sociology, economics, geography, and marketing have explored

consumer behavior related to travel. These studies have shown that many factors influence the

formation of destination images (Baloglu & McCleary, 1999a; Beerli & Martin, 2004; Gartner,

1993; Gunn, 1972; Milman & Pizam, 1995; Stern & Krakover, 1993; Walmsley & Jenkins,

1993) and the process of selecting a vacation destination (Crompton & Ankomah, 1993; Goodall,

1991, Gunn, 1997; Moutinho, 1987; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). According to Gunn (1997)

the most important factor in the decision making process is the organic image (formed from

information not disseminated by the destination), which individuals hold of a destination. Gunn

(1972) emphasized that perhaps children's geography and history books are most important in

the shaping of early images. In addition, awareness plays a significant role in the decision

making process. Awareness is described as whether an individual has heard of a product or









place (Milman & Pizam, 1995). A product or service cannot be selected if a person is not aware

of its existence and in terms of travel, whether this product or service can meet the needs of the

traveler. Ehrenberg (1974) stated that before individuals can have an interest in a product, they

need to be first aware of that brand or product. Familiarity is another concept discussed

primarily by marketers, however, in more recent years familiarity has attracted the attention of

tourism scholars. How familiar a person is with a destination, whether from knowledge about

the destination from an actual visit, by information received from family and friends or media,

for example, has been examined in several studies (Baloglu, 2001; Kim & Richardson, 2003;

Milman & Pizam, 1995; Prentice, 2004; Prentice & Andersen, 2000). Therefore, familiarity with

a destination is different from awareness. Familiarity is conceptualized as individuals having

some knowledge about a destination (which maybe detailed or very little) whereas, awareness

implies whether individuals have heard of the existence of a product or a destination.

Before a selection is made for a vacation destination, an individual is involved in the

complex process of decision making, which involves information search, evaluating alternatives

and eliminating choices from a total opportunity set. The decision making process models have

been extensively discussed in the literature (Crompton, 1992; Goodall, 1991, Moutinho, 1987;

Um & Crompton, 1990; Woodside & Lysonksi, 1989). These models present a staged process

which is eventually completed with the selection of one destination. The vacation choice process

involves several steps, which apply to the various models according to Goodall (1991). First, the

process starts with the question of whether to take a vacation (in which various motivations are

involved). After a decision is made to travel, the individual engages in information search,

which can vary in extensiveness. The evaluation of alternatives follows, after which the traveler

makes a choice. Finally, the vacation experience is evaluated and in this step feedback is









provided to the beginning stages of the process and can be used in future holiday decision

making.

This decision making process has many components. Destination awareness has been

shown to be a critical component in tourist choice and behavior (Milman & Pizam, 1995;

Woodside & Lysonski, 1989; Woodside & Sherrell, 1977). An individual forms awareness and

images of places from internal or external information about the different destinations. This

information, along with other factors such as preferences, personal needs, and motivations, goals

(Goodall, 1991) helps individuals evaluate destinations and eliminate some places from

consideration. Eventually, an individual will decide which destination to visit in a specified time

frame, which forms intent to visit. This, however, does not represent an actual travel behavior.

Travel behavior will only occur with the purchase of a travel product or service such as booking

an airplane ticket or a hotel. However, intent may not always lead to behavior as will be

discussed in chapter 2.

As the literature on destination awareness, familiarity, image, and intent to travel has

developed and their relationship within the decision making process has been established it will

be important to see how these constructs can be measured on less known destinations with

tourism potential. One of those destinations is Bulgaria. Knowing the level of familiarity,

awareness and images of potential travelers toward a specific destination can assist marketers in

the process of marketing their destination. Moreover, based on Goodall and Ashworth's (1988)

argument that destinations are aiming to create favorable images it can be concluded that

knowing what influences the destination image in the minds of consumers will help marketers

design targeted promotional campaigns aimed at specific markets. In addition, marketers can









determine if the images they desire to portray match the existing images of potential travelers,

and if a discrepancy exists, the subsequent promotional efforts can be changed.

Statement of the Problem

Bulgaria

Bulgaria is located in the Southeastern Balkan Peninsula. Its territory is 110, 910 sq km

(approximately 42,800 sq mi) with population of approximately 7.97 million. To the east the

country borders the Black Sea and the length of the coastline is 354 km. Bulgaria borders to the

South Turkey and Greece, to the Southwest Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, to the

West Serbia and to the North the River Danube serves as most of the border with Romania.

Human inhabitation on its territory has been dated to the Paleolithic Period (100,000-40,000

BC). Later, in the Neolithic Period agriculture developed and in the Bronze age Thracian tribes

occupied its territory. The Roman Empire also reached the Balkan Peninsula and numerous

ruins serve as a witness to this era. Bulgaria is one of the oldest European nations founded in

681 AD after proto-Bulgarians settled the lands that were predominantly occupied by Slav tribes

and some Thracians. It was also one of the first European countries to accept Christianity as an

official religion (started in 864 AD). The Byzantine Empire also left its mark and Bulgaria was

under its rule for more than a century during the 11th and 12th centuries. Since 1396 until 1878

Bulgaria was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria actually remained dependent on

the Ottoman Empire until 1908 when it fully gained independence. Until 1944 when the

communist party took over, Bulgaria was a monarchy. During that period of independence

Bulgaria developed its economy with initial accumulation of capital. Due to its geopolitical

location on the crossroads of major routes from the West to the Middle East and Asia and the

history of the peoples occupying it, Bulgaria has influences from various cultures that Bulgarians

have interacted with over the millennia. As a result a unique rich cultural heritage and traditions









were formed. Ancient Thracian customs, for example are still seen in today's Bulgaria. Due to

its location and abundance of natural resources (sea, mountains) the country has developed

traditional forms of tourism. Its rich cultural heritage also offers potential for tourism

development and attracting culturally minded travelers. The combination of natural resources,

unique culture, history, and tourist products are conditions that Bulgaria can emphasize in

positioning itself as a destination in the global marketplace and creating a brand and an image to

the outside world.

Previous studies relating to Bulgaria

Bulgaria is not well known to many people in the U.S. Therefore, it was postulated that

awareness of Bulgaria as a tourist destination would be lower than some of the more traditional

international vacation destinations frequented by U.S. travelers. The author is not aware of any

studies that have examined the familiarity, awareness, image and intent to travel to Bulgaria by

foreign, including US residents. In fact, Hughes and Allen (2008) confirmed that there are not

many studies on images of Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. Hall with some

colleagues has written extensively on economic development and issues related to tourism in

CEE and the Balkan states (Hall, 1991, 1992, 1998, 2004; Hall and Danta, 1996). When

examining the image of Turkey in relation to destination choice, Sirakaya, Sonmez, and Choi

(2001) emphasized that "the need for image research is especially pronounced for emerging

tourist destinations in developing countries" (p. 126). In addition to Turkey, a number of studies

have been completed relating to the image of other European countries, including Finland

(Haahti, 1986, Haahti & Yavas, 1983), Ireland (Prentice & Andersen, 2000), and Norway

(Prebensen, 2005, 2007). Baloglu, (2001) also examined the image of Turkey. Together with

McCleary they discussed the images of four Mediterranean countries Turkey, Greece, Italy,

and Egypt (Baloglu & McCleary, 1999b). Baloglu and Mangaloglu (2001) also discussed the









images of those four Mediterranean countries in the minds of U.S. tour operators and travel

agents. Several studies on tourism in Bulgaria have mentioned image and branding, but no in-

depth discussion was found by the author linking awareness, image and intent to travel.

Balaz and Mitsutake (1998) focused on the Japanese tourist market in four Central

European countries- the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland. Since the end of

communism in 1989, Central and Eastern Europe have been one of the fastest growing tourist

regions in terms of international arrivals and tourist receipts. They explained that the Japanese

market is lucrative for two reasons: it is considered one of the largest markets and Japanese

tourists spend more money on average compared to other tourists. The importance of gaining

knowledge of how Western tourists perceive the countries from Eastern Europe is significant to

marketers (McCleary & Whitney, 1994). According McCleary and Whitney who used a Delphi

method to identify western consumer attitudes toward travel to Central and Eastern European

countries, Bulgaria and Romania lacked marketing ability, among other issues. Even though the

authors recognized that the Delphi method has limitations, the authors suggested it can be used to

gain insight into consumer attitudes and help with tourism development and marketing.

McCleary and Whitney's primary recommendations for Bulgaria and Romania were the need to

create a plan for image modification and strategies to develop tourism products and improve

distribution systems. Similarly, Koulov (1996) pointed out that the image of Bulgaria was

affected negatively in the mid-1990s during the period of political instability and severe

economic hardships. Hall (2004) also emphasized the importance of creating a brand for

countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Moreover, he identified specific obstacles, one

of which is inadequate funding. In addition, these countries have been associated with lower

quality and limited variety of products.









In a more recent study Hughes and Allen (2008) used qualitative analysis to evaluate the

images of 15 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries among 34 British visitors and non-

visitors. Due to the large number of countries in this study individual details could not be

provided specifically for each country, including Bulgaria. The two authors were interested in

holistic images of the countries, however, they also asked participants to point out unique

attractions, which they found difficult. Wine emerged as a unique feature for Bulgaria with most

often mentioned attractions were those of Prague, Czech Republic such as the Wenceslas Square,

Charles Bride and others. In general there was a distinction made between countries in Eastern

and Western part of the region. War and political turmoil were characteristics of the eastern part

and culture of the western. The region was also described as "depressed" and "bleak". In

addition, history and heritage were often used by non-visitors to describe the CEE countries and

culture was used by both groups. Non-visitors emphasized that availability of more information

and promotion would motivate them to visit.

Tourism has been a priority industry for Bulgaria over the last 30 years and Bulgaria has

become a major sun, sea, and sand destination for westerners and primarily visitors from the

former Soviet block countries and the former USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). In

1990, approximately 80% of the overnight international stays were made by travelers from other

communist European countries and the Soviet Union (Bachvarov, 1997). Carter (1991) showed

that for the period 1964 until 1987 West Germany was the primary western European market,

followed by France, Great Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Italy. For example, West

Germany accounted for approximately 100,000 tourists in 1987. Winter tourism has also

become popular. Bulgaria has a favorable climate and mountains for winter sports. Winter

tourism started developing in the 1960s with several resorts. The cost of skiing in Bulgaria has









been less than in other European areas such as the Alps. However, many more opportunities

exist for tourism in Bulgaria such as cultural and heritage tourism, ecotourism, rural tourism,

mountaineering and hiking, spa and balneothermal therapy tourism (Bachvarov, 1997, 2006;

Hall, 1998; Petreas, 2006). These other forms of tourism in addition to the traditional seaside

and winter tourism, which are highly concentrated seasonally and geographically in terms of

number of visitors, overnights stays (Bachvarov, 1997) and, therefore, expenditures can be used

to spread the tourist flows more evenly throughout the year. Goeldner et al. (1999) emphasized

the importance of cultural and educational travel (including, meetings and conventions, some arts

and cultural tourism) as so-called "out-of-season" tourism, which is not dependent on weather

and can be developed to boost tourism in the traditional off-season months.

Cultural tourism can be of significant importance to destinations with rich cultural and

historical heritage such as Bulgaria and, therefore, can attract foreign visitors. For example, even

though many countries are known for their cultural attractions, Bulgaria can differentiate itself

by focusing on some unique aspects such as Orthodox churches and monasteries. Together with

the rich folklore traditions (Bachvarov, 2006) this can serve as an attractive combination to

explore the lesser known parts of the country and to diversify Bulgaria's tourism product.

Thus, while Bulgaria's international tourist flow has been increasing since the 1960's, a

period which marked the development of tourism along the Black Sea coast and several

mountain resorts, the tourist flow in the 1990s consisted primarily of transit or day-visitors

(Paskaleva & Kaleynska, 2001). According to Bachvarov (1997) international visitors reached

approximately 8 million in 1989 and 10 million in 1990 (which was the highest ever) after which

the numbers declined in the mid-1990s. In 2006 7.5 million international travelers visited

Bulgaria, of which 4.4 million came as pleasure travelers. However, as of 2006 only 5% of the









tourists on a package vacation to the Black Sea visited the interior of the country where cultural

and other sites abound (Bachvarov, 2006). Therefore, there is an opportunity to develop other

forms of tourism in addition to the sun and ski forms already in existence. Certainly, in studies

of the average cultural tourist, such travelers tend to be over 35 years old, well educated and with

a higher socio-economic status (Mintel, 1993), empty nest professionals with higher incomes and

as such may constitute a lucrative market (Berroll, 1981). According to Mintel the younger

generation, those between ages 20-24 were likely to be cultural non-visitors.

Currently, the Bulgarian State Agency for Tourism in its Strategic plan for the

development of tourism in the period 2006-2009, which is a European Union (EU) PHARE1

project has outlined various forms of tourism including those outlined above that could be

potentially developed. In addition, the plan's SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses,

Opportunities, and Threats) has outlined several weaknesses relating to the image of Bulgaria:

lack of awareness abroad and lack of branding, limited knowledge of the cultural and historical

heritage by the markets, "generally unclear or 'insufficient' image of Bulgaria's tourism lack of

adequate information availability" (Petreas, 2006, p. 10). Two opportunities related to image

were outlined: promoting Bulgaria as a cultural and historical heritage tourism destination and

image improvement as a newly accepted nation in the EU. The plan includes objectives directly

related to improving the image and creating a 'Bulgaria' tourism brand. Therefore, studies such

as the present are needed to assess the familiarity with and knowledge of the country's products

and tourist regions, and image in the minds of potential travelers. Bachvarov's (1997)

suggestion emphasizing the role of promotion is right to the point "Demand can be stimulated by

a promotion strategy" (p. 49). Such targeted promotion will likely increase the awareness of


1 Poland, Hungary Assistance in Research and Education Programme









Bulgaria and may improve the image of the destination. Awareness and image are two factors

the tourism literature has emphasized that may lead to a change in consumer behavior in such

way as to stimulate travel (Goodall, 1991; Hunt, 1975; Mayo, 1973; Relph, 1976; Woodside &

Lysonski, 1989). Hall (2004) recommended building of a brand for each of the CEE countries,

which Bulgaria will undoubtedly benefit from. For example, he suggested common factors to be

considered in building a brand: focus on 'Europeanness', build customer loyalty by encouraging

repeat visitation, and increase tourist income.

Given the gaps in the literature about Bulgaria as a tourist destination and the needs of the

industry as evidenced by the SWOT analysis, this study has both theoretical and practical

implications. First, it investigated the existing images of Bulgaria, awareness, familiarity, and

intent to travel reported by U.S. college students. In the existing literature little is known about

the images U.S. travelers hold of Bulgaria, including college students. Although various

researchers have examined the relationships among variables such as awareness, image and

intent to travel (Millman & Pizam, 1995), awareness, preferences, image, and intent to visit a

destination (Chalip, Green, & Hill, 2003; Qi, 2005; Sonmez & Sirakaya, 2002; Woodside &

Lysonski, 1989), and between familiarity and image (Baloglu, 2001; Kim & Pennington-Gray,

2004; Kim & Richardson, 2003; Sirakaya, Sonmez & Cho, 2001), or intent to visit and variables

such as prior experience, socio-demographics and travel information source exposure (Court &

Lupton, 1997). The affective and cognitive dimensions of image, organic and induced image,

overall image and some unaided free elicitation of image as perceived by U.S. students were

examined in a pre-test post-test design with an intervention and as such this study contributes to

the literature as very few researchers have focused on all of these image types in one study.









The majority of destination image studies have been cross-sectional and only a few

longitudinal studies exist. Thus, there is also a need for studies that employ experimental design,

which can examine the change in variables such as awareness, familiarity, image, and intent over

time. Kim and Richardson (2003) utilized an experimental design to examine the influence of a

motion picture portraying a destination (Vienna) on the level of familiarity with the destination,

and images and interest in visiting it. They found that of the four affective image variables one

was significantly different when results obtained from the experimental (those who viewed a

movie portraying Vienna) and control group (those who did not watch the movie) were

compared. In terms of the cognitive image, there were statistically significant differences among

three image factors. When the researchers compared the interest in visiting the destination of

those who saw the movie and those who did not, they found that those who viewed the movie

had a higher interest in visiting Vienna. The authors also compared the perceived degree of

familiarity between the two groups. No significant differences were found between the control

and the experimental groups. However, more research incorporating experimental designs is

needed and in particular when examining various complex constructs such as familiarity, image,

and intent to travel.

As the importance of information sources has been emphasized in the image formation and

destination choice process, experimental design may lead to improved understanding of the

relationships between and among variables. This supports Baloglu (2001) who suggested that

studies using experimental design can be useful in exploring the relationship between destination

familiarity and image. He also suggested that future research could use a greater variety of

information sources for informational familiarity validation. Experimental design such as the

design of the present investigation could be of value in the study of destination awareness,









familiarity, image and intent and the relationships between them especially for a lesser known

country. Such a design may be able to account for the change in the image, awareness, and

intent variables due to the influence of a stimulus. In reference to this study it was expected that

the stimulus would bring about change in the overall image of Bulgaria, thereby demonstrating

the role of targeted information in the formation of an induced image.

There are also several practical implications from this study. First, the findings may aid

destination marketers by helping them create more effective promotional and marketing

programs for enhancing the tourism destination images. Creating a promotional strategy,

improving the image and increasing awareness of Bulgaria and knowledge of its tourist products

abroad as outlined by the SWOT analysis in the BSAT Strategic plan is of high priority if

Bulgaria is to compete in the international tourism marketplace. This study may help the BSAT

and other promotional agencies by presenting the existing images so that marketers could

determine whether they match the image the agency wants to evoke. Currently, the BSAT has

included the North American, specifically the U.S. market as one of the markets of interest in its

strategic plan. It is the belief of this author that further studies need to be implemented in the

international markets and in Bulgaria surveying foreign visitors to help determine what markets

should be targeted, to help in the development of the tourist products, their quality, and to help in

the development of promotional campaigns for the respective markets. Another implication lies

in the fact that the U.S. market is an attractive market because of higher propensity of some

tourists to spend more while traveling (Ryan, 1995). Also, with the potential development of

cultural tourism, Bulgaria can be an attractive destination to the growing cultural tourism market

in the U.S. and worldwide.









Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework for this study is based on three main theories: the theory of

reasoned action (TRA) by Fishbein (1967), Fishbein and Ajzen (1980), the theory of planned

behavior (TPB) (Ajzen, 1985, 1987; Ajzen & Driver, 1992) and theories such as the Awareness -

Trial Reinforcement (ATR) and Awareness Interest Desire Action (AIDA) linking several

concepts awareness of the product, creating interest in the product, intent, trial and repeat

purchase (Ehrenberg, 1974; Lavidge & Steiner, 1961; Rogers, 1962; Strong, 1925) in terms of

cognitive, affective and behavior dimensions. Milman and Pizam (1995) linked the ATR theory

in their study of familiarity, awareness, image, and intent to visit Central Florida as a destination.

Theory of Reasoned Action

Human behavior is extremely complex and many variables influence individual behavior.

The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) first introduced by Fishbein (1967) and further

developed by Ajzen and Fishbein (1980) focused on explaining human behavior. The underlying

concept is that human beings are rational and they utilize the information available to them in a

rational way. The theory's significance is that it links the concepts of beliefs, attitudes,

intentions and a specific behavior, including travel. Attitudes, according to the authors stem

from a person's beliefs. Hoyer and MacInnis (2007) described attitudes as something that is

learned. In addition, attitudes can be fairly persistent over time. Ajzen and Fishbein (1980),

however, recognizing they had not discussed external variables such as socio-demographics,

personality characteristics, and certain human needs, pointed out that some external variables

may or may not influence behavior.

These external variables may be the factors that Mayo and Jarvis (1981) point to. Mayo

and Jarvis posited that individuals generally try to match their knowledge, feelings and

subsequently their behavior. However, people do not always behave consistently. Other factors









such as curiosity and impulsiveness can interfere and direct individuals to behave in ways not so

consistent with their attitudes. The external variables are significant to the extent that they

influence the determinants of the behavior described in the theory: underlying beliefs, attitudes

and subjective norms (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). People, generally tend to engage in a behavior

when they feel positive toward that behavior and when they perceive that others approve of that

behavior. According to TRA a person's behavior can be explained by examining on the one

hand their underlying beliefs that a specific behavior will provide certain outcomes and their

evaluations of those outcomes. This forms the attitude towards the behavior. In other words,

this attitude is represented by positive or negative feelings toward engaging in that specific

behavior. On the other hand, the beliefs of people who are significant to that person, who may
"approve" or "disapprove" of that behavior and the person's motivation to comply with his/her

reference group form the subjective norm. Therefore, one of the main intention determinants is

personal in nature (the attitude of the person toward the behavior) and the other is social

(subjective norm). The relationships between the components are presented in Figure 1-1. In

addition, for some individuals and groups the normative component may have a greater influence

than the attitudinal component on intentions and behaviors and vice versa. This combination of

the two may vary from one behavior to another (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980; Fishbein & Manfredo,

1992). The determinants of intention are linked to the specific behavior. According to this

model, first a specific behavior needs to be identified. The behavior is thought of in terms of

four components: action (specific behavioral category), target (object, destination), context

(situation) and time. However, all elements: intention, attitude, and norm must align with the

behavior in terms of the four components (Fishbein & Manfredo, 1992). The theory provides

researchers in the fields of sociology, psychology, consumer behavior, marketing, and tourism









with a causal model of the relationships between determinants of behavioral intentions and

specific behaviors. Fishbein and Manfredo also emphasized that in order to change a behavior

one needs to change first the underlying cognitive organization, i.e. the underlying beliefs,

attitudes, and norms.

In relation to marketing communications, including tourism, interventions and programs

do not achieve the desired results because these communications do not address specific beliefs.

According to Fishbein and Manfredo effective communications and programs should focus on

counteracting a specific belief. For example, if individuals believe that a visit to Bulgaria will

not lead to an increase in the individual's education from exposure to the local culture a

promotional campaign can focus on emphasizing the opportunities for learning and for

increasing one's education and personal enrichment through a visit. Therefore, this theory has

practical applications and is relevant to the study of preferences for, and perceptions of, tourist

destinations. Knowing the beliefs, attitudes and intentions can aid marketers in designing more

effective marketing campaigns for their destinations. Mayo and Jarvis (1981) discussed in detail

the role of attitudes in travel behavior. They presented attitudes as being influenced by

perception, learning, personality, and motivation. In addition, they posited that attitudes reveal

how an individual may behave in a situation.

Based upon the Theory of Reasoned Action marketers can use different strategies to

change the attitudes and beliefs of consumers. According to Mayo and Jarvis (1981) the stronger

a person's values, the stronger his/her attitudes and, therefore, their impact on behavior is

greater. In such situations attitudes may be difficult to change.




















Attitude toward the
behavior


Behavior
----


Relative importance of
attitudinal and normative
considerations


Subjective norm


Note: Arrows indicate the direction of influence.


Figure 1-1. Factors determining a person's behavior2


2 From "Introduction" Understanding Attitudes and Predicting Social Behavior" by M. Fishbein and. I. Ajzen, 1980, p. 8


The person's beliefs that the
behavior leads to certain
outcomes and his/her
evaluations of these
outcomes


The person's beliefs that
specific individuals or groups
think he should or should not
perform the behavior and
his/her motivation to comply
with the specific referents


I" |


I" |


10









Several attitude characteristics may indicate how easy or difficult it may be to change those

attitudes: intensity of attitudes, stability of attitudes, centrality of attitudes (how strong the

attitudes are rooted in one's values), and social anchoring of attitudes (anchoring of attitudes

within groups the individual is part of). Social anchoring is related to the socially-based

subjective norms. Hoyer and Maclnnis (2007) discussed several strategies to change attitudes.

For example, beliefs3 may be changed relating to the consequences of buying a service or

product. In other words, beliefs may be weakened when an individual perceives negative

consequences and beliefs may be strengthened to emphasize positive outcomes. Another

strategy is to change the individuals' evaluations of the consequences. A third strategy might be

to present a new belief. For example, emphasizing or adding a new attribute that leads to

positive beliefs will make the individuals' attitude more positive. Finally, normative beliefs may

be targeted and changed to bring a possible attitude and behavior change. This strategy's success

will vary in different cultures, some of which put greater emphasis on the individual and some on

group values.

The Theory of Reasoned Action provides a useful framework for understanding behavior

and intentions (including leisure-related, Young & Kent, 1985) from an individual's beliefs,

attitudes and subjective norms. This theory provides a measure with good predictive power of

intentions and behaviors from attitudes and norms, however, other external variables influence

human behavior and may lower this predictive power. In addition, Fishbein and Ajzen (1980)

pointed out that TRA may not apply in a satisfactory way to predicting intentions and consumer

choice from brand attitudes (relating to the target) because of variations in certain components

such as context, action, and time.


3 A belief is considered as a type of attitude according to Mayo and Jarvis (1981).









Theory of Planned Behavior

As was mentioned earlier, there are other factors that come into play and influence intent

and behavior in addition to attitudes and social norms. The theory of planned behavior (TPB)

(Ajzen 1985, 1987) can be thought of as extension to TRA and has been used in the prediction of

leisure behavior (Ajzen & Driver, 1992). The theory of reasoned action applies in situations

where the individual can exercise volitional control. However, when volitional control may not

be enough, perceived behavioral control may improve predictions of intention and behavior. The

TPB in addition to attitudes toward the behavior and subjective norms adds perceived behavioral

control, which reflects the perceived hardship or ease in performing the specified behavior,

which in turn is influenced by past experiences and possible constraints (obstacles). Actual

control over the behavior is determined by the availability of resources and factors such as

(money, time, and others). However, it is thought that perceived control is more important than

actual control. Ajzen and Driver (1992) emphasized that perceived control may be of little value

in predicting intent and behavior in situations when the individual has limited information about

the behavior or when there is a change in the available resources. The theory of planned

behavior postulates that attitude and subjective norms do not influence directly behavior.

Instead, they influence behavior through the intervening variables of intention and perceptions of

behavioral control. Ajzen and Driver's study of leisure behavior understood through the TPB

confirmed this. The authors employed hierarchical regression analysis involving three steps for

the prediction of behavior and two steps for the prediction of intentions. Results showed that

attitude towards specified leisure activities did not significantly predict behavior. However,

perceived behavioral control significantly influenced the prediction of intentions related to the

studied leisure activities.









The only difference between the theory of planned behavior and the theory of reasoned

action is the addition of perceived behavioral control to the TPB, which reflects the influence of

external factors on intention and behavior. Results from Ajzen and Driver (1992) showed that

this variable can improve the prediction of intent and behavior in certain situations, including

leisure. However, more studies are needed that deal with such predictions and especially with

travel, which can be of value to marketers.

Linking Awareness and Initial Purchase

Several models from advertising may be examined in terms of a sequential process of

creating awareness, generating interest, resulting in a trial, and ultimately in repeat purchases.

One of the earliest models credited to E. St. Elmo Lewis in 1898 and discussed by Strong (1925)

stated "Attract attention, maintain interest, create desire" (p. 76). According to Strong, E. St.

Elmo Lewis added "get action" later to form the well-known AIDA model Awareness -- Interest

-* Desire -* Action. The sequential pattern is evident. Creating awareness starts the process

(Ehrenberg, 1974). Awareness in marketing has been defined as top-of-mind awareness

(ToMA), referring to a brand or product that first comes to mind measured by unaided recall.

Kotler (1994), however combined an awareness and familiarity scale: "never heard of, only

heard of, know a little bit, know a fair amount, know very well". In their study Milman and

Pizam (1995) operationalized awareness of Central Florida as a destination by asking the

participants whether they recognized the name of the destination of have heard of it. Awareness

is a necessary element before a person builds a desire and eventually buys the product.

Therefore, the role of advertising, to which other types of marketing communications may be

added, is two-fold. First, it provides necessary information to the consumer about the product.

Second, it is persuasive in nature, i.e. it is geared towards enticing people to buy a product they

have never used before.









Ehrenberg also emphasized sometimes an individual may become familiar with a brand

only after a purchase. This is probably the case for low cost everyday products and may not

apply to tourism. According to the AIDA theory, customers cannot desire and purchase

something they do not know about and are not aware of. At the beginning of the 20th century

Sheldon (1911) added a fifth term -"secure satisfaction". The persuasive hierarchy models that

later developed from the AIDA model were presented by Kotler (1994, p. 602) as Response

Hierarchy Models. The hierarchy-of-effects model is attributed to Lavidge and Steiner (1961),

innovation-adoption model by Rogers (1962), and the communications model developed from

various sources were also a part of Kotler's (1994) model. Lavidge and Steiner introduced a

sequential six-step model: Awareness -- Knowledge -- Liking -- Preference -- Conviction --

Purchase. The process starts with the cognitive components, then goes through the affective

stage and finally the conative (behavioral). The innovation-adoption model by Rogers (1962)

has five similar stages: Awareness -- Interest -- Evaluation -- Trial -- Adoption. This model

was developed for adoption of innovations (products or services). For high elaboration products

and services such as travel, where risk is high, strongly held (higher order) beliefs are formed.

However, these beliefs are not based exclusively on advertising. Other factors such as word of

mouth, news, newspaper or magazine articles and prior experience form those beliefs. This is

consistent with the so called persuasive hierarchy (CA) models (Vakratsas & Ambler, 1999).

"C" is cognition and referred to the "thinking" component of one's response and "A" refers to

affect, i.e. "feeling' component. This group of models is called persuasive because advertising

not only informs but persuades in order to increase sales. The sequence is Cognition -* Affect

-- Behavior (CA). Lavidge and Steiner's (1961) and Rogers' (1962) models are persuasive

hierarchy models, which are also hierarchy-of-effects models. These models are called









hierarchy of effects models because there is a sequential progression. The hierarchy sets out the

preconditions that are necessary to occur first.

Ehrenberg (1974) is credited with criticizing the conventional Awareness -- Attitudes --

Behavior models such as those described above. He pointed to instances when an opposite link

is applicable and behavior may affect attitudes. For example, greater awareness may result after

a purchase. In addition, a behavior may lead to additional search for information and subsequent

attitude change. In the use of everyday products this may be the case. However, in purchasing

travel, which is relatively risky and expensive, the traditional model may be more applicable,

where extensive information search, knowledge is acquired, and attitude formation occur before

the behavior. Ehrenberg suggested in his hierarchy-of-effects model the following: Awareness

-- Trial -- Reinforcement. This is consistent with his position in that after awareness an initial

purchase is made, which is influenced by various factors. A repeat purchase may occur, which is

ultimately what a marketer is hoping for. He argued "The critical factor is experience of the

brand and no other influences seem to be needed" (p. 31). According to this model advertising

has a particular role at each stage, which is similar to Fakeye and Crompton's (1991) proposition

that informative promotion would be best for non-visitors, persuasive advertising is to target

first-time visitors, and finally, reminding promotion is for repeat visitors.

Ehrenberg's model belongs to the group of low-involvement hierarchy models (CEA)

which are based on the cognition -* experience -* affect sequence. According to Vakratsas and

Ambler (1999) empirical studies show that experience has greater effect on beliefs, attitudes, and

behavior than advertising. This is important in terms of travel. Personal experience, which some

have defined as familiarity, or one dimension of familiarity (Baloglu, 2001; Milman & Pizam,









1995; Prentice, 2004), has been shown to be a key element influencing destination image and

therefore, may have a greater effect on beliefs, attitudes, intentions and behavior.

In addition to intention, awareness and other cognitive and affective processes that occur

during travel, the current study examined the influence of several other factors on familiarity,

awareness, image, and intent to travel to a destination are discussed in the section to follow.

Socio-demographic Factors, Tourist Role and Travel Experience

Central to destination decision-making models and subsequent tourist behavior are the

individual's characteristics such as socio-demographics, psychological factors, preferences,

attitudes, motivation, needs, information search, destination attributes, awareness, and

destination images (Crompton, 1979a; Goodrich, 1978; Gartner, 1993; Gunn, 1997; Mayo &

Jarvis, 1981; Moutinho, 1987; Pearce, 1982b; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). Therefore, a review

of key scholarly works relating to tourist behavior, intent and awareness is necessary to begin to

understand the forces at play in the destination decision making process. In addition, several

socio-demographic factors have been shown to influence travel behavior and in turn tourists'

preference for certain tourist roles they assume while traveling.

A tourist role is a collection of behaviors and preferences an individual may have while

traveling. Since the 1970s several tourist role typologies have been developed and preference for

the different types of roles has been examined in relation to socio-demographics, previous travel

experiences, motivations, and perception of risk among others (Cohen, 1972; Lepp & Gibson,

2003, Pearce, 1985; Smith, 1977, Yiannakis & Gibson, 1992). For example, studies by several

authors (Gibson, 1989; Pearce, 1982b, 1985; Yiannakis & Gibson, 1988) have shown the

significance of age (life stage), gender, and level of education on preference for certain tourist

roles. Gibson and Yiannakis, (2002), also found that life stage among other variables is central

to the tourist role preference of individuals. According to Gibson and Yiannakis tourist role









preference is influenced by a number of processes and institutions as they relate to life stage,

marriage, presence of children, as well as individual's psychological needs. The authors

suggested that tourist role preference is a function of the psychological needs individuals have,

which in turn are a function of their life stage.

Levinson's work (Levinson et al., 1978; Levinson, 1996) has been used in leisure and

tourism studies to explain behavior from the perspective of an individual's life stage. According

to Levinson's theory in general young adults are more likely to be free from family obligations

as many are single and have the freedom to travel. He suggested that exploration is a common

characteristic in early adulthood and that this in turn may surface in the travel behavior of young

adults. Such travelers are expected to have a drive for exploration, adventure, experimentation

and at the same time not ready to choose one option (Gibson & Yiannakis, 2002). Such

behaviors may be more likely to be exhibited by explorers and drifters according to Cohen's

(1972) tourist role typology. Gibson and Yiannakis also suggested that there are gender

differences in tourist role preference which they explain are due to the different expectations

accorded to men and women by society.

The supposition that tourist roles are related to familiarity, awareness and destination

image is based on Cohen's (1972) and Yiannakis and Gibson's (1992) ideas that underlying each

of the tourist roles are dimensions related to the degree of familiarity or strangeness a tourist

prefers in a destination or the level of stimulation or tranquility he/she is seeking. Thus,

conceivably destinations perceived as unfamiliar or too stimulating to some tourists might be

evaluated as either attractive or be rejected as unsuitable for their vacations.

Studies that have focused on levels of familiarity, awareness, image, and intent to travel

also have explored the influence of socio-demographic variables on these factors (Beerli &









Martin, 2004; Javalgi, Thomas, and Rao, 1992; Pike, 2002). Moreover, one might hypothesize

based on Baloglu's (2001) results that the respondents who were well educated and older also

had international travel experience, higher levels of knowledge, familiarity and awareness of

destinations and as a result may have been more inclined to visit new destinations. The

interrelationships among variables such as individual preferences, needs, goals, socio-

demographics, upbringing, prior travel experience may shape the tourist role preferences of

individuals as well as their knowledge, familiarity, awareness and future travel intentions.

The current study examined the awareness, familiarity, images, and intent to travel to the

lesser known country of Bulgaria by using several theories as the theoretical framework: theory

of reasoned action, theory of planned behavior and through the marketing models of Awareness

- Interest Desire Action and Awareness Trial Reinforcement and how these variables

were influenced by prior travel experience, preference for tourist roles and gender.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was to examine the level of familiarity with and knowledge about

Bulgaria, awareness, destination image, and intent to travel to Bulgaria among U.S. college

students, who have never visited the country. Specifically, a pre-post test design was used to

assess the level of knowledge, familiarity, awareness and organic images that U.S. college

students have of Bulgaria as a tourist destination and their interest in traveling to Bulgaria.

Following an intervention in the form of an informational media presentation about Bulgaria, the

level of familiarity, awareness, induced images and intent to travel were assessed again.

Variables found in the literature to influence familiarity, awareness, destination image, and intent

to travel such as previous international travel experience, tourist role preference, and gender

were examined. Education level in this study was held constant as the participants were all

undergraduate students enrolled at the same university. In addition, their ages and income level









were similar. Such variables may be included in further research with a more diverse sample

across groups with various age, income, and education levels, for example.

Research Questions


This study sought to answer the following research questions.

Pre-test Research Question 1

la. What is the level of awareness of Bulgaria as a tourist destination among U.S. college

students?

lb. Does the level of awareness vary by previous international travel experience?

Ic. Does the level of awareness vary by tourist role preference?

Id. Does the level of awareness differ by gender?

Pre-test Research Question 2

2a. What is the level of familiarity with Bulgaria among U.S. college students?

2b. Does familiarity vary by previous international travel experience?

2c. Does familiarity vary by tourist role preference?

2d. Does familiarity vary by gender?

Post-test Research Question 2

2e. Following the intervention, what is the participants' level of familiarity and is it

different from familiarity before the intervention?

2f. What influence does previous international experience have on the level of familiarity

following the intervention?

2g. What influence does tourist role preference have on the level of familiarity following

the intervention?

2h. What influence does gender have on the level of familiarity following the intervention?









Pre-test Research Question 3

3a. What organic and overall images of Bulgaria do U.S. college students hold?

3b. Does the overall organic image vary by previous international travel experience?

3c. Does the overall organic image vary by tourist role preference?

3d. Does the overall organic image vary by gender?

Post-test Research Question 3

3e. Following the intervention, do the induced and overall induced images held by U.S.

college students vary from their organic images?

3f. Does the induced overall image vary by previous international travel experience?

3g. Does the induced overall image vary by tourist role preference?

3h. Does the induced overall image vary by gender?

Research Question 4

4a. What are the travel intentions of U.S. college students towards Bulgaria as a vacation

destination after the intervention?

4b. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria in the next five years vary by previous

international travel experience?

4c. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria in the next five years vary by tourist role

preference?

4d. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria in the next five years vary by gender?

Research Question 5

5a. Following the intervention, what is the relationship among overall induced image of

Bulgaria among U.S. college students, their familiarity level (both self-rated and knowledge-

based) and intent to travel in the next five years?









The variables in the above research questions were discussed in detail in the literature

review that follows and how they relate to the theoretical basis of the present study. Definitions

of terms will be offered also.









CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF LITERATURE

This chapter is divided into six sections: destination familiarity, destination awareness,

destination image, intention to travel, prior travel experience and tourist roles. First, familiarity

is discussed in terms of definitions and relationships with the other related variables. Next,

destination awareness is examined in terms of its definitions, the relationship between awareness

and familiarity, image, and travel intention. In addition, the influence of socio-demographics is

discussed. The third part focuses on destination image, its definitions, how it is related to

awareness, how it is formed, its components and how destination image is related to socio-

demographics. The fourth section focuses on intention to travel, its definition, how it is related

to awareness, familiarity, and image and lastly, how it is related to socio-demographics. The

fifth section focuses on the previous travel experience. The last section discuses tourist roles.

Destination Familiarity

First, a definition of the term destination is necessary. Destination has been defined by

Holloway (1986, p.64) as a place to which tourists go, in which they may stay overnight, and is

the primary object of their visit. Buhalis (2000) explained that a destination can be thought of as

a place that is comprised of products, services, and experiences provided locally. Another term

that needs definition is tourist and the Bulgarian National Statistical Institute has adopted the

definition recommended by the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and defines an international

tourist as "...any person who travels to a country other than his/her permanent residence, for a

period not greater than 1 year and whose main purpose is not doing any activity for payment."

(National Statistical Institute, n.d.)

Familiarity is a concept widely used in the marketing and consumer behavior literature. It

is often associated with products and brands consumers use daily. Therefore, research has









focused on the consumers' familiarity with either more expensive and durable goods or those of

everyday life. The focus of this study is to analyze the familiarity construct as it relates to

tourists and destinations, namely Bulgaria. Familiarity in this study is discussed as a concept

used in terms of brand familiarity and product familiarity and how it applies to tourist

destinations.

In the field of marketing, Johnson and Russo (1984) conceptualized and operationalized

familiarity as knowledge but did not include experience gained from using a product. Baker,

Hutchinson, Moore, and Nedungadi (1986) described familiarity as unidimensional and defined

it as "... directly related to the amount of time that has been spent processing information about

the brand, regardless of the type or content of the processing that was involved" (p. 637). In

other words, familiarity is presented as a form of knowledge about the product according to the

authors who in essence agree with Johnson and Russo's definition. Familiarity may be

associated with low or high product involvement according to Baker et al. Baker and his

colleagues presented two ways in which brand familiarity influenced choice and which involve

the evoked set. The concept of an evoked set was first developed by Howard and Sheth (1969)

and it can be defined as products a consumer is considering for his/her next purchase. Baker et

al. first posited that the more one is familiar with a product, the greater the likelihood this

product will be included in the evoked set. Second, as a result familiarity contributes to

preference. Baker and his colleagues also proposed that general product familiarity has less of

an influence in placing a product in the evoked set compared to specific situations. In terms of

tourism, this would mean that a particular destination has a better chance of being included in the

evoked set if it is thought to meet the traveler's needs at that moment (e.g. choosing a family

summer vacation destination where mom and dad can relax).









Similar to Baker et al., Alba and Hutchinson (1987) discussed product familiarity and

referred to it as part of knowledge. They explained that prior knowledge consists of familiarity

and expertise. Thus they defined product familiarity as a number of product-related experiences,

which include exposure to advertising, information search, choice, and product use. Therefore,

Alba and Hutchinson described the construct as multidimensional in contrast to some earlier

studies by Johnson and Russo (1984) and Baker et al. (1986), which considered familiarity as

unidimensional. Therefore, a consumer learns and becomes more familiar with a product as

he/she uses the product or is exposed to advertising and word-of-mouth.

Goodrich (1978), for example, emphasized the importance of familiarity with a product in

the preference and choice processes in several fields including psychology, sociology, marketing,

and in terms of tourist destinations. Knowledge about a product or destination has an important

influence on the individual's preference for that product. Goodrich continued to explain that

"The more favorable the perception, the greater the likelihood of choice from among similar

alternatives" (p.8). In the tourism field several studies have operationalized familiarity as

knowledge about the destination obtained from visiting it (i.e. prior travel) (Chon, 1991; Fakeye

& Crompton, 1991; Milman & Pizam, 1995; Phelps, 1986). In other studies familiarity was seen

as including both previous visits to the destination and knowledge about it (Tideswell &

Faulkner, 1999).

In contrast to some earlier studies, Baloglu (2001) suggested that familiarity is a

multidimentional construct. The author argued that there is another component to familiarity,

which has to do with the amount of information and knowledge an individual has about the

destination in absence of visitation. Therefore, he operationalized familiarity as two-dimensional

- consisting of the amount of information a traveler has about a destination and previous visits to









the destination. He also discussed another way of operationalizing familiarity through

individuals self-reporting their level of familiarity with a destination; however, he criticized the

subjectivity of this measurement. Prentice (2004) agreed that familiarity is more than visiting a

destination. Working from Baloglu's two types he proposed five types of familiarity: 1)

informational (information used); 2) experiential (result of visit to the destination); 3) proximate

(associated with national stereotypes and country of residence); 4) self-described (self-rated is

redefined as self-described); and 5) educational (formed as a result of formal or informal learning

about the destination). Therefore, both Baloglu (2001) and Prentice (2004) suggested familiarity

should be examined in studies as a multidimensional construct. Familiarity has also been shown

in various studies to play a role in forming positive perceptions/images of a destination and

foster more accurate information about destination attributes (Ahmed, 1996; Fridgen, 1984.

Likewise, Kim and Pennington-Gray (2004) operationalized familiarity as a multidimensional

construct consisting of two components: knowledge and prior experience (visitation). They

examined the relationship between familiarity and image held by non-visitors from Florida

towards South Korea. Their results suggested that those who were more familiar with South

Korea had more positive images of the country based on the four identified image domains:

diverse activities and attractions; communication and accommodation; sports and events; and

accessibility.

Prior Knowledge: Prior knowledge is also a concept discussed in the context of

familiarity. Baker et al. (1986) considered (prior) knowledge the most basic form of familiarity,

that is, familiarity is expressed as knowledge about the product. In addition, the authors

hypothesized that brands individuals recognize on the shelf in a store (stimulus influence) or









brands recalled from memory (choice based on memory) may be brands that have the potential to

become a part of the evoked set.

In terms of tourism related choices, the level of information about a destination is

expressed through the prior knowledge an individual has about it and may include internal

information (i.e. information accessed from memory) or external information (gathered from a

number of sources) (Crotts, 1999). More recently, Kerstetter and Cho (2004) reported how prior

knowledge, credibility of sources, and information search are related. The authors observed that

prior knowledge is an ambiguous concept. Thus, they operationalized prior knowledge as

consisting of familiarity, expertise and past experience. However, their analysis revealed that

prior knowledge should be treated as a two-dimensional construct consisting of past experience

and familiarity/expertise. Their results showed a high correlation between familiarity and

expertise; therefore, they combined them into one dimension.

Thus, is appears that familiarity and prior knowledge are defined in different ways, and

frequently they are used to define each other. Some scholars, mainly those in the marketing

field, consider familiarity a component of prior knowledge (Alba & Hutchinson, 1987; Baker et

al., 1986). Whereas, scholars in the tourism field consider prior knowledge to be a component of

familiarity (Baloglu, 2001; Kim & Pennington-Gray, 2003; Prentice, 2004). In this study

familiarity is conceptualized as how well a person considers him/herself to be familiar with a

destination, in this case Bulgaria. Prior knowledge is conceptualized as information individuals

have about Bulgaria.

Destination Awareness

Central to the travel and tourism industry has been the question of 'why do people go to

certain destinations and not others'? These and other questions have been the focus of not only

tourism research but also of environmental psychology, and geography among others. As was









already discussed, familiarity is an important component in choosing a vacation destination.

Awareness is closely related to familiarity. Awareness is one of those components that helps

researchers understand the processes of decision making, information search and future

intentions.

Definitions of Awareness

Even though familiarity and awareness are closely related constructs, they are not the

same. Top-of-mind awareness is a term commonly used in the consumer behavior literature.

This is referred to as the brand or product that first comes to mind measured by unaided recall.

Wilson's (1981) study confirmed that the higher a product is in the consumer's mind (ToMA

measured by unaided recall), the higher the purchase intention and the higher the last reported

purchase of the brand. According to Woodside and Wilson (1985) the higher the position of a

product in the consumer's mind, the higher the product preference. In other words, ToMA is

related positively to brand preference. By using this line of thinking, Woodside and Lysonski

(1989) created a model of destination choice and awareness where ToMA was one of its major

components. They defined awareness as "...unaided recall from long-term memory and aided

recognition" (p.8). In another tourism based study, Milman and Pizam (1995) operationalized

awareness as whether an individual had heard of or recognized a destination by name. Similarly,

Pike (2002) referred to ToMA in a tourism context as the destination that first comes to mind

when an individual is considering taking a trip. Taking a lead from Milman and Pizam in this

study awareness was defined as whether an individual had heard of the destination.

In the destination choice process one of the groups or sets of destinations that are

considered by a traveler is the awareness set. This set is made up of all destinations that come to

the mind of a potential tourist when he/she thinks of vacation travel (Crotts, 1999). The

awareness set can be quite large. It consists of three subcategories the evoked, inept and inert









sets (Narayana & Markin, 1975; Umrn & Crompton, 1990; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). An

evoked set consists of all destinations which an individual can potentially choose to visit

(Howard & Sheth, 1969; Um & Crompton, 1990). An inept set consists of the rejected

destinations that an individual will not visit because he/she has negative information about them

or has had unpleasant experiences (Narayana & Markin (1975). The places in the inert set are

those destinations about which an individual has neither positive nor negative information;

therefore, he/she needs more information to evaluate these destinations further.

Motivations, also referred to as motives, are considered important psycho-social needs that

initiate the process of wanting to take a vacation. Therefore, a brand is selected on the basis of

how well it can meet that need (Howard & Sheth, 1969). However, even though motives are

present, an individual needs to have information as to what opportunities are available, or in

other words he/she needs to be aware of those opportunities (Mathieson & Wall, 1982).

Availability of information and credibility of the source are critical to creating awareness of

destinations in general and making travelers aware of the facilities and services in those

destinations according to the two authors. The importance of information sources; therefore, is

discussed further.

Awareness and Familiarity

As can be seen from the previous discussion about familiarity, prior knowledge, and

awareness, the marketing literature often uses one concept to define the other. Thus, a close

relationship among those concepts is inevitable. However, caution needs to be exercised when

defining and using these concepts as operational definitions often vary among studies.

Familiarity with destinations is related to awareness and destination image, and therefore,

influences the destination choice process. Some travelers are familiar with a destination more

than others because they have accumulated more information about that destination. Familiarity









may include previous travel to that destination, but also knowledge about it in the absence of a

visit. Awareness on the other hand, has been operationalized as whether an individual has heard

of the destination and as the destination that first comes to mind when he/she is considering

potential vacation destinations (Milman & Pizam, 1995; Pike, 2002).

Ahmed's (1991) study showed that those who had visited Utah had a more positive overall

image about the state compared to non-visitors. In their Central Florida study, Milman and

Pizam (1995) found that those who were familiar with (visited previously) the destination had a

higher interest in visiting it, and were more likely to visit it (intent) in the next two years than

those who were aware (but never visited), and those who were not aware (have not heard of it).

Respondents who were aware did not have a greater interest or likelihood of visiting that

destination. In addition, according to Milman and Pizam those who were familiar with, i.e. had

visited Central Florida had more positive images of that destination compared to those who were

aware (without visiting). In addition, those who were familiar had a greater geographical

accuracy and more knowledge about the attractions and about the destination in general.

The results from Baloglu's (2001) study showed that those individuals who had higher

levels of familiarity had a more positive image of Turkey on most dimensions, including overall

image. The existence of a strong positive relationship between familiarity level and

perceptions/image has been supported in the literature over the years (Milman & Pizam, 1995;

Kim & Pennington-Gray, 2004). Therefore, one can expect as a result that higher levels of

awareness and familiarity with a destination may lead to more positive images of a destination.

Awareness and Destination Image

An important variable to understanding destination image is awareness. Gartner (1993)

who evaluated Goodall's (1991) model of destination choice process stated that "awareness

implies that an image of the destination exists in the mind(s) of the decision makers" (p. 192-









193). Gunn (1972) suggested that potential travelers who are aware of (have heard of but have

not visited) a destination may have formed images of that place from information received

through movies, news reports, and books. He described this perception as the organic image.

Fakeye and Crompton (1991) proposed that images of non-visitors, first-time visitors, and repeat

visitors change from organic to induced images and finally to complex images. They explained

that a potential visitor has organic images of a number of destinations in his/her awareness set

that he/she has not visited. The authors suggested that informative promotion will be more

effective at this stage. Informative communications are used to make travelers aware of a

destination and its various facilities, attractions, and others. Once he/she has decided to travel

the individual will engage in an active information search and an induced image will be formed

at this stage. Persuasive information is more appropriate at this stage with a goal to persuade the

consumer to buy. A complex image is formed after a visit to the destination and reminding

promotion is used to keep the destination at the forefront of the consumer's mind to encourage

repeat visits.

More recently, Beerli and Martin (2004) found that a particular type of induced source

(travel agency staff) had a significant influence on one cognitive image dimension (sun and sand)

for Lanzarote (The Canary Islands, Spain). Information sources that may take the form of

induced sources are important image formation agents (Gartner, 1993). Information sources and

communications related to destinations play an important role in the travel decision process, and

have an important influence on image formation (Capella & Greco, 1987; Chalip, Green, & Hill,

2003; Crotts, 1999; Fesenmaier et al., 1993; Gitelson & Crompton, 1983; Stem & Krakover,

1993; Vogt, Stewart, & Fesenmaier, 1998).









Awareness and Intention

Intention was defined by Moutinho (1987) as the likelihood to buy or readiness-to-buy

concept. In the early 1980s, Mayo and Jarvis (1981) presented a model outlining the relationship

between forming of attitudes, intent to travel, and the travel decision selection process. Their

model drew upon the Theory of Reasoned Action by Fishbein (1967; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1980;

Fishbein & Manfredo, 1992) and focused on the influence of information and social factors in

the forming of personal beliefs and opinions, feelings, and predispositions, all of which form an

individual's attitudes. These attitudes, which are predispositions to act according to Mayo and

Jarvis are necessary in the forming of preferences/intentions, which are antecedents of behavior.

The awareness, trial and repeat behavior (reinforcement) (ATR) theory is based on the idea

that a trial of a product cannot occur without awareness (Ehrenberg, 1974). According to

Ehrenberg, trial is dependent on awareness. Repeat trial may occur only after an initial purchase.

Awareness in the best scenario may result in curiosity that can lead to trial (Foxall, 1990;

Milman & Pizam, 1995). It may be concluded the trial is associated with intention to buy.

Repeat buying behavior may or may not occur, which will depend on the outcome of the trial,

i.e. the experience and satisfaction. Referring to Ehrenberg's model, Milman and Pizam

suggested that "Applying this model to a tourism destination, we may conclude that the image of

a destination is reflected in the awareness that potential tourists have of it" (p. 22), which is

consistent with Gartner's (1993) position that an image is formed based on the awareness an

individual has of a destination. Indeed, Wilson (1981) proposed that the intent to purchase is

higher when the position of the brand in the mind of the consumer is higher.

In a tourism context, destination awareness is linked to intent to travel according to the

destination choice model of Woodside and Lysonski (1989). Intent to visit a destination is

influenced by the preferences formed by an individual. Milman and Pizam showed that those









who were aware of Central Florida as a destination but were not familiar (i.e. knew about it but

have never visited it) did not have a greater interest or likelihood in visiting it compared to those

who were not aware of it (never heard). In other words, their findings showed that awareness

may not necessarily lead to intent, contrary to their hypothesis. This finding has support in the

literature. For example, when Michie (1986) examined the influence of awareness (cognitive) on

travel behavior, he concluded that awareness is a necessary but not sufficient element leading to

increased travel. Similarly, according to Fesenmaier, Vogt, and Stewart (1993) information

obtained from a welcome center influenced the travel behavior of most visitors to Indiana, which

stresses the key role of information sources as a source of knowledge about a destination. This

knowledge in turn builds greater awareness of destinations and their attributes. Therefore, it can

be concluded that information sources are an important component to the decision making

process and travel intentions, which is consistent with Woodside and Lysonski's (1989) model.

Awareness and Socio-demographics

In terms of understanding awareness further, Baloglu (2001) did not find a significant

relationship between demographics such as age, education, and familiarity, even though he

hypothesized that these demographic factors might influence familiarity with a destination. A

majority of Baloglu's respondents were highly educated, 50 or older, married and had higher

income. He acknowledged that the sampling method used, by including individuals who had

requested information about Turkey, is a limitation to his study and, therefore, may have

contributed to the demographic homogeneity of the respondents. Therefore, the study

participants were aware of Turkey already and may have had some knowledge about the country.

Conceivably, one might expect that such respondents already have international travel

experience, are more familiar and aware of foreign destinations, and may be more likely to visit









new destinations. It will be of interest to examine samples in which the respondents are not so

alike in terms of their socio-demographics.

In a study of Auckland's (New Zealand) residents, Pike (2002) examined the relationship

between ToMA and intent to visit destinations on a short break. He reported that the respondents

were older, many with higher education and had strong intention to visit several destinations.

The destinations listed as top-of-the-mind were significantly more likely to be visited. An

unaided ToMA question resulted in the destination of Rotorua being selected as a top destination

for a visit by 24% of the respondents. Nationality has also been shown to influence awareness

and image. For example, Ritchie and Smith (1991) found that Europeans showed higher

awareness levels of European and non-U.S. Olympic Games sites compared to U.S. respondents.

Information Sources, Familiarity, Awareness, Image and Choice

The previous discussion on familiarity and awareness mentioned the importance of

information obtained through various forms of communication promotion and advertising

through various forms of media, Internet, and word of mouth. Information that creates

knowledge is critical to creating awareness of and familiarity with places.

Gitelson and Crompton (1983) found that travelers who take longer trips and travel further

tend to plan their trip further in advance. As a result, this may have implications for international

travel and destinations that are less familiar and known to the individual traveler. This and other

studies (e.g. Capella & Greco, 1987) have shown that information obtained from friends and

relatives is of great importance. Moreover, Gitelson and Crompton identified three reasons and

characteristics of the tourism product, which play a role in tourism advertising and may influence

the processing of and search for information during the destination decision making process: 1)

purchase of vacation involves high-risk due to investment of both time and money; 2) a vacation

cannot be sampled unlike many consumer products; also the consumer cannot see exactly what









he/she is purchasing; 3) travelers usually visit new destinations when they travel. According to

Manfredo, Bright, and Haas (1992), due to the nature of the tourist product, information seeking

is expected to be quite extensive.

Capella and Greco (1987) examined the information search behavior of older travelers

(over 60 years of age) and the influence of individuals' socio-demographics (education, social

class, gender, income, etc.) and psychographic characteristics (opinion leadership, wide horizons,

community mindedness and others) on that behavior in relation to destination choice. When they

examined the relationship among information sources, socio-demographic factors, and

psychographics they found that generally socio-demographics explained the role of information

sources in vacation planning more compared to psychographics of older adults. Specifically,

word of mouth (information passed on by family and friends) was found be the most influential

information source among these older travelers. Past experience, magazines, and newspapers

were also among the important sources. In contrast, radio and travel agents were least important.

Credibility of sources was examined by Kerstetter and Cho (2004) who studied the relationships

among prior knowledge, credibility of sources and information search. However, their results

showed no significant relationship between prior knowledge and the information search process

(amount of time spent searching and number of sources), which may be contrary to some

scholars' propositions.

MacKay and Fesenmaier (1997) examined the influence of promotional visuals on the

destination image of a National Park in Manitoba, Canada. Results from their study showed that

familiarity levels affected perceptions of respondents along the four image dimensions: activity,

familiarity, holiday, and atmosphere. Those who were more familiar with the park viewed

"...the visuals as casting a familiar image" (p. 558). Individuals with higher familiarity with the









park had an image of the destination as being family-oriented, full of activity and excitement. In

addition, those more familiar with the park had affective evaluations of the visuals, whereas,

those who were less familiar tended to hold cognitive evaluations.

Vogt, Stewart, and Fesenmaier (1998) focused on the search behavior of individuals who

have not been to an individually named destination in the U.S. Midwest. Their research showed

a positive relationship between self-rated familiarity and the likelihood of using certain

information sources such as own travel files, listening to radio, magazine articles and others. In

addition, they investigated the relationship between use of information sources and intent to visit

that destination. About 40% said that they were somewhat likely to visit in the next two years

and 12% were extremely likely. In terms of the relationship between intent and the use of

sources of travel information, the highest positive correlation was between intent and the how

likely the individual was to use their own travel files, followed by magazine advertisement, then

newspaper advertisements, television and others.

Kim and Richardson (2003) used an experimental design to study the influence of a motion

picture on images and familiarity with a destination. The authors emphasized that movies can

serve as a tool to familiarize audiences with places. Their results showed that cognitive images

in particular differed among those who had watched the movie about Vienna, Austria compared

with those who did not. They also found that those who watched the movie showed a higher

interest in visiting Vienna compared to the control group. However, contrary to the authors'

expectations, level of familiarity was not significantly different between the two groups. The

authors suggested that perhaps a short movie about a place may not be enough to create higher

levels of familiarity with that destination. Nonetheless, their study made an important

contribution to the understanding of destination image and factors that might shape image such









as autonomous agents like movies, since there has been limited empirical work on the influence

of motion pictures upon image and on the decision making process as a whole.

To summarize, information sources are an important element of the destination decision

making process. Various information sources supply knowledge about destinations, which in

turn shapes familiarity and images of places. As such information sources may be influential in

creating intent and an initial purchase.

Destination Image

According to Baloglu and McCleary (1999a) image is an important component in choosing

a destination and studies of image have aided scholars in the study of tourism behavior. With

increasing opportunities offered to travelers, individuals are faced with choosing among vacation

destinations in an increasingly complex and competitive marketplace. Destination marketers,

therefore, need to position their destination in the travelers' minds (Echtner & Ritchie, 1991).

Key to this process is creating and communicating a favorable image to the potential tourist in

his/her home country (Goodall & Ashworth, 1988).

A significant amount of literature in the field has examined the concept of image, including

its formation (Gartner, 1993; Echtner & Ritchie, 1991; Fakeye & Crompton, 1991; Jenkins,

1999; Stern & Krakover, 1993), conceptualization (Echtner & Ritchie, 1991) and methodology

and measurement of image (Echtner & Ritchie, 1991, 1993; Jenkins, 1999), and influence of

image on destination choice (Gartner 1993, 1996; Goodall, 1991; Hunt, 1975). Other researchers

have focused on familiarity and image associated with previous visit to the location (Milman &

Pizam, 1995; Fakeye & Crompton, 1991). Gallarza, Gil, and Calder6n (2002) conceptualized

and explored measurement of image. They proposed a theoretical model of image, which

included four components. The first one is that image has a complex nature and at the same time

it has an analytical dimension. The second is that image has a multidimensional nature,









including an action (dynamic) component. The third characteristic of image is that the construct

is relativistic in that it is associated with subjectivity. Due to this characteristic, destination

image can be used as a strategic tool in terms of positioning and segmentation. The fourth

characteristic is that image is dynamic; image changes across time and space. In this sense,

destination image is a tactical variable. Kotler, Haider and Rein (1993) suggested image

marketing as one of four strategies in marketing a community. In addition, an image should be

valid and communicated through various channels.

Destination Image Definitions

Tuan (1975), a leading geographer who was one of the first to extensively delve into

concepts such as image and sense of place, defined image in a variety of ways. He explained

that image can be thought of as an artificial portrayal of an object, a perception as a result of

sensory input, a picture in one's mind from memory, or the result of indirect information about a

place. Lawson and Baud-Bovy (1977) defined image as the expression of knowledge,

impressions, prejudice, imagination and emotional thoughts an individual holds of a place.

Crompton (1979a), defined image "...as the sum of beliefs, ideas and impressions that a person

has of a destination" (p. 18). Perception according to Whynne-Hammond (1985) influences a

variety of human behaviors social, political and economic. He defined perception of the

environment referring to what a person thinks the environment is like. Perception in this sense is

represented by image, which is an approach Baloglu (1997) adopted. Whynne-Hammond

pointed out "... perceptions of foreign countries and their inhabitants may be wildly inaccurate"

(p. 9). These perceptions or images depend on the value judgments and attitudes of individuals,

which are shaped by personality characteristics, culture, temperament, experiences, and

prejudice. Therefore, in this study images and perceptions were used interchangeably as the









literature has used them in this way. Further investigations may draw upon existing literature in

tourism and other disciplines to better define and distinguish those terms.

Moutinho (1987) presented image as "total thoughts" about a product/destination

accumulated after processing of information and consisting of negative, positive or neutral

thoughts. According to Goodall and Ashworth (1988) "mental images are the basis of the

evaluation or selection process" (p. 3). Thus, image has been defined in different ways,

however, the consensus tends to be that image is a multidimensional construct. In the present

study destination image using Crompton's (1979a) and Moutinho's (1987) definitions is defined

as the beliefs, ideas and impressions that an individual has of a destination, including

overarching thoughts about it.

Image Components

Gunn (1972) was one of the first tourism scholars to conceptualize image. He described

two types of images: organic and induced. The organic image is formed as a result of

communication sources not disseminated by the destination through reports such as news,

newspaper articles, geography and history courses, books of fiction and nonfiction, and the like.

Induced image, on the other hand, is the result of conscious promotional efforts by the

destination and formed by advertising, promotion, and publicity. Similar to Gunn, Relph (1976)

and Goodrich (1978) presented two types of images. Relph, for example, distinguished between

individual and mass image, where the individual image is shaped by memory, experiences,

emotions, and imagination. The mass images are obtained through the mass media and other

secondary sources. Goodrich's two types of images were primary (resulting from visit to the

destination) and secondary (as a result of information obtained from external to the individual

resources). Fakeye and Crompton (1991) added a third image complex, which results from

visiting the destination.









Echtner and Ritchie (1991) proposed a three-dimensional model of image components. In

one dimension were the attribute and holistic components. These components are comprised of

tangible or functional characteristics, and intangible or psychological characteristics creating the

second dimension. The third dimension, on the one hand, consists of 'common' traits, which are

functional or psychological, and on the other, unique events, attractions, or feelings. Image, they

suggested, is not only based on destination attributes, but also on intangible features such as the

atmosphere of a place. In addition, they noted the neglect of the common and unique dimensions

in past studies, thus, Echtner and Ritchie's conceptualization also allows for capturing the unique

and specific features of each destination. Stem and Krakover (1993) have suggested that the

composite or global image is formed by the two components designative (cognitive) and

appraisive (affective) components.

Gartner (1993) examined in detail the components of image formation in relation to

destination choice process. He concluded that once an individual has decided to take a vacation

image becomes an important component in the decision making process as to which destination

to select. The three components presented are: cognitive, affective and conative. The cognitive

component is represented by the attitudes and beliefs about a product or object forming a picture

of its attributes. External stimuli are most important in forming the cognitive image. Since the

tourism product is not tangible, images stem from perceptions rather than reality according to

Gartner. The affective component is manifested through the emotional evaluations of

destinations and is related to the motivations and to the benefits desired by the traveler from a

destination. Finally, the conative image is equivalent to the action/behavioral element. The

conative component is represented by choosing one travel destination after information is

processed and evaluations from alternatives are made.









Milman and Pizam (1995) also examined three components of image of tourist

destinations: 1) the product (e.g. attractions, price, category of users); 2) the attitude and

behavior of employees interacting with visitors; and 3) the environment (weather, landscape,

quality of facilities). Attributes of the destination related to the above categories can then form

the cognitive and affective images and ultimately the traveler will select one destination. More

recently, Baloglu and McCleary (1999a) discussed the perceptual/cognitive evaluations resulting

from knowledge about a destination's attributes and the affective evaluations associated with

feelings toward the destination. They suggested that the overall image is formed as a result of

both the perceptual/cognitive and the affective images of a place. Using path analysis they

showed that perceptual/cognitive evaluations influenced the affective evaluations on three

factors: quality of experience, attractions and value/environment. In addition, the

perceptual/cognitive evaluations significantly influenced overall image. Affective evaluation

also significantly influenced overall image.

Image Formation

Gunn (1972) focused on the influence of "push" and "pull" components of image

formation. Internal stimuli such as motivations, beliefs, and perceptions comprise the push

factors and the external stimuli (destination attributes, costs, etc.) are related to the pull factors

(Crompton, 1979a; Gartner, 1993; Goodall, 1991; Sonmez & Sirakaya, 2002). Gartner described

the image formation process as a continuum of eight agents and when combined they form the

unique image each traveler holds of a destination. The first agent is what he calls Overt Induced

I and is comprised of intentional promotional efforts of a destination via television, radio,

brochures, and others and directed towards inducing a specific image. This element is

characterized by low credibility. Individuals receive many advertising messages throughout their

lifetime. They also may realize that these messages may portray destinations in a certain way









and the created image does not necessarily correspond to reality. Therefore, such forms of

destination advertising may have low credibility. The second image creating agent is called

Overt Induced II. This group is comprised of information produced and received by tour

operators, wholesale operators, and so on. The role of these agencies is to create favorable

images of destinations for which they offer tours (Lapage & Cormier, 1977). The next agent is

called Covert Induced I and involves the use of a celebrity spokesperson and is used to

counteract the low credibility stemming from promotions of the Overt Induced I agent. The

fourth element, Covert Induced II is comprised of articles, news and other reports about a place

that have been influenced by the destination marketers, however, the visitor is not likely to be

aware of this. The fifth element is comprised of the Autonomous image agents such as

independent movies, reports, articles, and documentaries. The marketers of a destination have

no control over these autonomous agents. Gartner explained that news reports are generally

considered unbiased, and therefore, have substantial influence on image formation. Due to the

power of image formation of autonomous agents they may be useful in changing an image in a

relatively short period of time. The sixth element, Unsolicited Organic agents consists of

information received that has not been requested by the individual. Due to the fact that this

information has not been sought, the retention level is low. However, according to Crotts

(1999), information obtained from friends and relatives has great influence on travelers. In other

words, word of mouth is an important opinion forming source; therefore, this agent can be an

important image formation source. Indeed, the seventh group of agents is the Solicited Organic,

which is represented by information provided by friends or relatives who have visited the

destination; however, the difference between the Overt Induced II (such as tour operators) and

the Solicited Organic source is that the latter is not vested in the outcome of the decision.









Finally, the eighth group of agents is the Organic, which consists of personal experience from a

visit to the destination.

Gartner (1993) criticized the research on image as piecemeal and lacking a theoretical

basis and as a result noted that the efforts in the destination formation process have been limited.

Studies have shown the importance of destination image in the travel decision making process.

Image has shown to be a determining factor whether a destination should be considered further

or eliminated as an alternative by a potential visitor. Just as the right marketing mix of the four

elements (product, price, place, and promotion) is important in the marketing of products and

services, he suggested the right mix of image agents is critical to the formation and change of the

desired image. Gartner provided some guidance regarding which image forming agents the

destinations should use. However, the changing of an image begins with a thorough

understanding of the current image in the minds of potential travelers.

The present study attempts to gain an understanding of the current image of Bulgaria and

compare it to the image formed as a result of showing a travel DVD falling into the category of a

Covert Induced II agent. Gartner could not have been more direct in expressing the importance

of implementing an image development strategy: "Destination promoters without an image

formation strategy will find it increasingly difficult to maintain, increase, or develop their unique

share of the tourism market" (p. 209). Gartner also provided a link between awareness and

image, when he stated that the presence of awareness of a destination means that an image of that

place exists in the mind's eye of the traveler.

Image and Awareness

Millman and Pizam (1995) focused on the role of awareness in the process of consumer

buying behavior. According to the authors awareness is essential to forming an image.

Therefore, they argued that awareness of a destination must precede a positive image if that









destination is to be successful. Likewise, Fakeye and Crompton (1991) showed that image

differed on every dimension for non-visitors to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas compared to the

first-time and repeat visitors who were already familiar with the destination.

Image and Sociodemographics

More recently, Baloglu and McCleary (1999a) proposed a model of image formation

developed from relevant literature in different fields and they tested their model using path

analysis. Working from an extensive review of literature, they found that image is influenced by

two major groups of factors: personal factors (including motivations, perceptions, socio-

demographics, etc.) and stimulus factors related to the tourism product, information about the

product, and personal experience (Baloglu & McCleary, 1999a; Goodall, 1991; Goodall &

Ashworth, 1988). These two major groups correspond to the supply and demand factors critical

to tourism development and destination image formation described by several authors (Goodall

& Ashworth, 1988; Gunn, 1972).

According to Husbands (1989), education is the most important variable related to

difference in perception of tourism. He explored perception of tourism among the resident

population of a town in Zambia in terms of its importance to the residents and related to their

employment in tourism or outside of the tourism industry. He also explored the influence of age,

monthly income and profession, but these demographics did not influence perception. Javalgi et

al. (1992) found that level of education did not influence travel behavior, although higher income

played a role in the selection of a European destination by U.S. outbound travelers. Age also

appeared to be influential in the four studied European destinations in that the destinations

tended to attract those over 45 years old, whereas, Southern Europe showed the highest appeal

among the other destinations for younger adults. Stern and Krakover (1993) similarly concluded

that level of education was one of the most important variables in shaping a composite urban









image as a result of the interrelationships between cognitive and affective components. Baloglu

(1997) investigated the images of the U.S.A. held by West German visitors. He found no

significant differences in terms of gender, income and education, although age, marital status,

and occupation did account for significant differences in image.

Chen and Kerstetter (1999) studied differences in rural tourism images among international

students in the U.S. due to socio-demographic factors and travel behavior. Their results revealed

differences in image dimensions in four of six socio-demographic variables gender, household

status (living with children and/or relatives), home country, and class standing. Men and

women differed significantly on two image dimensions tourism infrastructure dimension and

natural amenity dimension. Women were more likely to agree with the items in these two

factors. Chen and Kerstetter found that more positive and images that were neutral or negative

emerged in terms of rural tourism in Pennsylvania. Therefore, they suggested that the

promotional materials should emphasize the positive elements.

More recently, Beerli and Martin (2004) found significant but more moderate gender

differences for first-time tourists and cognitive image components of general and tourist

infrastructure and natural and cultural resources in Lanzarote, Spain. Repeat women visitors

significantly differed on the sun and sand component. First-time women visitors significantly

differed on the affective image by having a more favorable image toward the destination

compared to men. Significant differences in image by age were apparent for the social

setting/environment component for both first-timers and repeat visitors. Older tourists viewed

the destination generally in a more positive way on this dimension. In terms of education, the

affective image was lower when education levels were higher. Results showed that first-time

tourists had a negative association with the cognitive image dimension of natural/cultural









resources. Furthermore, respondents with higher social class rated the destination lower on this

dimension. Significant differences for first-timers and repeaters in three out of five cognitive

image categories as well as for the affective dimension were also apparent by country of origin.

Deslandes (2006) found that there were gender differences in destination image among visitors

to St. Lucia. Women tended to rate St. Lucia more favorably on all image attributes than men.

Thus, overall there does not seem to be a lot of consensus in the literature regarding the influence

of socio-demographics on destination image.

Intent to travel

A number of factors have been found to influence the decision making process when

selecting a destination. Those components are awareness, image, perceptions and beliefs, and

information sources (Stem & Krakover, 1993). Intent is a component directly preceding

destination choice in Woodside and Lysonski's model (1989).

Definition of Intention

Intent or intention was defined by Howard and Sheth (1969) "...as a cognitive state that

reflects the buyer's plan to buy units of a particular brand in some specified time period" (p. 132).

The literature specifies that intention should be examined in terms of a specific time frame in

which the purchase should occur. The decision making process can be conceptualized as a

continuum: information can lead to awareness, generate interest, create desire, and result in

action (refer to the AIDA sequence discussed in chapter 1); therefore, information influences

preference and choice of destination (Court & Lupton, 1997). As a result, the image of a

destination may also change due to information sources.

Relationships of Intention, Destination Familiarity, Awareness, and Image

Woodside and Lysonski's (1989) model of traveler choice consists of the following

components: marketing variables (advertising, product design and others); traveler variables









(socio-demographics, lifestyle, and prior destination experience); destination awareness

(categorization process); affective associations (positive or negative feelings); traveler

destination preferences, intentions to visit; situational variables; and choice. Their discussion

focused on several of the model components. Affective associations and categorization

influence individual preferences for a destination. Affective associations that are positive, for

example, would be toward destinations an individual is considering visiting and negative toward

destinations that he/she will not visit. Woodside and Lysonski argued that the categorization

process occurring in travelers' minds by dividing the destinations of which the traveler is aware

into several categories: consideration set, unavailable/aware set, inert set, and inept set. When

examining the image of Turkey among Americans Sonmez and Sirakaya (2002) assumed that

travelers had ambiguous or unknown images toward Turkey. Therefore, one reason why tourism

in Turkey had not reached its potential may be due to the unclear image of the destination among

U.S. travelers. In other words, those negative images may be due to insufficient knowledge

about the destination. Moreover, Hunt (1975) expressed the importance of image to the point:

"Although a region may contain a wide spectrum and high quality of tourist-recreation resources,

a distorted image may detract from realizing potential use or optimum economic development"

(p. 1). On the other hand, a destination that has positive images is a destination about which

travelers have sufficient information to determine that the destination will be able to meet their

needs.

Kotler et al. (1993), for example, emphasized that places can have images that are positive,

weak, negative, mixed, contradictory or overly attractive, which may ultimately influence intent

to visit and a choice of a destination. The consideration set consists of those destinations that the

traveler is considering visiting. The unavailable/aware set consists of destinations of which the









consumer is aware but for one reason or another (cost, distance) they are unavailable. These

categorizations are influenced by information received (advertising), product design and

variables related to the traveler (age, lifestyle, and others). In Woodside and Lysonski's model

after a destination is categorized, affective associations form toward that destination. Woodside

and Lysonski continued to explain how travelers construct preferences described as rankings of

destinations from least to most liked. Such preferences are influenced by the awareness of the

destination, affective associations and traveler variables. The next stage in their model is intent

to visit, which is dependent on the formed preferences for a destination. Finally, choice of a

destination is shown to be predicted by intent and situational variables. Results from their

exploratory study showed that destinations in the consideration sets had positive associations

compared to the associations for destinations in the other sets. Results also showed that

destinations that were mentioned first had higher preferences. The hypothesis that intention to

visit a destination is positively influenced by the preferences toward that destination was

partially confirmed. Woodside and Lysonski's study has both important practical and theoretical

implications to the study of the destination choice process.

Bigne, Sanchez, and Sanchez (2001) examined the influence of destination image on

behavior intentions of visitors after their visit and on image and their evaluation of the stay and

concluded that image is a necessary preceding factor in the intention to return and to recommend

the destination to others. Thus, it appears that image may play an important role in the initial

intent to visit. A number of studies have focused on the influence of image on the selection of a

destination (Crompton & Ankomah, 1993; Goodall, 1991). Intent is associated with preferences

of the traveler (Woodside & Carr, 1988; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). Woodside and

Lysonski's model of destination awareness and choice included preferences, which can be









described as rankings by the consumer of destinations he/she most likes to those he/she likes

least. They found that awareness was strongly associated with preference toward destinations.

Consumer research studies have shown that top-of-mind-awareness is a predictor of preference

for brands and purchase (Axelrod, 1968) or intent to visit a destination (Woodside & Sherrell,

1977). Woodside and Sherrell reported higher scores of intent to visit destinations in the evoked

set as a result of unaided awareness. However, according to Woodside and Sherrell since the

number of destinations that an individual may consider can be quite large (awareness set), the

individual will likely consider a more limited number of destinations for an extensive evaluation.

Thus, the evoked set is a smaller set within the larger awareness set. When he and his colleagues

examined events and how they are affected by event media, Chalip et al. (2003) found that event

media did not influence directly the intent to visit the destination. The effect was through

destination image acting as an intervening variable. The influence of image on intent to visit the

Gold Coast of Australia was significant; however, there were differences in the significance of

image dimensions between U.S. travelers and New Zealanders. In contrast, Deslandes (2006)

found that the impact of destination image on the intent to return to St. Lucia was minimal.

Intention and Socio-demographics

Intent to visit a destination has not been examined extensively in the tourism literature.

Some studies have examined the relationship between intention to revisit and past visits (Court &

Lupton, 1997; George & George, 2004). Court and Lupton concluded from their study that when

a destination has a more favorable image, respondents were more likely to visit the destination.

Also, an individual was more likely to visit a destination due to several variables: distance to the

destination, higher income, smaller household size, and prior visitation, among others. The

authors also emphasized the importance of travel information. Results showed that travelers

were likely to visit or revisit New Mexico if they were exposed to travel information and/or have









visited the destination. Travel information shapes travelers' preferences, images, contributes to

greater awareness and may lead to greater levels of intent to visit and eventually to revisit the

location.

Recently, Deslandes (2006) in his study of image, satisfaction, and behavioral intention

among visitors to St. Lucia found that there were gender differences in terms of behavioral intent

measured as intent to return. Males reported higher behavioral intentions to return than females.

Lam and Hsu's (2006) study examined behavioral intention to visit a destination and the

influence of attitude, perceived behavioral control, and past behavior by applying the theory of

planned behavior. Their results showed that past behavior, perceived behavioral control and

subjective norm had a direct influence on intention. Intention was measured as selecting Hong

Kong as a travel destination by potential Taiwanese travelers. Attitude, however, did not

influence intention. The study recognized that previous literature has noted differences in

behavior of Western and Eastern tourists. Thus, the literature suggests that there are no

consistencies as to the influence of socio-demographics on intent to visit a destination.

Prior Travel Experience

Prior travel experience is an important component influencing tourist behavior,

participation in activities at a destination, likelihood to visit a destination, and information search

behavior (Lehto, Kim, & Morrison, 2006; Lehto, O'Leary, & Morrison, 2004; Milman & Pizam,

1995; Sonmez & Graefe, 1998; Weaver, Weber, & McCleary, 2007). In addition, the images

and familiarity with places are influenced by travelers' prior travel experiences (Baloglu, 2001;

Fakeye & Crompton, 1991; Milman & Pizam; 1995).

Mazursky (1989), for example, suggested that personal travel experiences may be more

critical in the travel decision making process than information obtained from external sources

such as travel brochures, magazines, television, and others. In relation to destination image









Fakeye and Crompton (1991) found that images of a destination in Texas held by non visitors

(people who have not visited a destination) differed from the images of first-time or repeat

visitors. As a result, marketing and promotional efforts of destinations will be affected by such

findings.

In terms of likelihood to visit Milman and Pizam (1995) found that those who were

familiar with (have visited) Central Florida were more inclined to visit that destination again.

The authors' propensity to travel index consisting of number of trips taken in the past five years,

destination's location, and length of time spent at that destination did not reveal any significant

differences among the three groups of travelers: not aware (never heard of Central Florida- CF);

aware (never visited CF); and familiar (have visited CF). The authors' explanation for this result

was that Central Florida may not be suitable as a destination for travelers with limited travel

experience. Similarly, Sonmez and Graefe (1998)found support for their first hypothesis that

prior travel to a region increases the likelihood that an individual will travel in the future to that

region as part of his/her next international vacation. Risk and safety were also found to influence

future travel intentions. Their results also showed that individuals who have previously traveled

to risky regions (e.g. Africa, Middle East and others) were not as likely to avoid travel to those

places compared to travelers with no travel experience to the same regions.

In a study of tourist roles (using Cohen's [1972] four types), international travel and

perceived risk among college students Lepp and Gibson (2003) found that organized mass

tourists who had traveled most internationally had a higher perception of cultural barriers in

terms of risk compared to travelers who have traveled less (i.e. less experience). This was also

true for drifters. This seemed an unlikely finding, which the authors explained may have been

the result of the following hypothesis that greater contact with different cultures may lead to









travelers being more cautious. This was not true in the case of explorers and independent mass

tourists, though. However, it can also be concluded based on the previous discussion of

familiarity and awareness that more experience contributes to greater awareness of such risks.

In terms of activity participation at a destination, Lehto, O'Leary, and Morrison (2004)

found that prior experience influenced activity participation negatively. The more experience

UK travelers to the U.S. had, the less they participated in activities and the less they visited

various places during their vacation. In another study Lehto, Kim and Morrison. (2006) found

that prior experience with a destination significantly affected the degree of internet search (i.e.

hours of internet use for trip planning and length of trip planning such as days, weeks, etc.).

Travelers with no previous experience to the destination engaged in a more extensive internet

search, which was expected by the researchers.

Weaver, Weber, and McCleary (2007) found that prior travel experience (i.e. the more

countries they have visited) had a positive association with service quality of Hong Kong as a

destination. However, there was a negative correlation between previous travel experience

(number of countries visited) and the likelihood of visiting Hong Kong.

Tourist Roles

The literature on tourist behavior and roles travelers assume when they travel can shed

light on why tourists assume such roles. In other words, researchers have examined factors such

as socio-demographics, the environment in which an individual was brought up, motivations,

preferences, needs, past travel experience and others that can help tourism marketers and tourism

sociologists understand why travelers identify with one type of tourist role rather than another.

The discussion that follows will examine the concept of tourist role preference.

International tourists can be classified into several types according to the degree of

familiarity and novelty they seek (Cohen, 1972). Cohen introduced the familiarity novelty









continuum and he proposed four types of international tourists that differed in the degree of

familiarity they sought while traveling: the organized mass tourist (OMT), the individual mass

tourist (IMT), the explorer (EXP), and the drifter (DTR). The organized mass tourist prefers

most familiarity, goes on guided tours and prefers to stay in his/her "environmental bubble" of

the familiar environments. The organized mass tourist is comfortable in destinations similar to

his/her own or destinations that can provide comfortable accommodations and are safe. Such

tourists may not be likely to explore the destination on their own. The individual mass tourist on

the other hand prefers to travel independently; however, he/she prefers familiarity. This type of

tourist is more inclined than the previous type to have a more flexible schedule and he/she is not

tied to a group tour. Therefore, he/she may explore the host country by visiting certain

attractions, but his/her trip has been arranged by a travel agent. The explorer, on the other hand,

prefers even more independence, arranges his/her own trip, seeks a good degree of novelty, and

immerses more in the local environment. The explorer, according to Cohen, ventures off the

beaten track. He or she may, therefore, visit remote natural and cultural areas. However, he/she

may still choose comfortable accommodations. Finally, the drifter has no time schedule, he/she

tries to fully immerse in the local culture and even work to support himself/herself while

traveling. The drifter interacts with locals so perhaps the language barrier may not be considered

as critical. In addition, novelty is at its highest for the drifter. Such a tourist may enjoy

undeveloped and remote areas of interest to him/her that are far away from the established tourist

areas.

Tourism research in recent decades has emphasized the importance of image, destination

awareness, and tourist roles among other factors in the destination choice process (Lee &

Crompton, 1992; Stabler, 1988; Goodall, 1991; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). In addition,









studies show that as tourists differ in types of vacations they choose according to their needs,

motivations, preferences, and novelty tolerance travelers may differ by the level of prior

knowledge they have about them, by the way they perceive destinations, and therefore, their

familiarity, awareness with and images of those places may differ as well (Crompton, 1979a;

Lepp & Gibson, 2003; Plog, 1974, 2001). For example, Mayo and Jarvis (1981) emphasized the

influence of psychological factors such as perception, learning, and motivation on individual's

attitudes and, therefore his/her behavior. In other words, these psychological factors may affect

the type of destination he/she chooses.

However, other studies do not support the view that socio-demographics may determine to

a large extent what type of vacation he/she will choose and the type of role he/she will play as a

tourist (Graburn, 1977). Graburn, for example, indirectly supported the position that income

may not be as influential as many think it is in determining the likelihood that individuals will

travel. He suggested education may be a more powerful predictor. Graburn explained that

education is linked to cultural self-confidence and as such influences what type of vacations

individuals take, in particularly Americans (Graburn, 1983). Cultural self-confidence refers to

the extent to which a traveler is inclined to explore the unexpected and unknown and ready to get

out of his/her "environmental bubble" as Cohen put it (1972). Lack of such confidence also

relates to Plog's (1974, 2001, 2004) tourist types based on psychographics (study of individuals'

personality characteristics) and in particular matches the psychocentrics (dependables) category,

which is discussed in more detail later. Graburn argued that cultural self-confidence related to

travel is influenced more by education rather than income. Based on Graburn's work one might

conclude that an individual's environment and upbringing and particularly his/her educational

background influences the type of vacations he/she takes, including the roles he/she assumes as a









traveler. As a consequence to Graburn's work, which emphasized the significance of cultural

self-confidence, social class and other factors, such as an individual's familiarity, awareness and

images of a destination are expected to be different. Campbell (1978) cited by Graburn

described the American affluent working class as one lacking self-cultural confidence to travel

outside of their "environmental bubble" and as a consequence not readily willing to try different

accommodations, speak different languages, etc. According to Campbell, the educational

background of many working class people does not instill in them the confidence to explore

cultures that are different than their own.

Plog (2001) also questioned the explanatory power of demographic segmentation used by

so many in the tourism industry. Plog (1974) proposed a model of personality travel types based

on psychographics in relation to a destination's life cycle. His continuum ranges from

psychocentrics, whom later he called dependables on one end to allocentrics or ventures on the

other. The majority of travelers fall in the middle section of the model as mid-centrics. Plog's

dependables prefer well-known product brands, are not after new ideas and experiences, and

have low activity levels, for example. They can be compared to those who are most comfortable

in their "environmental bubble" (Cohen, 1972) and those lacking cultural self-confidence

(Graburn, 1983). Venturers, on the other hand are curious intellectually, self-confident, and

relatively active, for example.

Smith (1977) is also credited with presenting seven tourist roles: explorer, elite, off-beat,

unusual, incipient mass, mass, and charter. The explorer's purpose for travel is that of discovery.

The elite travelers have their trips arranged by a travel agent and purchase expensive trips to

experience a unique South American Indian way of life, for example. The off-beat tourist either

travels to get away from the crowds or do something unconventional. The unusual traveler is









likely to take a chartered tour and feels safer if eating the food he/she is used to, even though

he/she wants to have a glimpse of the host culture. The incipient mass tourist may travel

individually or in groups and looks for Western travel comforts. The mass tourist is seen in great

numbers and tends to come from Northern Europe, for example seeking warm vacation

destinations such as Spain and the Mediterranean (although this is beginning to change as

individuals from the Asia-Pacific countries are beginning to travel more). Charter tourists

belong to tour groups with highly structured itineraries. Smith's typology supports the ideas,

which were put forward by Cohen (1972) and Plog (1974), that tourists differ in their tolerance

for novelty. As an anthropologist her main concern in differentiating these tourist types was the

impact that the mass tourists had on the destinations they visited.

Pearce (1985) built upon Cohen (1974), Smith (1977) and others and identified fifteen

tourist roles based on fuzzy-set theory: tourist, traveler, holidaymaker, jet-setter, businessman,

migrant, conservationist, explorer, missionary, overseas student, anthropologist, hippie,

international athlete, overseas journalist, and religious pilgrim. His categories were based upon

behaviors a traveler exhibits categorized along twenty behavioral dimensions (whether he/she

takes photos, buys souvenirs, etc.). Pearce used multidimensional scaling to examine how the

roles are interrelated and as a result five clusters emerged: "spiritual" consisting of religious

pilgrim, hippie and missionary; "environmental" consisting of anthropologist, conservationist

and explorer; "high contact" consisting of traveler, overseas student and overseas journalist;

"pleasure first" made up of tourist, holidaymaker and the final cluster "exploitative" consisting

of businessman, where jet-setter overlaps into the last two categories. The migrant and

international athlete types did not fit into any of the five clusters; however, he explained that

their location on the grid in relation to the other clusters is "broadly consistent" (p.36).









Following both Cohen (1972) and Pearce (1985), Yiannakis and Gibson (1992), further

delineated Pearce's fifteen traveler roles and focused on leisure-based tourist roles. Beginning in

1986, Yiannakis identified eight tourist roles and in subsequent work with Gibson, they

developed the tourist role preference scale that measures thirteen tourist roles (Gibson, 1989,

1994; Yiannakis & Gibson, 1992). Using multidimensional scaling they identified three

dimensions underlying each of the roles (Yiannakis & Gibson, 1992) (two additional roles were

added by Gibson, 1994). These were: stimulation-tranquility, familiarity-strangeness, and

structure-independence. The first dimension reflects the level of tranquility that one seeks in a

vacation versus the stimulation of activities, sights, etc. The second axis represents the

continuum of a familiar environment versus the novel and less known environments and

experiences. The last dimension represents how structured one's vacation is and the level of pre-

planning and rigidity involved. The authors proposed that while "Psychological needs (which

serve as push factors) motivate individuals to select and enact tourist roles in destinations that are

perceived to provide an optimal balance of stimulation-tranquility, familiarity-strangeness, and

structure-independence" (p. 300), socio-cultural variables such as gender, life stage, and social

class shaped the choice of tourist role (Gibson, 1989, 1994; Yiannakis & Gibson, 1988; 1992)

In the same vein as Yiannakis and Gibson's work, Mo, Howard, and Havitz (1993) and

Mo, Havitz, and Howard (1994) developed a twenty-item scale to operationalize Cohen's (1972)

tourist roles. The resulting International Tourism Role Scale (ITR) was used to identify different

types of tourists on the three travel dimensions and demographics: destination-orientation

dimension (DOD); travel services dimension (TSD); and social contact dimension (SCD). The

authors identified four types of tourist, the High Novelty Seekers (HNS), the High Familiarity

Seekers (HFS), Destination Novelty Seekers (DNS), and Social Contact Seekers (SCS). High









Novelty Seekers (HNS) corresponded most closely to Cohen's drifter and explorer types. Next,

the DNS type corresponded most closely to the Organized Mass Tourist. The SCS corresponded

to Cohen's types of Independent Mass Tourist and Explorer. The HFS referred to those tourists

who seek security in their experience and who prefer familiar destinations.

Mo et al. found that the different tourist types differed by marital status, age and education.

They also found that SCS cluster was comprised primarily of college students, most of whom

were young and single. Fifty-seven percent of the DNS travelers were alumni who were older,

half of whom were married and more than half had a college degree. In terms of past

international travel experience, tourist types were also significantly different. For example, the

High Novelty Seekers had higher scores on statements related to novelty experiences on their

latest trip, which were not present in the U.S. and had more contact with locals. HNS tourists

tended to be in their 40s, college educated and single. In addition, HNS and DNS tourists had

traveled more frequently internationally compared to the SCS and HFS tourists.

Similarly, Gibson and Yiannakis (2002) found that tourists classified by their fifteen tourist

roles tended to vary by age or life stage and gender. For example, they found preference for

some roles such as the Action Seeker, Drifter and Thrill Seeker tended to decline with age,

whereas, others such as the Organized Mass Tourist increased with age. There were also

differences by gender, for example, younger women preferred culturally-oriented types of roles

such as the Anthropologist compared to their male counterparts who showed more interest in

thrill seeking in their 20s. Thus, in the tourist role literature there seem to be some consistencies

especially as they relate to Cohen's (1974) argument that there is not just one type of tourist but

many types. Specifically, for this study it appears that some tourists were attracted to novel

destinations that they know little about whereas, others preferred more familiar destinations.









Moreover, is also appears that these preferences might be further explained by gender, life stage,

income and level of education.

Lepp and Gibson (2003) used Cohen's (1972) tourist role typology to understand how

different types of tourists perceive the level of familiarity and difference associated with various

destinations. They found that familiarity seekers, i.e. organized and independent mass tourists

were more likely to perceive more risk associated with destinations they perceived as more

different or less familiar than the U.S. Thus, images held of a destination were linked to

different types of tourist role. Specifically, Lepp and Gibson found that preference of tourists for

novelty is associated with perceived travel risk. In other words, a tourist's psychological and

personal characteristics, culture, and environment may help determine what type of vacations

he/she will be seeking. This in turn may determine what type of travel information the traveler

will seek, which may likely influence knowledge and awareness of travel destinations around the

world. The position that a certain level of awareness as a result of the information sources used

may form specific images of destinations has been supported by Gunn (1972) and others (Beerli

& Martin, 2004; Chalip et al., 2003; Gartner, 1993).

In summary, prior travel experience as a dimension of prior knowledge (Kerstetter & Cho,

2004) influences the vacation decision making process. It may also influence the individual's

travel behavior and tourist role he/she assumes as well as the level of awareness and images

he/she has of a destination, and the likelihood of visiting that destination.

Summary

Tourism destination choice studies have focused both on psychological variables such as

motivations, perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes on one hand and on non-psychological variables

such as cost of travel, time, attributes of the destination, traveler characteristics, etc. on the other

that influence traveler's selection of a destination (Goodall, 1991; Sonmez & Sirakaya, 2002).









The present study's focus was to examine the interrelationships among destination

familiarity, awareness, image, and intent to travel to a specific destination the less known

country of Bulgaria by U.S. college students. This study builds upon Woodside and Lysonski's

(1989) work by including familiarity and prior knowledge as important variables to the

destination choice model. In addition, the various tourist roles an individual assumes, his/her

prior travel experience and socio-demographic characteristics have been shown to influence an

individual's travel behavior and choice of destinations as a result of traveler images and

awareness.

Destination familiarity, awareness, image, and intent are important variables influencing

tourist behavior and many studies have examined the complex relationships among them

(Chalip, et al., 2003; Kim & Pennington-Gray, 2004; Kim & Richardson, 2003; Milman &

Pizam, 1995; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). Moreover, socio-demographic factors, prior travel

experiences and tourist role preferences have been shown to influence the level of awareness,

image and intent to travel (Ahmed, 1991; Beerli & Martin, 2004; Boo & Busser, 2005; Chen &

Kerstetter, 1999; Deslandes, 2006; Milman & Pizam, 1995; Pike, 2002). Tourists choosing

specific tourist roles may look for destinations that will fit those roles influenced by the degree of

familiarity and novelty they seek in a destination.

The theoretical framework consisting of three theories: the theory of reasoned action, the

theory of planned behavior, and theories linking awareness and purchase behavior can be used to

predict intention to visit and actual behavior with the latter being beyond the scope of this study.

It is important for marketers of emerging tourist destinations to understand the level of

awareness, images, and attitudes their destinations evoke in the tourists' minds, which in turn









will aid in the targeted design of promotional materials, the effective market segmentation and

branding and positioning of the destination.









CHAPTER 3
METHODS

The purpose of the study was to investigate the familiarity, awareness, image, and intent to

visit Bulgaria among a sample of U.S. college students. This chapter explains the

instrumentation, procedures used to collect data and the statistical analyses used to answer the

research questions. According to the statistical procedures performed destination awareness,

familiarity, image, and intent to visit Bulgaria were used as dependent variables. Gender, tourist

role preference, and previous international travel experience were independent variables.

Data Collection

The study used a one group pre-test post-test pre-experimental design. Participation in the

study was voluntary and participants were assured of confidentiality at the beginning of the

study. Participants were asked three screening questions before the instrument was administered.

The first question asked participants if they were a U.S. citizen born in the United States. The

next question inquired whether they had ever visited Bulgaria. The last question asked if they

had accessed travel-related information about Bulgaria, such as searching the Internet, seen

advertising about the country, travel brochures and others. Only participants who were U.S.

citizens born in the U.S. were surveyed. The last two questions controlled for the forming of

complex image and induced images, in other words if individuals answered "yes" (i.e. they did

visit) they were not included in the study. Studies show that the image of destination is

influenced by a visit to the destination (Fakeye & Crompton, 1991; Milman & Pizam, 1995). In

addition, the stimulus was a source for the formation of induced images about Bulgaria.

For the pre-test participants were asked to fill out the first part of the questionnaire. When

they had completed this task, a geographical map of Bulgaria was shown to the students prior to

the showing of the video. They were also told that Bulgaria is located in Eastern Europe on the









Balkan Peninsula and which countries shared a border with Bulgaria. Students then viewed a

DVD with two presentations about Bulgaria. The first one showed excerpts of Surprising

Bulgaria by Rick Steves' Eastern Europe (2000-2007) presenting various aspects of Bulgaria

including cultural attractions, exploring of towns and rural areas, and others. The second showed

excerpts of a promotional video Bulgaria by the Bulgarian State Tourism Agency. The DVDs

can be categorized according to Gartner's (1993) image agents as a combination of Covert

Induced II (which along with articles, news reports and other sources constitutes an important

information source influencing travel behavior) and Autonomous image agents and as such,

along with the map the DVDs served as the intervention for the study. The video by Rick Steves

was chosen as it represented Bulgaria well in a popular format. Rick Steves is known to many

Americans with his travel shows about places near and far. This video focused on the fact that

Bulgaria is now a democracy, adapting to cater to the needs to the foreign traveler, even though

slowly at times, however also offering unique opportunity for experiencing primarily cultural

and religious sights. It also showcased the agricultural roots of the country, friendliness and

hospitality of Bulgarians, its cuisine, and ethnic diversity. The second video complemented the

Rick Steves' video by showcasing Bulgaria as a sun and sea and winter destination, resort

entertainment, whitewater rafting, cold and warm mineral water springs, Bulgarian wine, and its

rich cultural and archaeological heritage. Both videos (together with the questionnaire) were

first pilot-tested with undergraduate students in the summer of 2007. Due to their comments the

excerpts from the two videos were modified to create the length and content finally used in the

study. Following the intervention in the summer and fall of 2007, the participants were asked to

complete the remainder of the questionnaire.









Instrument

The questionnaire consisted of thirteen parts (Appendix). The first part contained one

question asking participants if they had heard of the country Bulgaria. Part two consisted of

three open-ended questions to gain an understanding of what images first came to the mind of the

travelers when thinking about vacationing in Bulgaria, what unique tourist attractions and others

associations they had with the country, and atmosphere they would expect to experience in

Bulgaria. These questions were developed from Echtner and Ritchie (1993, p.5) who used open-

ended questions to measure the holistic and unique elements of image and also Prentice and

Andersen (2000, p. 504) for their contribution to association elicitation. Such free elicitation of

image according to Prentice and Andersen allows participants to describe the destination using

their own words. The third part of the questionnaire consisted of three questions regarding

familiarity, whether participants had taken educational classes that have covered some

information about Bulgaria and finally, their past use of resources to learn about Bulgaria.

Operationalization of Variables

The first question measuring familiarity was operationalized not as a previous visit but as a

self-rated response to the question: "How familiar/knowledgeable do you consider yourself to be

with Bulgaria?", where the responses were measured on a five point Likert-type scale (l=not at

all familiar, 2=slightly familiar, 3=fairly familiar, 4=quite familiar, 5=very familiar) based on

Sonmez and Sirakaya (2002, p. 189). The second question measured whether students have

taken any history, geography or other classes in which they learned about Bulgaria with a "yes"

"no" response. The third question measured what type of information sources the students have

used to learn about Bulgaria including movies, friends/relatives and others.









Part four included seventeen statements measuring the participants' level of knowledge

about Bulgaria. This scale and questions were developed from prior studies (Kim & Pennington-

Gray, 2004). Three response categories "True", "False" and "Don't know" were available.

Part five consisted of 36 image items measuring the image of Bulgaria as a tourist

destination on a five point Likert-type scale (1 = Strongly disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Somewhat

agree, 4 = Agree, 5 = Strongly agree) with an added 9 = Don't know category due to the

anticipated low familiarity/knowledge about Bulgaria. These items were developed by using

Beerli and Martin's (2004, p. 659) and Echtner and Ritchie's (1993, p. 6 and p.9) lists of

dimensions and items. In addition, several travel brochures by the Bulgarian State Agency for

Tourism were reviewed while items were compiled. In addition, another question measured the

overall image of Bulgaria. These questions constituted the pre-test questionnaire. The post-test

sections start at the sixth part of the questionnaire and consisted of one question about the self-

rated familiarity level of participants after watching the videos. Part seven measured their

knowledge about Bulgaria with the seventeen statements discussed previously. Part eight

consisted of one open-ended question asking what characteristics came to mind when thinking

about going on vacation to Bulgaria. Part nine consisted of the 36 image items measuring the

image of Bulgaria among U.S. college students discussed above. These items were followed by

a question asking about the overall image of Bulgaria.

Part ten consisted of six questions measuring past travel experiences and future travel

intentions, which were followed by five questions measuring the perceived behavioral control in

terms of travel to Bulgaria. The first question in part ten measured past international travel

experience by asking the students how many times they have traveled internationally. They were

also asked to list, which countries they have visited. Similar questions asked participants about









travel to Europe. The third question asked about the likelihood of choosing Bulgaria as the

respondents' next vacation destination. The fourth question measured intent to travel to Bulgaria

within the next five years. The fifth and sixth questions asked about intended travel abroad and

to Europe in the next five years. The scale used was a Likert-type five point scale (l=very

unlikely, 2=unlikely, 3=somewhat likely, 4=likely, 5=very likely) measuring intent. These

questions were developed by using Sonmez and Sirakaya's scale (2002, pp. 188-189) and from

the literature on intent to travel. Such questions include a specific time frame within which

travel to occur, which is considered a necessary component of measurement of behavioral intent.

Question seven was in the form of a statement: "If I wanted I could easily visit Bulgaria within

the next five years" where the responses ranged from strongly disagree =1 to strongly agree =5.

The next statement measured how possible=5 or impossible=l1 would it be for the respondent to

visit Bulgaria. Question nine was a statement measuring whether the respondent believed he/she

has the resources to visit Bulgaria in the next five years. The tenth statement measured whether

visiting Bulgaria is expensive. Question eleven was a statement measuring whether the cost to

travel to Bulgaria would influence the respondent's decision to visit Bulgaria. The last three

questions used a Likert-type scale (1 = Strongly disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Somewhat agree, 4 =

Agree, 5 = Strongly agree). These questions were developed by using Ajzen's scale (Ajzen,

2002, rev. 2006). Part eleven consisted of one question using a fixed choice format asking the

type of information resources respondents typically use to plan their travel. Part twelve

contained four statements developed by Lepp and Gibson (2003) describing the behaviors

associated with Cohen's (1972) four tourist types the organized mass tourist (OMT), the

independent mass tourist (IMT), the explorer (EXP), and the drifter (DTR). Participants chose

one statement that described their travel patterns best. Part thirteen contained questions related









to the participants' gender, marital status, age, annual family income, class standing, and racial

background. The questions were presented in a fixed choice format, except for the question

about the age of the participants, which asked them to write the year they were born.

Participants

The face and content validity of the instrument were established using an undergraduate

research methods class during Summer A 2007. Changes in the wording and general usability of

the questionnaire were made. The students also previewed the DVDs and made suggestions on

the intervention that were subsequently incorporated into the data collection protocol.

The sample used was a convenient sample. The participants were college students ages 18

years and over at a large Southeastern University. The sample size was 82 college students.

These were students enrolled in two Summer B classes 2007 and two Fall 2007 classes.

Participants were asked the following pre-screening questions: 1) Are you a U.S. citizen

born in the United States? 2) Have you ever been to Bulgaria? and 2) Have you accessed any

travel brochures or come in contact with other tourist advertising information of Bulgaria?

When a respondent answered "no" to question one he/she was thanked and the participant was

precluded from taking part in the study as several students were foreign-born. No students

responded that they saw promotional material of Bulgaria or that visited the country. These

questions allowed the researcher to control for familiarity from personal experience and for the

formation of an induced image from promotional materials prior to this study. A prior visit to

the destination has been argued that influences and modifies an individual's image of that

destination (Fakeye & Crompton, 1991; Millman & Pizam, 1995).

Of the 82 participants 15 were males (18.3%) and 67 females (81.7%). Demographics and

tourist role experiences are presented in Table 3-1 at the end of the chapter. As expected 64.7%

of the students were between the ages of 18 and 21, 31.7% were between 22 and 24 and 3.6%









were between 25 and 33 years old. In terms of family income (including their parents') 14.6%

reported that their family income was below $25,000 a year, 8.5% reported it was between

$25,001 and $50,000, 11% reported $50,001 and $75,000, 22% reported $75,001 and $100,000,

8.5% between $100,001 and $125,000, 6.1% between $125,001 and $150,000 and 25.6%

reported family income over $125,001. Only one student reported that he/she was married or

partnered and the rest were single. The racial breakdown of the sample was as follows: 68.3%

were white of non-Hispanic origin, 13.4% were Hispanic; 8.5% black, 4.9% other (including

multi-racial), 3.7% were Asian or Pacific Islander, and 1.2% Native American. In terms of the

students' class standing seniors constituted the largest group 67.1%, followed by juniors 19.5%,

freshman 7.3%, graduate students 4.9% and 1.2% sophomores.

In terms of travel experience 25.6% (n = 21) have never traveled internationally, 41.5 % (n

= 34) traveled one to two times, 19.5% (n = 16) have traveled three to four times and 13.44% n =

11) have traveled five or more times. In terms of travel to Europe 63.4% (n = 52) have never

traveled to Europe, 26.8% (n = 22) have been one-two times, 7.3% (n = 6) have been three to

four times and 2.4% (n = 2) have been five or more times. In terms of students' tourist roles

those who were classified as explorers had the highest percentage 42.7%, followed by the

independent mass tourist 30.5%, the organized mass tourist 19.5% and finally the drifter 4.9%.

Data Analysis

Participants' Demographics, Travel Experiences, and Tourist Roles and Information
Sources

Descriptive statistics were used on all of the variables to gain an overall picture of the

data. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 15.









Analysis of the Research Questions

The following statistics were used: Cronbach's alpha, independent samples t-test, paired

difference t-test, cross-tabulation, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), and multiple regression.

Cronbach's alpha was used to determine the internal consistency of the image items and scale.

Pre-test Research Question 1

la. What is the level of awareness of Bulgaria as a tourist destination among U.S. college

students?

Descriptive statistics and frequencies were reported on awareness of Bulgaria as a destination.

lb. Does the level of awareness vary by previous international travel experience?

Cross-tabulation was used to analyze differences in awareness in terms of (i) previous

international travel experience and (ii) previous travel to Europe.

Ic. Does the level of awareness vary by tourist role preference?

Crosstabulation was used to assess differences in awareness according to tourist role preference.

Id. Does level of awareness vary by gender?

Crosstabulation was used to determine differences in awareness according to gender.

Pre-test Research Question 2

2a. What is the level of familiarity with Bulgaria among U.S. college students?

Descriptive statistics were used to attain the familiarity level of students. Familiarity was

operationalized in two ways: (i) examining the response to the question "How

familiar/knowledgeable do you consider yourself to be with Bulgaria?"; and (ii) in terms of the

responses to the 17 knowledge items related to knowledge about Bulgaria. The students who

answered correctly to a knowledge statement were assigned one point, those who answered

incorrectly were assigned zero and those who did not know the answer were counted as missing.









A sum score was calculated with a possible range between 0 and 17. A higher score would mean

the student has a higher level of familiarity based on knowledge of Bulgaria.

2b. Does familiarity vary by previous international travel experience?

Frequencies were reported on familiarity and past travel experience both international and

specifically to Europe. Independent samples t-tests were used to examine the influence of (i)

past international travel experience on self-rated familiarity and (ii) influence of previous travel

to Europe on self-rated familiarity. In addition, non-parametric Mann-Whitney tests were

performed to further examine these influences. Independent samples t-tests were also used to

examine (i) the influence of prior international travel experience and (ii) travel to Europe on the

total familiarity/knowledge score based on the 17 knowledge items. Mann-Whitney tests wee

also used.

2c. Does familiarity vary by tourist role preference?

Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to evaluate the relationship between (i) tourist role

preference and self-rated familiarity and (ii) sum knowledge score. A non-parametric test

Kruskal-Wallis test, equivalent to ANOVA, was also used to examine the relationship.

2d. Does familiarity differ by gender?

Independent t-tests were used to examine the effect of gender on (i) self-rated familiarity and (ii)

knowledge sum scores. Mann-Whitney tests were used due to violation of some assumptions.

Post-test Research Question 2

2e. Following the intervention, what is the participants' level of familiarity and is it different

from familiarity before the intervention?

Descriptives were reported on self-rated familiarity and familiarity based on the 17 knowledge

items after the intervention. In addition, paired t-tests were used to measure differences on both

the self-rated familiarity and familiarity based on the knowledge items pre-test and post-test.









2f. What influence does previous international experience have on the level of familiarity

following the intervention?

Independent samples t-tests were used to examine the influence of (i) previous international

travel experience and (ii) previous travel to Europe on the self-rated familiarity. Non-parametric

Mann-Whitney tests were used also. Independent samples t-tests were used to examine

differences in familiarity based on the knowledge items according to (i) prior international travel

experience and (ii) prior travel to Europe. Again, Mann-Whitney tests were used.

2g. What influence does tourist role preference have on the level of familiarity following the

intervention?

ANOVA was used to examine (i) differences in self-rated familiarity among the four tourist roles

and again to examine (ii) differences in the sum knowledge score among these tourist roles. A

Kruskal-Wallis test was used to examine differences.

2h. What influence does gender have on the level of familiarity following the intervention?

Independent samples t-tests were used to examine the effect of gender on (i) self-rated familiarity

and (ii) sum knowledge score. Mann-Whitney tests were used to further examine the effect of

gender on familiarity.

Pre-test Research Question 3

3a. What organic images of Bulgaria do U.S. college students hold?

Descriptive statistics were generated for the 36 image items and overall image of Bulgaria.

Factor analysis of the items and Cronbach's alpha (a measure of the internal consistency of the

items and the scale) were not used as the data contained missing values due to the use of "don't

know" category. Instead, five image categories were created based on the literature. Descriptive

statistics of the categories were reported.

3b. Does the overall organic image vary by previous international travel experience?









Independent samples t-tests were used to examine the influence of previous international travel

experience and travel to Europe on the overall image. In addition, Mann-Whitney tests were

used.

3c. Does the overall organic image vary by tourist role preference?

ANOVA was used to examine the influence of tourist role preference on the overall organic

image. A Kruskal-Wallis test was also used due to a violation of the normality assumption.

3d. Does the overall organic image vary by gender?

An independent samples t-test was used to examine gender differences organic image. In

addition, a Mann-Whitney test was used.

Post-test Research Question 3

3e. Following the intervention, do the induced and overall images held by U.S. college students

vary from their organic images?

Cronbach's alpha was used to evaluate the internal consistency of the image scale and the five

image categories. Paired t-tests were used to test differences in the 36 image items, the five

image categories, and the overall image before and after intervention.

3f. Does the induced overall image vary by previous international travel experience?

Independent samples t-tests were used to examine (i) differences in the overall image according

to prior international travel experience and (ii) prior travel to Europe. Mann-Whitney tests were

used due to violation of the normality assumption.

3g. Does the induced overall image vary by tourist role preference?

ANOVA was used to examine the difference in overall image among the four tourist roles. A

Kruskal-Wallis test followed due to the normality assumption violation.

3h. Does the induced overall image vary by gender?









An independent samples t-test was used to examine difference in the overall image between

males and females. A Mann-Whitney test was also used.

Research Question 4

4a. What are the travel intentions of U.S. college students towards Bulgaria as a vacation

destination after the intervention?

Frequencies and descriptives were reported to answer this question.

4b. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria in the next five years vary by previous

international travel experience?

Independent samples t-tests were used to examine differences in intentions to visit according to

(i) prior international travel experience and (ii) prior travel to Europe. Mann-Whitney tests were

used.

4c. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria in the next five years vary by tourist role

preference? ANOVA was used to examine differences in intent to visit Bulgaria in the next five

years according to tourist role preference. A Kruskal-Wallis test were also used to examine

differences.

4d. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria in the next five years vary by gender?

An independent samples t-test was used to examine differences in intent to visit among males

and females. A Mann-Whitney test was used also.

Research Question 5

Following the intervention, what is the relationship among the overall induced image of

Bulgaria among U.S. college students, their familiarity levels (both self-rated and knowledge-

based) and intent to travel in the next five years?









Standard multiple regression was used to examine this relationship and predict intent to travel to

Bulgaria. Predictors in the analysis were overall image, self-rated familiarity and knowledge-

based familiarity, where intent to visit was predicted.

The following chapter reports the results of this analysis.









Table 3-1. Participants' demographic characteristics and tourist role preference (N=82)

Characteristic n %

Age
18-21 53 64.7
22-24 26 31.7
25-33 3 3.6

Class Standing
Freshman 6 7.3
Sophomore 1 1.2
Junior 16 19.5
Senior 55 67.1
Graduate student 4 4.9

Gender
Female 67 81.7
Male 15 18.3

Annual family income ($)
25,000 or less 12 15.2
25,001-50,000 7 8.9
50,001-75,000 9 11.4
75,001-100,000 18 22.8
100,001-125,000 7 8.9
125,001-150,000 5 6.3
150,001 or more 21 26.6

Racial background
Asian or Pacific Islander 3 3.7
Black non-Hispanic 7 8.5
White non-Hispanic 56 68.3
Hispanic 11 13.4
Native American/
American Indian 1 1.2

Tourist role preference
Organized mass tourist 16 19.5
Independent mass tourist 25 30.5
Explorer 35 42.7
Drifter 4 4.9

Note. Percentages may not equal to 100 due to missing data.









CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

This chapter presents the results of the study and is organized according to each of the

research questions. The findings before and after exposure to the stimulus pertaining to 1)

awareness of Bulgaria as a tourist destination; 2) familiarity with Bulgaria; 3) image of Bulgaria;

and 4) intent to travel to Bulgaria are presented.

Awareness

Pre-test Research Question 1

la. What is the level of awareness of Bulgaria as a tourist destination among U.S. college
students?

Respondents were asked if they had heard of Bulgaria and those who had were considered

as being aware of the country. Out of a total sample of 82 students, 89% (n = 73) had heard of

Bulgaria and 11% (n = 9) had not. When asked what types of resources they had used to learn

about Bulgaria, 52.4% (n = 43) reported that they had not used any resources, followed by 15.9%

(n = 13) who had taken a related history or geography class, 12.2% (n = 10) reported movies, and

11% (n = 9) of students reported their source as news programs.

lb. Does the level of awareness vary by previous international travel experience?

In terms of previous international travel experience 25.6% (n = 21) reported they have

never been abroad, 41.5% (n = 34) have traveled one-two times, 19.5% (n = 16) have traveled

three-four times and 13.4% (n = 11) have traveled five or more times.

Cross-tabulation was used to analyze such differences in awareness. Due to small

expected counts when all responses for previous international travel experience were considered

from never traveled to traveled five or more times, the respondents were grouped in two

categories: never traveled internationally (n = 21) and traveled internationally one or more times

(n = 61). Frequencies were examined to compare percentages of those who have heard of









Bulgaria and their international travel experience. Out of those who have heard of Bulgaria

72.6% (n = 53) had traveled internationally one or more times and 27.4% (n = 20) had not

traveled internationally. Out of those who had not heard of Bulgaria, 88.9% (n = 8) had traveled

abroad and 11.1% (n = 1) had not. In other words, it was more likely for those who have

traveled internationally to have heard of Bulgaria but also it was more likely for such a person to

not have heard of Bulgaria. Therefore, it can be concluded that prior international travel

somewhat influenced an individual's level of awareness.

The chi-square test of significance for these participants was invalid due to the

occurrence of an expected value of less than five in one of the cells of the 2x2 table. Instead, the

use of Fisher's exact test is suggested by several authors (Morgan, Leech, Gloeckner, & Barrett,

2004; Sirkin, 1999). The Fisher's test yielded p = .44 for a two-sided test. The cut-off

significance level for this test was p < .05 so it can be concluded that the observed distribution of

awareness and international travel experience cannot be said to be significantly different from a

distribution obtained by chance (Garson, n.d.a).

In terms of prior travel to Europe, 63.4% (n = 52) of the students reported they have

never been to Europe, 26.8% (n = 22) have traveled one-two times, 7.3% (n = 6) have been

three-four times and 2.4% (n = 2) have traveled five or more times. Crosstabulation was used to

examine differences in awareness according to prior travel to Europe. Results indicated that

36.6% (n = 30) have traveled one or more times to Europe and 63.4% (n = 52) have not. Out of

those who have heard of Bulgaria 60.3% (n = 44) had not traveled to Europe previously and

39.7% (n = 29) have traveled to Europe one or more times. In addition, out of those not aware of

Bulgaria a high percentage 88.9% (n = 8) have not traveled to Europe and only 11.1% (n = 1)

reported they have traveled to Europe. Therefore, these percentages reveal that travel to Europe









did not influence the level of awareness of students with Bulgaria. Due to low expected

frequencies, the Fisher's exact test is reported, p = .15 for a two-sided test. Thus, it could not be

established that travel to Europe had a significant influence on awareness. However, as shown in

Table 4-1 the results show that a higher percentage of respondents who were not aware of

Bulgaria have never been to Europe compared to those who have traveled to Europe. To

examine this relationship further the odds ratio was calculated (Field, 2005; Howell, 2002). The

odds ratio is calculated by dividing the odds of those who have traveled to Europe and have

heard of Bulgaria by the odds that those who have never traveled to Europe have not heard of

Bulgaria (Table 4-2). The resulting odds ratio of 5.3 suggests that if someone had visited Europe

he/she was 5.3 times more likely to have heard (or were aware)of Bulgaria.

ic. Does the level of awareness vary by tourist role preference?

The distribution of the four tourist roles across the sample was: 42.7% (n = 35) of the

respondents classified themselves as explorers (EXP), 30.5% (n = 25) were independent mass

tourists (IMT), 19.5% (n = 16) were organized mass tourists (OMT) and 4.9% (n = 4) were

drifters (DTR) (Table 3-1). This distribution is consistent with the one found by Qi (2005) and

Lepp and Gibson (2003) using the same questionnaire item with similar samples of

undergraduates from the same university. Crosstabulation was used to examine differences in

awareness according to tourist role preference (four roles) in a 2x4 table. Due to the low

expected frequencies (less than 5) in several cells chi-square was not valid. When examining the

statistics in Table 4-3 the following can be observed. The percentage of those who have heard of

Bulgaria within each role decreased as the travelers' desire for familiarity increased, where the

highest level of awareness was among the OMT 93.8% (n = 15), followed by the IMT 92% (n =

23), the EXP 85.7% (n = 30) and the lowest was among the DTR 75% (n = 3). A similar pattern

was observed among those who have not heard of the country within the roles in an ascending









pattern. Out of those who have not heard of the country 6.3% (n = 1) were OMT, 8% (n = 2)

were IMT, 14.3% (n = 5) were EXP and 25% (n= 1) were DTR.

According to Morgan et al. (2004), the coefficient Phi (for 2x2 tables) or Cramer's V (for

larger tables) are appropriate measures of association between the two categorical variables. In

larger tables and in this case in a 2x4 table Phi and Cramer's V are the same, ((p = 0.15, p = 0.63)

(Table 4-3). However, due to the small expected values in the table, interpretation of Phi should

be used with caution. In this case the strength of the association and therefore, the effect size is

about 15%, which is small according to Cohen (1977) (over 10% and up to 30% constitutes a

small effect size). This can be interpreted that the type of tourist role had little effect on whether

individuals were aware of Bulgaria.

Id. Does level of awareness differ by gender?

Crosstabulation was used to examine difference in awareness by gender. When

percentages of whether an individual had heard of Bulgaria or not were compared within each

gender category a higher percent of males had heard of the country 93.3% (n = 14) compared to

females 88.1% (n = 59). In addition, a higher percent of females 11.9% (n = 8) had not heard of

the country compared to males 6.7% (n = 1). A look at the odds ratio represents well the

relationship between awareness and gender. The odds of a male being aware were 14 and the

odds of a female being aware were 7.38. This gives a resulting odds ratio of 14 to 7.38, which

equals to 1.9. This means that males were 1.9 times more likely to have heard (or were aware)of

Bulgaria. After running the analysis due to the occurrence of an expected count of less than five

it was determined that chi-square was invalid. The Fisher's exact test yielded p = 1, which does

not provide useful information about the relationship between the variables.









Familiarity


Pre-test Research Question 2

2a. What is the level of familiarity with Bulgaria among U.S. college students?

Level of familiarity with Bulgaria was measured in two ways. First, respondents were

asked to rate their level of familiarity with Bulgaria on a five-point Likert-type scale (l=not at all

familiar, 2=slightly familiar, 3=fairly familiar, 4=quite familiar, 5=very familiar). Before the

intervention out of the total sample of 82 students 87.8% (n = 72) reported they were not at all

familiar with Bulgaria, 9.8% (n=8) responded they were slightly familiar, and 1.2% (n = 1)

reported they were fairly familiar and 1.2% (n = 1) also reported they were very familiar with the

destination (Table 4-4).

Second, familiarity with Bulgaria was measured using 17 knowledge items (Kim &

Pennington-Gray, 2004). Knowledge of Bulgaria was expressed by the sum of responses to the

17 knowledge items. Respondents received one point for each correctly given answer. They

received zero points for incorrect answers or answering "Don't know". Those who had an

incorrect answer or did not know the answer were counted as missing, which comprised 28% (n

= 23) of respondents. No student responded correctly to all 17 statements. The range of

responses was between 0 and 14 (M = 4.68, SD = 3.46). Only 1.2% (n = 1) of the respondents

scored 14 and 3.7% (n = 3) scored zero points.

2b. Does familiarity vary by previous international travel experience?

Independent samples t-tests were used to examine the effects of prior international travel

and travel to Europe on self-rated familiarity and the familiarity sum score based on the 17

knowledge items. First, an independent samples t-test tested the effect of prior international

travel experience on self-rated familiarity. The equality of variance assumption was not violated,

however, the two sample sizes were unequal (n = 21 never traveled internationally and n = 61









traveled internationally), and the normality assumption was violated. Those who had traveled

internationally were not more familiar with Bulgaria (M = 1.16, SD = 0.52) compared to those

with no international travel experience (M = 1.14, SD = 0.36). The test was not significant t(80)

= -0.17, p = .86, thus previous international travel experience had no effect on self-rated

familiarity (Table 4-5). According to Cohen (1977) moderate violations of the parametric tests

assumptions have minor influence on Type I (a-level, probability of having effect in the

population, when actually there is no effect) and Type II error (0, probability of not having an

effect when actually there is an effect). However, due to the violation of normality a non-

parametric Mann-Whitney test was performed, which also showed no significance U = 625.50,

p =.78.

An independent-samples t-test was used to examine the influence of prior travel to Europe

on self-rated familiarity level. The groups were of unequal sizes and equality of variances and

normality assumptions were violated. Those who have never been to Europe had a slightly

higher familiarity level (M = 1.21, SD = 0.57) compared to those who have traveled to Europe

one or more times (M = 1.07, SD = 0.25), however, those differences were not large enough to

be significant t(76.15) = 1.58, p = 0.12 (Table 4-6). In addition, a Mann-Whitney test was used,

which resulted in a non-significant outcome, U = 710.00, p = .24.

Independent samples t-tests were used to examine the effect of international travel and

travel to Europe on the total familiarity/knowledge score based on the 17 knowledge items. In

terms of international travel those who have previously traveled had a slightly higher knowledge

score (M = 4.83, SD = 3.67) compared to those who have not traveled internationally (M = 4.00,

SD = 2.32). However, the difference was not large enough to be significant, t(57) = -0.72, p =

.48 (Table 4-5). The sample sizes were different and the normality assumption was violated for









those who have traveled abroad more than once, however, the equality of variances assumption

was not violated. A Mann-Whitney test was also performed U = 245.00, p = .71, however, no

significance of previous international travel on the familiarity score was observed.

When an independent t-test was performed to examine the influence of travel to Europe on

the sum familiarity score the normality assumption was violated for those who have been to

Europe, however, equality of variances was not violated. Those who have traveled to Europe

had a slightly higher knowledge score (M = 4.77, SD = 3.66) compared to those who have never

been to Europe (M = 4.62, SD =3.39). Results showed no significant difference of previous

travel to Europe on the familiarity score t(57) = -0.16, p = .87 (Table 4-6). A Mann-Whitney

test was performed, which also indicated no significance, U = 399.50, p = .91.

Therefore, it appears that self-rated familiarity and familiarity based on the knowledge

score did not significantly differ according to prior international travel experience or previous

travel to Europe.

2c. Does familiarity vary by tourist role preference?

An Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to evaluate the relationship between tourist role

preference and self-rated familiarity. The independent variable tourist role had four categories:

OMT, IMT, EXP and DTR. The dependent variable was self-rated familiarity. The normality

assumption was violated in addition to the unequal sample sizes, however, the homogeneity of

variances assumption was not violated. The ANOVA did not indicate significant differences in

self-rated familiarity across the four tourist roles, F(3, 76) = 0.53, p = .66 (Table 4-7). Due to the

deviation from the normal distribution of familiarity among the four roles a non-parametric

alternative to ANOVA the Kruskal-Wallis test was used. Results showed that familiarity was

not significantly affected by the type of tourist role H(3) = 1.26, p = .74.









Familiarity differences among the four roles were also examined in terms of the sum of

the 17 knowledge items. Normality of the sum score was assessed among the four groups with

the Shapiro-Wilk statistic, which indicated violation of the assumption for the explorer role,

however, for the drifter due to the small sample (n = 3) the normality statistic was deemed not

reliable. The homogeneity of variances assumption was not violated and ANOVA indicated no

significant difference at the p < .05 level among the four roles in the familiarity score, F(3, 54) =

2.29, p = .09 (Table 4-7). In addition, the Kruskal-Wallis test was performed. Results showed

that familiarity based on the knowledge items was not significantly influenced by the preference

for the four roles, H(3) = 5.38, p = .15.

2d. Does familiarity differ by gender?

First, an independent-samples t-test was used to test the effect of gender on self-rated

familiarity. The equality of variance assumption was not violated, although the two groups were

of unequal sizes and the normality assumption was violated. The familiarity level of females (M

= 1.16, SD = 0.51) was similar to that of the males (M = 1.13, SD = 0.35). Results indicated that

males and females were not significantly different on self-rated familiarity, t(80) = -0.22, p = .83.

A Mann-Whitney test was also conducted, indicating no significant influence of gender on self-

rated familiarity, U = 497.50, p = .92.

In terms of gender differences in the sum of knowledge items the result of the

independent t-test showed that males and females did not differ significantly in their knowledge

score, t(57) = 0.17, p = .86. However, males on average had a slightly higher knowledge score

(M = 4.88, SD = 3.48) compared to females (M = 4.65, SD = 3.49). It should be noted that the

normality assumption was violated for males only. Both groups were of unequal sizes, however,

there was equality of variances. A Mann-Whitney test was also conducted and resulted in a non

significant statistic U = 192.00, p = .79.









Post-test Research Question 2

2e. Following the intervention, what is the participants' level of familiarity and is it
different from familiarity before the intervention?

In terms of self-rated familiarity 46.3 % (n = 38) of the respondents were slightly familiar with

Bulgaria, 39% (n = 32) were fairly familiar, 13.4 (n = 11) were quite familiar and 1.2% (n = 1)

were very familiar. When compared with familiarity levels before the intervention when 87.8%

(n = 72) considered themselves not at all familiar, after the intervention 85.3% (n = 70)

considered themselves slightly or fairly familiar (Table 4-4). In terms of familiarity based on the

sum of the 17 knowledge items, the students' responses ranged from 5 to 14 (indicating correct)

answers (M = 9.00, SD = 2.22).

Familiarity levels before and after the intervention were examined using paired t-tests.

First, a paired t-test was used to measure difference in the pre and post self-rated familiarity

levels. Results showed that familiarity levels after stimulus exposure (M = 2.70, SD = 0.75)

were significantly higher than familiarity before the intervention (M = 1.16, SD = 0.48), t(81) = -

16.12, p < .001 (Table 4-8). The effect size d was calculated as follows: d = MISD and equaled

to -1.78. According to Green and Salkind (2003) a value of d above 0.8 regardless of sign is

considered a large effect size. The effect size in this case indicates the degree to which the mean

of the difference scores veers from zero in standard deviation units. In other words, there was a

great variance in the sum score before and after the intervention.

A paired difference t-test was used to examine difference in knowledge-based sum

familiarity scores pre- and post-test. Out of the 82 respondents 59 responses were used in the

analysis (all those who answered "don't know" were counted as missing data). Results showed

that the mean sum score of the post-test familiarity (M = 9.0, SD = 2.22) was significantly higher

than the pre-test score (M = 4.68, SD = 3.46), t(58) = -10.20, p<.001 (Table 4-8). The effect size









index d = -1.33, indicating a large effect attesting to the large difference in the mean scores

before and after the intervention. Therefore, self-rated familiarity and familiarity based on the

knowledge score were significantly higher after exposure to the stimulus.

2f. What influence does previous international experience have on the level of familiarity
following the intervention?

An independent samples t-test was used to evaluate whether there were significant

differences in the post-test self-rated familiarity levels among those who have never traveled

internationally and those who have. The normality assumption was violated and the two samples

were unequal, however, variances were equal. Results indicated that those who have traveled

internationally were on average slightly more familiar with Bulgaria (M = 2.72, SD = 0.78)

compared to those who have not traveled internationally (M = 2.62, SD = 0.67), however, the

difference was not significant t(80) = -0.54, p = .59 (Table 4-9). A Mann-Whitney test was used

due to the violation of the normality assumption. This test also resulted in non-significant

influence of international travel on self-rated familiarity, U = 606.50, p = .69.

An independent samples t-test was used to examine differences in self-rated familiarity

among those who have traveled to Europe and those who have not. The test statistic was

calculated similarly to that outlined above in regards to meeting of the assumptions. Those who

have not traveled to Europe were slightly more familiar with Bulgaria (M = 2.73, SD = 0.77)

compared to those who have traveled to Europe (M = 2.63, SD = 0.72). The difference;

however, was not significant t(80) = 0.57, p = .57 (Table 4-10). A Mann-Whitney test was also

used resulting in non-significant differences among those who have and have not been to Europe,

U= 731.00, p = .61.

Similar analyses were used to examine how familiarity based on the 17 knowledge items

was influenced by both international travel and travel to Europe. For both, the normality









assumption was violated and the sample sizes were unequal, however, the variances were equal.

Results from the independent samples t-test examining differences according to international

travel indicated that those who have traveled internationally had a slightly higher knowledge

score (M = 8.87, SD = 2.32) compared to those with no international travel experience (M =

8.29, SD = 1.87). No significance was observed t(80 ) = -1.04, p = .30 (Table 4-9). A Mann-

Whitney test was used due to the violation of the normality assumption. No significant

difference was observed among those who have traveled and those who have not traveled

internationally, U = 544.50, p = .30.

In terms of travel to Europe the average knowledge score of those who have traveled to

Europe was slightly higher (M = 8.83, SD = 2.45) than the score of those who have not been to

Europe (M = 8.65, SD = 2.09). However, the difference between the two groups was not

significant, t(80) = -0.35, p = .73 (Table 4-10). The Mann-Whitney test also showed no

significance, U = 762.50, p = .87. Overall, there were no differences in the self-rated familiarity

and familiarity based on the knowledge score among the groups of students based on their prior

international travel experience and specifically travel to Europe.

2g. What influence does tourist role preference have on the level of familiarity following the
intervention?

ANOVA was used to examine the relationship between the tourist roles and familiarity. In

terms of self-rated familiarity, the sample sizes were unequal and the normality assumption was

violated; however, the homogeneity of variances was not violated. ANOVA indicated no

significant differences among the four tourist roles in self-rated familiarity following the

intervention, F(3,76) = 0.35, p = .79 (Table 4-11). Due to violation of the normality assumption

the Kruskal-Wallis a non-parametric test was conducted; however, the influence of the four

roles on self-rated familiarity was non-significant, H(3) = 1.2, p = .75.









In terms of familiarity based on the sum of the knowledge items, homogeneity of

variances assumption was violated and the normality assumption was violated for the EXP. The

normality test for the DTR was also violated; however, this result is not reliable because of the

small sample (n = 4). When variances are not homogenous Field (2005) suggested that

researchers report the Welch F-ratio, which indicated a significant difference among the four

roles on the familiarity sum score after the intervention, F(3, 27.69) = 19.40, p < .001, co = .20,

where co is the effect size used as an accurate measure of the effect. In this case this is a large

effect according to Cohen, 1977) (Table 4-12). A Games-Howell post-hoc test, appropriate

when there is a violation of homogeneity of variances (Field, 2005), revealed the differences

among the four tourist roles. The drifter differed significantly from the other three groups:

OMT, IMT, and EXP, p < .001. A look at the means confirms that the means for OMT, IMT and

EXP are very similar and different from the DTR mean (Table 4-13). In addition, the Kruskal-

Wallis test was performed, however, the significance was at a higher level of Type I error p =

0.1, H(3) = 6.46, p = .09. Overall, there were differences in familiarity with Bulgaria among the

respondents classifying themselves as drifters. They tended to know more about Bulgaria as

assessed by the knowledge score. However, there were no differences among respondents

classifying themselves according to the four tourist roles and their self-rated familiarity with

Bulgaria following the intervention.

2h. What influence does gender have on the level of familiarity following the intervention?

An independent sample t-test was used to examine the effect of gender on self-rated

familiarity after the intervention. The group sizes for males and females were unequal and the

normality assumption was violated, although equality of variances was achieved. Familiarity

was slightly higher among females (M = 2.76, SD = 0.76) compared to males (M = 2.40, SD =









0.63), however, no significant differences were found t(80) = -1.71, p = .09 at a = .05. Results

from the Mann-Whitney test were also not significant, U = 369.00, p = .80.

An independent-samples t-test was used to examine differences between males and

females on the familiarity sum score after the intervention. The normality assumption was

violated for the females only and equality of variances assumption was not violated. After the

intervention females reported a slightly higher familiarity level (M = 8.76, SD = 2.24) than the

males (M = 8.53, SD = 2.17) where t(80) = -0.36, p = .72 was not significant. In addition, results

from the Mann-Whitney test showed no significance among males and females on the familiarity

sum score, U= 471.50, p = .71.

Image

Pre-test Research Question 3

3a. What organic and overall images of Bulgaria do U.S. college students hold?

Thirty-six items were used to examine the organic images of Bulgaria among the

participants. Due to substantial missing data, the internal consistency of the scale could not be

established with Cronbach's alpha (valid listwise n = 7). The mean scores and frequencies for

each image item pre and post intervention are displayed in Table 4-14. Before the intervention

the five items associated with the most positive image of Bulgaria were items related to culture:

"offers good opportunity to increase my knowledge about a different culture" (M = 4.35, SD =

0.64), "has rich cultural heritage" (M = 4.27, SD = 0.59), "ornate churches and monasteries" (M

= 4.24, SD = 0.50) and so on. The least positive images were associated with "has good

beaches" (M = 2.57, SD = 1.04) and "has quality roads and airports" (M = 2.57, SD = 0.94).

Before the intervention the overall image of Bulgaria was not very positive (M = 3.34, SD =

0.78).









Factor analysis could not performed due to the large number of missing values, where

missing data were items students did not give a response to or items they answered as "don't

know". Therefore, for further analysis five conceptual image categories were created. The

selection of items in each category was agreed upon by two researchers to achieve inter-rater

reliability. The placement of each item was based on Beerli and Martin's (2004) dimensions and

is a conceptual grouping rather than one based on statistics due to the limitation with data already

discussed. A similar process was used by Lepp and Gibson (2003) to conceptually group risk

related images. The following categories were created: Culture, History and Art (M = 4.10, SD

= 0.29); Tourist Attributes (M = 3.38, 0.55); Atmosphere (M = 3.38, 0.42); Natural Resources

and Environment (M = 3.25, SD = 0.54); and Infrastructure (M = 3.11, SD = 0.77) (Table 4-14).

Missing data before the intervention also precluded the use of Cronbach's alpha with each of the

conceptual image categories.

3b. Does the overall organic image vary by previous international travel experience?

Independent samples t-tests were used to examine the influence of previous international

travel and previous travel to Europe on the overall image of Bulgaria before the intervention. In

terms of international travel experience, sub-sample sizes were unequal, normality was violated,

however, the equality of variances assumption was met. The overall image was similar among

those who have traveled internationally (M = 3.33, SD = 0.85) and those who have not (M =

3.29, SD = 0.61) and t-test revealed non-significant difference, t(58) = -0.17, p = .87 (Table 4-

15). In addition, a Mann-Whitney test was also used and resulted in non significance, U=

318.50, p =.95.

An independent samples t-test was used to examine the effect of previous travel to Europe

on overall image. Results were similar to the results for international travel and the meeting of

assumptions was similar. The overall image among those who have traveled to Europe was very









similar (M= 3.35, SD = 0.83) to the image of those who have not been to Europe, (M = 3.30, SD

= 0.78) and the t-test confirmed this non-significant difference, t(58) = -0.24, p = .81 (Table 4-

16). A Mann-Whitney test was also used, resulting in a not significant outcome, U = 414.50, p =

.86.

3c. Does the overall organic image vary by tourist role preference?

The relationship between tourist role preference (four tourist roles) and overall organic

image was examined using ANOVA. The sample sizes were unequal, however, the homogeneity

of variances assumption was met. In terms of the normality assumption, the Shapiro-Wilk test

statistic indicated no violation only for the organized mass tourist, however, the size of this

group was small (n = 5), therefore this result is not reliable. ANOVA resulted in no significant

differences among the four tourist roles with regards to overall image, F(3, 54) = 1.20, p = .32

(Table 4-17). Overall image was least positive among the organized mass tourist and it became

more positive with each role and it was highest among the drifter. Due to the violation of the

normality assumption, a Kruskal-Wallis test was used to test for differences among the four

groups and resulted in no significance, H(3) = 3.87, p = .28.

3d. Does the overall organic image vary by gender?

To test the influence of gender on the overall organic image an independent samples t-test

was used. In this case sample sizes were unequal, the normality assumption was violated,

however, the equality of variances was met. Males had a slightly more positive image of

Bulgaria (M = 3.50, SD = 0.54) compared to females (M = 3.29, SD = 0.83), however, this was

not a significant difference, t(58) = 0.70, p= .49. Due to the violation of the normality

assumption a Mann-Whitney test was conducted achieving a non-significant result, U = 172.00,

p = .40.









Post-test Research Question 3

3e. Following the intervention, do the induced and overall induced images held by U.S.
college students vary from their organic images?

Paired difference t-tests were used for all 36 image items and five image categories to compare

the change of the images held of Bulgaria before and after exposure to the stimulus (Table 4-14).

After the intervention, reliability analysis was used and Cronbach alpha was used to test the

internal consistency of the items in each category and the scale: Culture, History and Art

category (a = .83, M = 4.40, SD = 0.39); Infrastructure category (a = .78, M = 3.72, SD = 0.61);

Tourist Attributions category (a = .77, M = 4.14, SD = 0.42); Natural Resources and

Environment category (a = .60, M = 4.08; SD = 0.46); and Atmosphere category (a = .53, M=

3.90, SD = 0.34) (Field, 2005; Green & Salkind, 2003). No reliability coefficient for the

categories was below .5, which was deemed acceptable (Baumgartner & Jackson, 1999). The

overall measure of reliability for all five categories was a = .82. This reliability analysis was

possible after the intervention as the number of respondents who used the "don't know" category

diminished significantly.

Results from the paired t-test on the 36 items showed that significant differences were

evident for 28 items at p < .05 (Table 4-14). Significant differences were apparent on all items

related to Culture, History and Art. Differences were not evident in the following: "national

parks/wilderness", "offers good value for money", "has overcrowded areas" and others.

Paired difference t-tests were also used to examine differences pre- and post-test in the

five image categories (Table 4-14). Significant differences were found for all clusters: Natural

Resources and Environment t(1 1) = -7.29, p < .001; Culture, History and Art Cluster t(6) = -3.45,

p = .014; Tourist Attributes Cluster t(6) = -3.96, p = .007; Atmosphere Cluster t(9) = -3.40, p =

.008; Infrastructure Cluster t(9) = -3.44, p = .007.









In addition, a paired difference t-test was used to compare the overall image before

exposure to the stimulus and after exposure (Table 4-18). Participants overall had a more

positive image of Bulgaria after exposure to the stimulus (M = 4.17, SD = 0.75) compared to

their image before exposure (M = 3.34, SD = 0.78). The difference was significant t(58) = -8.06,

p <.001, d = -1.05 with a large effect. In other words, after the intervention the overall image

was significantly more positive than the overall image held before the intervention.

3f. Does the induced overall image vary by previous international travel experience?

Independent samples t-tests were used to examine the effects of previous international

travel and previous travel to Europe on the overall induced image after the intervention (Table 4-

19). In terms of international travel, those who have never traveled internationally had a slightly

more positive image of Bulgaria (M = 4.33, SD = 0.58) compared to those who have traveled

abroad (M = 4.15, SD = 0.72). In this case the samples were unequal and the normality

assumption was violated, however, the equality of variances assumption was met. The test

statistic t(78) = 1.04, p = .30 indicated no significant influence of previous international travel on

overall image. Due to violation of the normality assumption a Mann-Whitney test was

conducted with non-significant results, U = 543.50, p = .34.

In terms of previous travel to Europe, the meeting of assumptions was similar as the

assumptions for international travel (Table 4-20). Those who have traveled to Europe had a

slightly more positive image of Bulgaria (M = 4.32, SD = 0.55) compared to those who have not

been to Europe (M = 4.13, SD = 0.74). These differences were not large enough to be

significant, t(78) = -1.17, p = .25. Due to the normality violation a Mann-Whitney test was

conducted also resulting in a non-significant effect, U = 642.00, p = .32.









3g. Does the induced overall image vary by tourist role preference?

ANOVA was used to evaluate the relationship between the four tourist role groups and the

induced overall image. The differences among the means were slight and non-significant,

F(3,74) = 1.15, p= .34 (Table 4-21 and Table 4-22) where the homogeneity of variances

assumption was met, however, sample sizes were unequal among the four tourist roles and the

normality assumption was violated. Due to the violation of the normality assumption, a Kruskal-

Wallis procedure was performed, H(3) = 3.87, p = .28, indicating that there were no significant

differences among the tourist role groups and participants' induced overall image.

3h. Does the induced overall image vary by gender?

An independent samples t-test was used to test the influence of gender on induced overall

image after exposure to the stimulus. The normality assumption was violated, the samples were

unequal, however, the equality of variance was met. Males had a slightly more positive image of

Bulgaria overall (M = 4.43, SD = 0.51) compared to females (M = 4.15, SD = 0.71), however,

the difference was not significant, t(78) = 1.39, p =. 17. In addition, a Mann-Whitney test was

completed showing no significant differences, U = 369.00, p = .18.

Overall, gender, tourist role and previous international travel and travel to Europe had no

significant influence on overall induced image before and after the intervention. Overall image,

however, differed before and after stimulus exposure. Additionally, 28 image items were rated

significantly more positively after the intervention. All five image categories showed significant

improvement post-test when means before and after intervention were compared.









Intent


Research Question 4

4a. What are the travel intentions of U.S. college students towards Bulgaria as a vacation
destination after the intervention?

In terms of students' likelihood to travel to Bulgaria they were asked two questions after

exposure to the stimulus: 1) How likely are you to choose Bulgaria as your next international

vacation destination? and 2) Do you plan to travel to Bulgaria in the next five years for vacation

purposes? The responses to both questions ranged from "very unlikely" = 1 to "very likely" = 5.

To be able to compare these results with their travel plans students were also asked 3) Do you

plan to travel abroad in the next five years for vacation purposes? And 4) Do you plan to travel

to Europe in the next five years for vacation purposes? Reponses were based on the same Likert-

type scale. Respondents they were "unlikely" to choose Bulgaria as their next vacation

destination (M = 2.26, SD = 0.87). They were a little less likely to visit Bulgaria in the next five

years (M = 2.17, SD = 0.99). Students were more likely to travel abroad during the next five

years (M = 3.90, SD = 1.18) and students were also more likely to travel to Europe in the next

five years (M = 3.80, SD = 1.19) (Table 4-23).

Thirty-nine percent (n = 32) of respondents said they were unlikely to choose Bulgaria as

their next vacation destination, followed by 3.97% (n = 27) who responded "slightly likely".

None of the respondents reported they were very likely to choose Bulgaria as their next

international vacation destination. In terms of travel to Bulgaria in the next five years the

distribution was as follows: 42.7% (n = 35) were "unlikely", followed by 26.8% (n = 22) very

unlikely. Only 1.2% (n = 1) responded he/she is very likely to travel to Bulgaria within five

years (Table 4-23).









Respondents were, however, more likely to travel abroad and to Europe in the next five

years. For example, 64.7% (n = 52) indicated they were "very likely" or "likely" to travel

abroad, whereas, 59.8% (n =49) were "very likely" or "likely" to travel to Europe (Table 4-23).

4b. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria in the next five years vary by previous
international travel experience?

Independent samples t-tests were used to examine the effect of international travel and travel to

Europe on respondents' likelihood to travel to Bulgaria in the next five years. In terms of

international travel, sample sizes were unequal, the normality assumption was violated, however,

the equality of variance assumption was met. Those who have not traveled internationally had

similar intent to travel to Bulgaria (M = 2.19, SD = 0.98) compared to those who have traveled

internationally (M = 2.16, SD = 1.00) (Table 4-24). There were no significant differences

between the two groups, t(80) = 0.11, p = .82. In addition, a Mann-Whitney test was performed,

which was also non-significant, U = 628.50, p = .89.

An independent samples t-test was used to examine the influence of prior travel to

Europe on the intent to visit Bulgaria in the next five years. The meeting of the assumptions was

similar. The difference between the likelihood to visit Bulgaria in the next five years was

minimally higher but non-significant among those who have traveled to Europe (M = 2.20, SD =

1.03) compared to those who have not traveled (M = 2.15, SD = 0.98), t(80) = -0.20, p = 0.37

(Table 4-25). Results from a Mann-Whitney test showed no significance of travel to Europe on

intent, U= 758.50, p = .83.

4c. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria vary by tourist role preference?

ANOVA was used to examine the relationship between intentions and tourist role

preference. Sample sizes were unequal, normality was violated for all except DTR, however,

due to the low number of respondents in that category (n = 4) the normality test cannot be









considered reliable. In addition, the homogeneity of variances assumption was violated,

therefore the Welch's F is reported, F(3, 12.91) = 1.42, p = .28 (Table 4-26). The resulting F

statistic indicates no significant difference in intent to travel among the four tourist roles. In

addition, the Kruskal-Wallis test was performed, H(3) = 4.27, p = .23 also indicating no

significant differences.

4d. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria vary by gender?

An independent samples t-test was used to examine the effect of gender on intent. The

distribution of intention was not normal and the sample sizes were unequal, however, the

variances were equal. Females were more likely to travel to Bulgaria in the next five years (M =

2.22, SD = 0.98) compared to their male counterparts (M = 1.93, SD = 1.03), however, the

differences were not significant, t(80) = -1.03, p = .86. In addition, a Mann-Whitney test

confirmed the non-significant difference, U = 408.00, p = .23.

Overall, differences in past international travel, travel to Europe, tourist role preference,

and gender did not significantly influence the intent of respondents to visit Bulgaria in the next

five years.

Research Question 5

5a. Following the intervention, what is the relationship among overall induced image of
Bulgaria among U.S. college students, their familiarity levels (both self-rated and
knowledge-based) and intent to travel in the next five years?

Standard multiple regression analysis was used to predict intent to travel to Bulgaria for

vacation purposes in the next five years. The predictors used were overall induced image, post-

test self-rated familiarity, and knowledge-based familiarity (from 17 items obtained after the

intervention). Other possible independent variables such as gender, prior international travel

experience and tourist role were considerations for the model, however, the intent pre-test

questions revealed no significant influence of these variables on intent, therefore, these variables









were not included in the model. In addition, their measurement level differed, i.e. nominal level

and further transformation of the variables would have been necessary.

All three predictors were entered simultaneously, as studies have not concluded the order

of image and familiarity's influence on intent. No multicollinearity was detected, which means

that there was no interdependence of the predictors (Garson, n.d). One influential case was

obtained after case diagnostics were assessed and it was determined that since there was only one

case its influence was not investigated further. The assumption that the regression errors are

independent has been met as the Durbin-Watson statistic equals to 1.88, which is close to 2

(Field, 2005). The three predictors overall image, self-rated familiarity and the familiarity sum

score did not explain a sizeable portion of the variance, R2= .08, adjusted R2= .04, F(3,76) =

2.08, p = .11 (Table 4-27). In fact, overall image and the two types of familiarity account for

only 8% of variation in intent to travel to Bulgaria. This model did not improve the ability to

predict intent to visit Bulgaria. In terms of individual relationships between intent to visit and

overall image, for example, when the other two variables are held constant (P = 0.19, p < 1)

image had a non-significant positive relationship with intent. Self-rated familiarity level had a

non-significant positive relationship with intent to travel (P = 0.12, p = .28). Familiarity level

based on the sum knowledge score also had non-significant positive relationship with intent to

visit Bulgaria (P = 0.12, p = .28). Results indicated no significant relationship between intent

and all three independent variables. It can be concluded that other variables have more

pronounced influence on the intent to travel to Bulgaria and should be added to this model in

future research.

Summary

This study sought to investigate the relationships between familiarity, awareness, image,

and intent to travel and other independent variables (prior international travel experience, tourist









role preference, and gender) in relation to Bulgaria. Some results were contrary to the

researcher's expectations and others were confirmed. Most notable were the statistically

significant increases in self-rated familiarity, knowledge-based familiarity, and overall image and

the change of image in the five categories after exposure to the stimulus. Interpretation of the

results follows.









Table 4-1. International and European prior travel experience and awareness of Bulgaria

Heard of Bulgaria
(% within heard of Bulgaria)

Traveled Yes No
Internationally % (n) % (n)

Never traveled* 24.70% (20) 11.10% (1)

Traveled 1 or
more times* 72.60% (53) 88.90% (8)

Traveled to
Europe

Never traveled
to Europe** 60.30% (44) 88.90% (8)

Traveled to Europe
1 or more times** 39.70% (29) 11.10% (1)

*Fisher's exact test, p = 0.44
**Fisher's exact test, p = 0.15



Table 4-2. Odds ratio of an individual who was aware of Bulgaria and who has traveled to
Europe

Odds traveled to Europe and aware = number that were aware & traveled/number that were aware & not
traveled = 29/44= .66

Odds traveled to Europe and unaware = number that were unaware & traveled/number that were unaware &

not traveled = 1/8= .13

Odds ratio = odds traveled to Europe & aware/odds traveled to Europe & unaware = 0.659/0.125 = 5.27

Note. Calculations of odds and odds ratio obtained from Field, A. (2005). Discovering statistics using SPSS.
London: Sage Publications Ltd.









Table 4-3. Percentage of students who were aware of Bulgaria according to tourist role
preference

Heard of Bulgaria
% within role (n)

Tourist role Yes No
preference

OMT 93.8% (15) 6.3% (1)
IMT 92% (23) 8% (2)
EXP 85.7% (30) 14.3% (5)
DTR 75% (3) 25% (1)


(p = 0.15, p = 0.63


Table 4-4. Self-rated familiarity level before and after intervention
Not at
all Slightly Fairly Quite Very
Familiarity N M SD familiar familiar familiar familiar familiar
Pre-test 82 1.16 0.48 87.8% 9.8% 1.2% 1.2% -
Post-test 82 2.70 0.75 46.3% 39.0% 13.4% 1.2%
Note. Dash is reported when no responses were obtained. Percentages may not equal to 100 due to rounding error.
Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Not at all familiar, 5 = Very familiar.


Table 4-5. Familiarity differences and previous travel experience before the
intervention
Traveled
Never traveled internationally
Familiarity internationally 1 or more
times
M SD M SD df t p
Self-rateda 1.14 0.36 1.16 0.52 80 -0.17 .86
Knowledge-based score
on 17 items 4.00 2.32 4.83 3.67 57 -0.72 .48
aMeasured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Not at all familiar, 5 = Very familiar.
bKnowledge score calculated as sum ranging from 0-14, where 14 = most knowledge.










Table 4-6. Familiarity and previous European travel experience before the intervention
Traveled to
S.. ,Never traveled to
Familiarity E re Europe 1 or
Europe
more times
M SD M SD df t p
Self-rateda 1.21 0.57 1.07 0.25 76.15 1.58 .12
Knowledge-based score
on 17 items 4.62 3.39 4.77 3.66 57 -0.16 .87
aMeasured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Not at all familiar, 5 =Very familiar.
bKnowledge score calculated as sum ranging from 0-14, where 14 = most knowledge.



Table 4-7. One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist role on familiarity levels
before intervention
Variable and source df SS MS F p
Self-rated familiarity
Between groups 3 0.39 0.13 0.53 0.66
Within groups 76 18.50 0.24
Knowledge-based score on 17
items
Between groups 3 75.12 25.04 2.29 0.09
Within groups 54 590.94 10.94


Table 4-8. Differences in familiarity levels before and after intervention
Before intervention After intervention
Familiarity level M SD M SD df t p
Self-rateda 1.16 0.48 2.7 0.75 81 -16.12 .000
Knowledge-based
score on 17
items 4.68 3.46 9 2.22 58 -10.2 .000
aMeasured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Not at all familiar, 5 = Very familiar.
bKnowledge score calculated as sum ranging from 0-14, where 14 = most knowledge.









Table 4-9. Familiarity levels and previous international travel
intervention


experience after


Traveled
Never traveled Traveled
Familiarity internationally internationally 1
or more times
M SD M SD df t p

Self-rateda 2.62 0.67 2.72 0.78 80 -0.54 .59

Knowledge-
based score on
17 itemsb 8.29 1.87 8.87 2.32 80 -1.04 .30
aMeasured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Not at all familiar, 5 = Very
familiar.
bKnowledge score calculated as sum ranging from 0-14, where 14 = most knowledge.


Table 4-10. Familiarity levels and previous European travel experience
Traveled to
S.. ,Never traveled to
Familiarity level E Europe 1 or more
Europe times
times
M SD M SD df t p
Self-rateda 2.73 0.77 2.63 0.72 80 0.57 .57

Knowledge-
based score on
17 itemsb 8.65 2.09 8.83 2.45 80 -0.35 .73
aMeasured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Not at all familiar, 5 = Very familiar.
bKnowledge score calculated as sum ranging from 0-14, where 14 = most knowledge.


Table 4-11. One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist role on self-
rated familiarity levels after intervention


Variable and source df SS MS F p
Self-rated
familiarity
Between groups 3 0.39 0.13 0.53 0.66
Within groups 76 18.50 0.24












Table 4-12. One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist
role on knowledge-based familiarity levels after
intervention
Variable and source df F p
Knowledge-based
score on 17 items
Between groups 3 19.40a .000
Within groups 27.69
aDue to violation of homogeneity of variances Welch's F is reported.


Table 4-13. Comparisons of tourist
role by familiarity level

Tourist role M SD
Organized Mass
Tourist 8.13a 1.75
Independent
Mass Tourist 8.76a 2.18
Explorer 8.69a 2.46
Drifter 11.25b 0.5
Note. Significant differences were found
using Games-Howell post-hoc, b > a.
The knowledge mean score had range 0-14.









Table 4-14. Destination images of Bulgaria before and after intervention

Pre-test Post-test Paired t-tests

Image categories paired
and items M SD M SD df t-value p

Natural resources and environment 3.25 0.29 4.08 0.46 11 -7.29 .001*
Pleasant climate 3.20 0.76 4.17 0.75 34 -5.84 .000*
Good beaches 2.57 1.04 4.04 0.83 22 -5.28 .000*
Nat'l parks/wilderness 3.78 0.75 4.11 0.85 26 -1.52 .142
Beautiful scenery and
Nature 4.08 0.55 4.75 0.44 35 -5.92 .000*
Clean country 2.89 0.96 3.56 0.71 17 -3.69 .002**
Tourist Attributes 3.38 0.55 4.14 0.42 6 -3.96 .007**
Many tourist attractions 3.19 0.97 4.16 0.81 31 -4.66 .000*
Good value for money 3.82 0.80 3.73 0.94 21 0.49 .628
Good shopping facilities 3.05 1.05 4.09 0.68 21 -4.69 .000*
Opportunities for hiking/
Mountaineering 4.00 0.48 4.56 0.51 26 -4.14 .000*
Open-air markets 4.08 0.64 4.32 0.56 24 -2.30 .031**
Good skiing 3.68 0.72 4.50 0.67 21 -3.65 .002**
Good quality of service 3.25 0.86 4.00 0.82 15 -2.32 .035**
Variety of recreation
activities 3.73 0.60 4.38 0.57 25 -4.47 .000*
Nightlife/entertainment 3.42 0.90 4.00 0.43 11 -1.87 .089


Atmosphere
Safe place to visit
Overcrowded areas
Place for relaxation
Friendly local people
Family-oriented
Different language is
a barrier
Fun and enjoyable
Lacks commercialization
Culture, History, Art
Churches & monasteries
Historical sites/museums
Traditional handicraft
Rich cultural heritage
Archaeological treasures
Tasty cuisine


3.38
3.04
3.67
3.20
3.68
3.30

3.97
3.58
3.57
4.10
4.24
4.15
4.06
4.27
3.57
3.57


0.42 3.90 0.34 9
1.25 4.23 0.59 25
0.91 3.44 0.71 17
0.91 4.20 0.76 24
0.75 4.52 0.59 24
0.97 3.91 0.85 22

0.62 4.03 0.86 57
0.88 4.25 0.53 23
1.08 3.29 0.96 20
0.29 4.40 0.39 6
0.50 4.65 0.49 33
0.53 4.65 0.48 39
0.62 4.44 0.50 31
0.59 4.71 0.51 40
0.81 4.24 0.70 20
1.03 4.38 0.74 20


-3.40 .008**
-5.37 .000*
1.07 .298
-5.48 .000*
-4.94 .000*
-3.28 .003**

-0.59 .560
-4.29 .000*
1.19 .249
-3.45 .014**
-4.31 .000*
-5.28 .000*
-3.00 .005**
-3.97 .000*
-3.84 .001*
-3.18 .005**












Table 4-14. (continued)


Pre-test Post-test Paired t-tests

Image categories paired
and items M SD M SD df t-value p

Good wine 4.10 0.54 4.33 0.48 20 -1.75 .096
Rich in folk dance/song 4.12 0.67 4.60 0.58 24 -2.92 .008**
Offers to increase my
cultural knowledge 4.35 0.64 4.63 0.49 47 -3.27 .002**
Infrastructure 3.11 0.77 3.72 0.61 9 -3.44 .007**
Convenient transport 3.35 0.99 3.85 0.88 19 -2.364 .029**
Quality roads/airports 2.57 0.94 3.36 1.15 13 -2.62 .021**
Easily get around
the country 3.13 0.83 3.73 0.96 14 -1.79 .095
Quality accommodations 3.11 1.08 4.06 0.94 17 -3.45 .003**
Tourist information 3.81 0.63 4.17 0.66 41 -3.34 .002**


Note. The p values were calculated for a two-taile
where 1 = Strongly Disagree, 5 = Strongly Agree.


d test. *p < .05. ** p < .001. Measured on a Likert-type scale










Table 4-15. Overall image of Bulgaria and previous international travel experience
before intervention
Traveled
Never traveled Traveled
Image internationally internationally 1
or more times
M SD M SD df t p
Overal image 3.29 0.61 3.33 0.85 58 -0.17 .87
Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = Strongly agree.


Table 4-16. Overall image of Bulgaria and previous European travel experience before
intervention
Traveled to
Never traveled to r 1
Image Europe Europe 1 or
Europe
more times
M SD M SD df t p
Overall image 3.34 0.78 3.35 0.83 58 -0.24 0.81
Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = Strongly agree.


Table 4-17. One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist role on
overall image before intervention
Variable and source df SS MS F p
Overall image
Between groups 3 2.28 0.76 1.2 .32
Within groups 54 34.13 0.63











Table 4-18. Overall image differences before and after intervention
Image Pre-test Post-test
M SD M SD df t p
Overall image 3.34 0.78 4.17 0.75 58 -8.06 0.000
Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = Strongly agree.


Table 4-19. Overall image and previous international travel experience after
intervention
Traveled
Never traveled Tae
Image internationally internationally 1
internationally
or more times
M SD M SD df t p

Overall image 4.33 0.58 4.15 0.72 78 1.04 .30
Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = Strongly agree.





Table 4-20. Overall image and previous European travel experience after
intervention
Traveled to
Never traveled r 1
Image to Europe Europe 1 or
to Europe
more times
M SD M SD df t p
Overall image 4.13 0.74 4.32 0.55 78 -1.17 .25
Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = Strongly agree.


Table 4-21. One-way analysis of variance for effects of a tourist role on
overall image after intervention
Variable and
source df SS MS F p
Overall image
Between groups 3 1.58 0.53 1.15 .34
Within groups 74 33.91 0.46














Table 4-22. Overall image among the four
tourist roles after intervention


Tourist role
Overall image
N M SD
Organized Mass
Tourist 16 4.31 0.48

Independent Mass
Tourist 24 4.25 0.53
Explorer 34 4.03 0.83
Drifter 4 4.50 0.58
Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale where
1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = Strongly agree.


Table 4-23. Intent to travel after intervention

Intent item Very Somewhat Very
N M SD unlikely/Unlikely likely likely/Likely
Likely to choose
BG as next
international
destination 82 2.26 0.87 59.70% 32.90% 7.30%
Plan to vacation in
BG in the next 5
years 82 2.17 0.99 69.50% 18.30% 12.20%
Plan to vacation
abroad in the next
5 years 82 3.90 1.18 12.20% 23.20% 64.70%
Plan to vacation in
Europe in the next
5 years 81 3.80 1.19 13.40% 25.60% 59.80%
Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Very unlikely, 5 = Very likely. Percentages may not
equal to 100 due to missing data or rounding error.












Table 4-24. Travel intentions and previous international travel experience after
intervention
Traveled
Never traveled Traveled
Intent internationally internationally 1
or more times
M SD M SD df t p
Likelihood to travel
to Bulgaria in the
next 5 years 2.19 0.98 2.16 1 80 0.11 .82
Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Very unlikely, 5 =Very likely.









Table 4-25. Travel intentions and previous European travel experience after
intervention
Traveled to
Never traveled
Intent t Europe 1 or
to Europe more times
more times
M SD M SD df t p
Likelihood to travel
to Bulgaria in the
next 5 years 2.15 0.98 2.2 1.03 80 -0.2 .37


Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1


Very unlikely, 5 =Very likely.


Table 4-26. One-way analysis of variance for effects of
tourist role on intent to travel after
intervention
Variable and source df F p
Intent to travel to
Bulgaria in the next 5
years
Between groups 3 1.42 .28
Within groups 12.91
Due to violation of homogeneity of variances Welch's F is reported.









Table 4-27. Summary of regression analysis for variable
predicting intent to visit Bulgaria in the next 5 years
(N = 80)
Variable B SE B 3
Constant 0.17 0.83
Self-rated familiarity 0.16 0.15 0.12
Knowledge-based
familiarity 0.05 0.05 0.12
Overall image 0.27 0.16 0.19
Note. R2= .08, p<.11.









CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION AND CONLCUSION

This study explored several tourist-related variables related to Bulgaria as a destination.

The researcher specifically examined the U.S. college students' awareness of Bulgaria and their

familiarity with and images before exposure to a stimulus. Following the intervention the

students' intent to visit Bulgaria was examined in addition to their familiarity and images of

Bulgaria. Gender, prior travel experience, and tourist roles were examined in light of the

variables above. Some results were contrary to the researcher's expectations and are discussed

further in this chapter. This chapter draws upon the literature review and theoretical framework

to explain the results of the study and draw conclusions. Implications of the results and future

research directions are also discussed.

Familiarity

Familiarity may be measured in different ways. Two ways were used in this study. Based

on Baloglu (2001) and Prentice's (2004) work one way is to measure self-rated familiarity. Prior

to exposure to the stimulus most of the students were unfamiliar with Bulgaria. The other way of

measuring familiarity is based on the sum of correct answers to knowledge statements associated

with Bulgaria (Kim & Pennington-Gray, 2004). Many of the students did not know the answers

and most had low familiarity levels with Bulgaria. Bulgaria is not a well known country to the

Western traveler. For about 40 years it was a communist country and to a great degree closed to

the Western world. Since the early 1990s, Bulgaria has increasingly been oriented toward the

West and has increased its presence in the media as the country started its development as a

democracy. Bulgaria became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in

2004 and since January 2007 it is a member of the European Union. Over the last ten years it

developed even more as a tourist destination attracting many international visitors, not just those









from the traditional Eastern European countries. However, U.S. visitors have been few,

therefore, there is a potential for attracting more American tourists. The Bulgarian State Agency

for Tourism (BSAT) launched advertisements on CNN in 2007. The agency also launched four

30-second advertisements for Russian national TV during February 2008. Twenty Russian cities

are targeted in this campaign, and clips will be shown again in May. In addition, similar

campaigns on CNN channels, Euronews and Eurosport will be launched (Sofia News Agency,

2008).

McKay and Fesenmaier (1997) postulated that a higher level of familiarity may make a

destination more appealing to the traveler. However, based on this "butterfly curve" (based on

Hebb, 1966) after a certain level of familiarity has been reached a destination may not be as

attractive, after which an unfamiliar destination may be considered more attractive. This is one

theory that could help explain attraction of a destination based on familiarity levels. One of the

main findings of this study was that students were not familiar with Bulgaria initially. After

stimulus exposure their familiarity increased, however, they were still not very familiar with the

country. The video, therefore, was not enough to create a higher level of familiarity with the

country, however, it served to dispel certain images and create new ones. This may be compared

to the result of Kim and Richardson (2003) who found no significant differences in the level of

familiarity with Vienna among those who viewed the movie about Vienna and the control group,

which was contrary to their expectations. Their reasoning was that the movie may not have been

enough to significantly alter an individual's images of a destination. The videos used in the

current study were even shorter, and therefore, similar to Kim and Richardson's study the

intervention may not have been sufficient to stimulate an interest in visiting and making it a more

attractive destination.









In this study gender and other personal factors such as previous international travel

experience and tourist role preference did not affect the level of self-rated familiarity and the

familiarity sum score before and after the intervention. The only significant differences were

found among the four tourist roles after stimulus exposure on the sum familiarity score, which is

further explained.

The largest group in the sample considered themselves explorers, followed by independent

mass tourists, organized mass tourists and drifters, which was confirmed by Qi (2005). Gibson

and Yiannakis (2002) reported that young individuals in their 20s are likely to assume the

traveler roles of EXP and DTR as they are characterized as travelers drawn to novel experiences

to a certain extent, are likely to be single with no family responsibilities which enables them to

visit more rustic places and forego certain necessities unlike the OMT and IMT (Cohen, 1972,

1973). There were no significant differences before the intervention, even though the DTR's

mean was higher than the mean score of the other three roles. One explanation might be that the

drifter may have a greater international travel experience, which coupled with the information in

the presentation about Bulgaria led to a higher level of retention of the information and displayed

knowledge. Individuals have varied levels of retention of information based on a variety of

factors internal and external to the individual such as relevance or salience (Mayo & Jarvis,

1981). It may be that with a larger sample, a significant result may be obtained before the

intervention. Another explanation may be due the nature of the intervention. Different tourist

types may use and prefer different types of information sources. For example, Kerstetter and

Cho (2004) made an important conclusion after examining the relationships between prior

knowledge (which consisted of past experience and familiarity/expertise) and the source

credibility. The authors stressed the importance of the information sources, which are used to









inform, educate, and entice individuals to visit or revisit. Internal search (own past experiences)

turned out to be the most important variable in relation to prior knowledge. It may be that more

experienced travelers and those who belong to the explorer and drifter categories may rely more

on internal sources compared to the other traveler groups. In addition, research has shown that

individuals who are less familiar with a destination tend to rely more on external information

sources (Snepenger, Meged, Snelling, & Worrall, 1990; Vogt, Stewart, & Fesenmaier, 1998),

which was not confirmed by Kerstetter and Cho (2004). According to Kerstetter and Cho level

of involvement in the decision making process may be the explanation. Personal experiences

may have been enough for highly familiar individuals who saw no need to use other external

resources. There were significant differences in familiarity among the tourist roles after the

intervention. A post-hoc test revealed the drifter's significantly higher level of knowledge based

on the 17 knowledge items after the intervention than individuals categorizing themselves as one

of the other three roles. In the case of the current study this external information source led to a

higher knowledge level of the DTR. The combination of the videos and his/her prior experiences

may explain the higher level of knowledge compared to the other roles. This may be explained

by a comparison of the prior international travel experiences of students among the four tourist

roles. Even though that DTR was a small group all of the students in that group had traveled

internationally and they were followed by the EXP which made up the next largest group.

Organized mass tourists had the least international travel experience. In terms of travel to

Europe, a little different pattern was observed where the IMT was the largest group which had

traveled to Europe, followed by the EXP, and finally, the DTR and OTM with the same

percentages. Therefore, a higher overall level of international travel experience of the DTR may

explain why they had a higher knowledge level of Bulgaria.









In terms of demographics Baloglu (2001) did not find significant effects on familiarity.

Graburn (1983) pointed out that education may determine to a large extent what types of

vacations individuals seek. The sample in this study consisted of college students and did not

allow for any comparison among groups with various education levels in awareness, familiarity,

image of Bulgaria and intent to travel. Further studies should consider examining such

differences. This sample consisted of students who are middle and upper-middle class, college

educated and, therefore, with theoretically a higher level of cultural self-confidence (Graburn,

1983). Graburn stressed the importance of cultural self-confidence and how it might affect an

individual's travel destination choice. He claimed that such self-confidence is determined more

by an individual's social class and educational and other experiences rather than income.

Therefore, individuals such as the EXP and DTR who are more culturally self- confident may be

more likely to travel more internationally and to visit novel and less known destinations with the

former partially confirmed by this study.

Some similarities of the present study can be found with the research of Sirakaya et al.

(2001), which focused on the images of Turkey. Turkey is a well known destination in Europe

and other parts of the world but little known in the U.S. where their sample of college students

was based. Indeed, they found that most of the students surveyed indicated they were "not at all

familiar" with Turkey. They also found that familiarity did not affect intent to travel to Turkey

and three out of eight image factors influenced intent. The implication here is that familiarity

may have an indirect influence on intent to travel by first influencing individual's perceptions of

a destination. Similarly, S6nmez and Sirakaya (2002) found that more than half of the

participants who have either traveled internationally or were interested in such travel were not at









all or slightly familiar with Turkey. Thus, previous international travel experience in this case

does not seem to influence familiarity with a country not visited previously.

Kim and Richardson (2003) examined the effects of a motion picture on undergraduate

students' perceptions of Vienna and the movie's effects on familiarity. As movies familiarize

audiences with places their hypothesis was that viewing a movie about a destination can lead to a

higher familiarity with that destination, however, this hypothesis was disproved when the control

group was compared to those who saw the movie. Thus, movies based in destinations may not

be as influential in raising familiarity levels with a destination as many in the tourism industry

may think (Riley, Baker, & Van Doren, 1998).

In contrast to Kim and Richardson's experimental design, the current study did not use a

control group instead a one group pre-test post-test design with an intervention was used, which

is an innovative technique in tourism research. Although, a future study employing a true

experimental design may provide the ability to isolate the effect of the intervention more

accurately. Nonetheless, significant differences were found in self-rated familiarity and the

familiarity sum score when the mean scores before and after the intervention were compared

using paired t-tests. Therefore, a video presentation tailored by the tourism industry appears to

be influential in increasing students' familiarity of a little known destination such as Bulgaria.

To understand further their familiarity levels, students were asked to list the European countries

they had visited, however, this study did not look into which students were more familiar before

and after the intervention with Bulgaria based on which specific counties they have visited.

Several students indicated they had been to Central and Eastern European countries such as the

Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, for example. Would students who have been to Eastern

Europe have higher knowledge and familiarity and different images than those who have not









been to this part of the world? This and similar questions may form a further investigation into

familiarity with, and images of Bulgaria.

According to McQueen and Miller (1985) first-time visitors to a destination need to be

enticed and persuaded the most to visit the destination. Perhaps as Kim and Richardson (2003)

suggested potential visitors may need to have an increased exposure to a variety of sources,

rather than the more general images shown in movies to influence images, intent to visit and

make destinations more popular (Kim & Richardson, 2003; Riley et al., 1998; Tooke & Baker,

1996). The exposure effect from advertising (Zajonc, 1968) also comes into play in such

situations, according to which as an individual is exposed more and more to a product or brand

he/she will start to like that same product increasingly.

The construct of familiarity in a tourism context has not been given much attention

compared to the fields of marketing and consumer behavior. However, important findings have

been reported by Baloglu (2001), Kerstetter and Cho (2004), Kim and Richardson (2003),

McKay and Fesenmaier (1997), and Prentice (2004) among others. Nevertheless, further studies

are needed to examine what differences exist between various travel segments based on different

socio-demographics and other personal variables such as prior travel experience and tourist roles.

How would familiarity interact with intent to visit when constraints to travel are considered?

Answers to this and other questions may provide a greater understanding and may contribute to

more targeted marketing efforts of destination managers by effectively channeling different

campaigns to familiar and not familiar travelers whose travel and information needs may be

different. Goodall (1988, 1991), Mathieson and Wall (1982), Mayo and Jarvis (1981), Moutinho

(1978), Stabler (1988), Woodside and Lysonski (1989) provided an important framework to

further the understanding of the travel decision making process and the importance of tourist









images and the interplay of other factors including, awareness, personal characteristics and

marketing factors. Familiarity should be considered as an important component of such models

even though it has not received as much attention as destination image about which a large body

of knowledge has amassed over the last 35 years (Taschi & Gartner, 2007).

Awareness

Past travel experience, gender and tourist role preference did not influence the level of

awareness of Bulgaria. The researcher's expectation was that those with more international

travel experience and those who preferred more novel forms of tourism would exhibit a higher

level of awareness of Bulgaria. Unfortunately, a more in-depth analysis of these variables on

awareness was hindered by the lack of adequate numbers in each of the cells for the

crosstabulations. Thus, for future studies a larger more diverse sample is recommended. Nearly

90% of the students had heard of Bulgaria, however, more than half reported they had not used

any information sources to learn about the country. The most common source was a history or

geography class that students have taken to learn about the country. In terms of differences

among those who have taken a history/geography class to learn about Bulgaria within each

gender category a higher percentage of males have taken such a class compared to females. This

was also so for movies as a source, however, more females reported their source of knowledge as

news programs. Also, more females compared to males reported they have not used any sources

to learn about Bulgaria.

This lack of familiarity of the country (and other countries) is linked to the limited

geographical education U.S. students receive from early childhood to the high school years.

Later, while in college students may elect courses in geography, history or political science that

may focus on Eastern Europe, however, such classes are selected and not required for all

students regardless of major. In this study, a higher percentage among those who were not aware









of Bulgaria had traveled one or more times internationally compared to those who were aware of

Bulgaria. This seems a surprising finding, which may have other causes. The result may be due

to the travel destinations that students have visited. For example, a majority of students who

have traveled internationally reported visiting nearby destinations in the Western Hemisphere -

Caribbean, Canada, and South America. Many also reported visiting Asia and Western Europe.

Only a few students had visited Central and Eastern European countries, including Russia. The

most visited destinations were in closer proximity to the U.S. such as the Caribbean, Canada or

Mexico. One can only speculate that students may have visited Mexico and the Caribbean, for

example, while on a cruise. On the other hand, even though the University offers study abroad

programs, including to Europe very few if any may have taken advantage of that. Eastern

Europe and perhaps certain parts of it such as countries in the Balkans unfortunately have not

been perceived as attractive destinations for a variety of reasons, including political instability

and war in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s and into the 21st century, lower economic conditions

of the population, limited services and facilities there compared to Western European

destinations and even the more Western counterparts- such as the Czech Republic (Ooi,

Kristensen, & Pedersen, 2004), Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, and Slovakia. In addition, Bulgaria

has traditionally been a sun, sand and sea destination for travelers from the Eastern Bloc and

other Western European countries. For Americans such destinations can be found in a much

closer proximity at home in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Mexico or the Caribbean, for

example, which are for many Americans just a couple of hours away driving or by airplane.

In terms of linking awareness and familiarity Milman and Pizam (1995) reported that

almost half of those who had heard of Central Florida as a destination had visited (were familiar

with) the area. In this study none of the participants had visited Bulgaria, which was part of the









criteria to participate. Milman and Pizam also investigated the relationship between awareness,

familiarity and images of the destination. They found that the images of those who were not

aware or were aware of the destination were less positive than the images of those who were

familiar (i.e. have visited) with the destination. Moreover, participants who were aware of

Central Florida did not have more positive images than those who were not aware. The two

authors also found that awareness did not influence intent to travel. In fact those with low levels

of awareness were more likely to visit the destination. In linking familiarity and awareness in

the current study, it is interesting that three students were not aware of Bulgaria and at the same

time in the pre-test they reported a sum familiarity score of seven and nine. One explanation

may be that at first they thought they have never heard of the country, but once presented with

some statements related to Bulgaria's history, geography and other information from their

memory surfaced.

Awareness is an important construct that links familiarity, use of information sources,

preferences for destinations, images and ultimately intent to travel. According to several authors

the place of a destination in the awareness set may determine preferences and ultimately

influence the choice of travel to that destination (Crompton, 1992; Narayana & Markin, 1975;

Um & Crompton, 1990; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989; Woodside & Wilson, 1985). Bulgaria

clearly is not in the evoked set of destinations for the U.S. college students in this sample. The

Bulgarian State Agency for Tourism and other destination management and marketing entities

may need to engage in more targeted efforts in their promotions that will be informational in

nature and at the same time spark an interest in travelers to entice them to make a first visit.

Opening a North-American or United States Regional BSAT office that will be charged with the

marketing and promotion of Bulgaria to the region is recommended. Extensive contacts and









reach through the media -newspapers, television, magazines and other media is also

recommended.

Image

Previous international travel experience, tourist role preference, and gender did not affect

overall image of Bulgaria held by students before and after the intervention contrary to the

researcher's expectations. The image items presented to the students dealt with destination

attributes and as such were cognitive. Five conceptual image categories were created with the

Culture, History and Art images rated as most positive. This may be explained in that some

students assumed that since Bulgaria is in Europe it will have a different cultural heritage than

their own and a long history and traditions. The least positive images were attributed to items

related to its beaches and quality of roads and airports before the intervention. Many U.S.

travelers, including these students may not be aware of the fact that Bulgaria's border to the East

is the Black Sea, which is a popular beach destination not only for Bulgarians and travelers from

Central and Eastern Europe, but increasingly from Western Europe and beyond. However, the

participants of this study did not associate Bulgaria with good beaches. To these students the

good beaches are in a closer proximity from one and a half hours drive to a couple of hours by

plane to reach popular Florida, Caribbean or Mexican destinations. This may be true for the U.S.

traveler in general as well. Echtner and Ritchie (1993) emphasized the importance of the types

of images, which they conceived as belonging to three continue: attribute-holistic, common-

unique and functional characteristics-psychological characteristics. Therefore, modeled after

Echtner and Ritchie's three open-ended questions were used to gain insight into the more

holistic, unique and psychological images of the destination held by the students. Some of the

results here were surprising. For example, students' responses on these open-ended questions

about the image of Bulgaria pointed to the fact that many do not know much about Bulgaria and









have inaccurate information in terms of climate and its location on the map. Sirakaya et al.

(2001) also found that college students had low levels of familiarity with Turkey. They also

reported that students' images of Turkey showed significant differences from a neutral 3.5 score

on seven out of eight factors: cognitive evaluation of attractiveness, socio-economic and cultural

similarity, tourist services and attractions, cultural attraction, reassuring/safe/calming,

comforting/relaxing, and the perceived cost of vacation factor. All of these with the exception of

cultural similarity reflected positive images. In Sirakaya et al.'s study Turkey was perceived as

having different cultural and social conditions. However, the authors emphasized that these

results did not necessarily translate into a negative image. In reality, they suggested some

travelers are attracted to novel destinations, which according to Cohen's (1972) tourist role

typology would be exemplified in the explorer and drifter. In addition, those more familiar with

Turkey had more positive images on three out of all eight factors. This relationship, however,

was not included as a research question in this study. One can only speculate that cultural and

possibly other categories may have been perceived in a more positive light among those with

higher levels of familiarity and as such can be addressed in future analysis of the data.

Sonmez and Sirakaya (2002) similarly examined the images of, familiarity with, and intent

to travel to Turkey among potential travelers. Overall, in terms of the cognitive and affective

images Turkey was not perceived in a very positive way, which is similar to the way Bulgaria

was perceived before the intervention. After the pre-test students were shown a map of Bulgaria

showing its location as part of the Balkan Peninsula, after which they were shown two videos.

Results from the post-test showed that 28 out of 36 image items' means differed significantly

from the pre-test. Paired t-tests showed significant improvement in all five image categories.

The overall image also improved significantly. The information source classified by Gartner









(1993) as Covert Induced II in combination with Overt Induced I did improve the familiarity of

participants, their knowledge of Bulgaria and one can speculate that as a result their images

became more positive. However, post-test the overall image again did not significantly differ

according to international travel experience, tourist role preference or gender. When examining

gender, males had a more positive overall image of Bulgaria than females pre- and post-test.

Males also had a slightly higher knowledge score before the intervention, which showed higher

accuracy in terms of facts related to Bulgaria and hence higher familiarity. This may have

contributed to the more positive image of Bulgaria. Females had a higher self-rated familiarity

and familiarity sum score after the intervention. This possibly may be explained in that females

have a different learning style than their male counterparts and they were able to retain the

information in the video that translated into a higher sum familiarity/knowledge score. In

contrast, Chen and Kerstetter (1999) found that females held more positive images of rural

Pennsylvania on some factors than males. The non-significant differences between males and

females in the overall image of Bulgaria in this study may be explained by the fact that the

students were U.S. born citizens, whereas Chen and Kerstetter study's respondents were

international students. The samples of both studies were homogenous in terms of education as

they were students at two large universities. However, upbringing, past education, popular

culture and media, and other experiences of the students may have lead to such differences in

gender based familiarity levels among U.S. and foreign students. When Baloglu (2001)

examined the interaction between demographics and images he only found significant

relationship between age and perceptions of attractions. Therefore, studies are not consistent in

terms of whether being a male or female may lead to different images of destinations. Various

other factors may contribute to image variations between male and females. Therefore, further









analysis, which is beyond the scope of this study, considering variables such as difference of

international travel experience or information sources used to learn about the destination across

gender may shed more light on gender image differences.

MacKay and Fesenmaier (1997) found that two image dimensions: atmosphere and

holiday were influenced by gender. Also, familiarity played a role as an intervening variable in

all four image dimensions of the destination (park in Canada). They also confirmed Echtner and

Ritchie's (1993) theory that image has three dimensions: psychological-functional, attribute-

holistic and common-unique, which were also utilized in the current study. Individuals more

familiar (majority off park users were repeat visitors) with the park perceived the destination in a

way that was more psychological, holistic, and unique and those not familiar related to the

functional, attribute, and common aspects of the destination image. Those unfamiliar evaluated

the pictorial elements based on cognitive criteria in contrast to the familiar visitors who

evaluated the images based on affective elements. Personal experience with the destination,

which is another component of familiarity, influences an individual's perceptions of that

destination. This parallels Fakeye and Crompton's (1991) proposition that a complex image

forms as a result of a visit to the destination. MacKay and Fesenmaier's (1997) study had

important implications. Travelers with higher levels of familiarity relate to those destination

characteristics that are salient to them and perceive the destination in more psychological,

holistic, and unique ways compared to those less familiar.

In the current study before the intervention students had very little knowledge of the

country, some basic images and in some cases inaccurate perceptions of Bulgaria. After

exposure to information sources as part of the intervention, their knowledge increased and

images changed, thus creating induced images. In addition, students were asked unprompted to









list characteristics and images of Bulgaria that came to mind after the intervention and such

responses were influenced by their personal characteristics, preferences, and salient destination

attributes where some responses mentioned skiing, mountains, cultural attractions, welcoming

atmosphere and others. Such influences on image formation have been confirmed by much

research (Crompton, 1979a; Goodall, 1988, 1991; Mayo & Jarvis, 1981, Moutinho, 1987;

Stabler, 1988; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989 among others). It may be that those more familiar

held more affective images and psychological, holistic, and unique rather than functional,

attribute and common that may be in the minds of less familiar respondents. Such investigation

was not a part of this study. Therefore, a further study of the images, satisfaction and intent to

revisit Bulgaria may shed additional light on how well the needs of the visitors were met and

how their modified complex images differed from the organic or induced images. Such

investigation will aid destination marketers with the branding, positioning and competitiveness

of the country on the world tourism arena.

Chalip et al. (2003) found that the advertisement of Australia's Gold Coast significantly

influenced five out of nine image factors, where four factors were positively influenced (value,

safety, climate, and family environment) and one, sightseeing opportunities, was negatively

perceived. Furthermore, the advertisement for the Honda Indy 300 race event lead to a

decreased perception of the natural environment but enhanced the perception of novelty and

safety. A telecast of the race improved environment, climate and novelty image dimensions.

The current study's results are consistent with those of Chalip et al. In this study participants

were exposed to two 10-minute videos. After the intervention the images of Bulgaria improved.

This may have been related to their increased levels of familiarity with Bulgaria. At the study's

onset the level of familiarity based on the sum knowledge score was significantly lower than the









level after the intervention. This is where the use of a control group may be able to isolate more

accurately the effects of the intervention in future studies.

Kim and Richardson (2003) found that the movie about Vienna influenced positively the

cognitive image of the destination on two factors: cultural/natural attractions and community

characteristics/infrastructure and affected negatively the basic needs/comfort image dimension.

Only one (relaxing-distressing) of the four affective image dimensions was rated significantly in

a more favorable way. The other three arousing-sleepy, exciting-gloomy, and pleasant-

unpleasant dimensions did not differ among those who saw and did not see the movie. Similarly,

the intervention in this study led to more positive images in all five image categories.

A recent study (Hughes & Allen, 2008) investigated the holistic images through qualitative

analysis of 15 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries among British visitors and non-

visitors to these countries, including Bulgaria. Non-visitors were those who have not been to any

of the 15 destinations. Non-visitor studies have been lacking compared to visitors studies,

including those of Eastern European destinations. Understanding the images of less known

countries is even more imperative and necessary as these countries design and implement

tourism development strategies. Their images can serve as an invaluable tool in the in the design

of marketing and promotional campaigns (Sonmez & Sirakaya, 2002). Hughes and Allen found

that non-visitors considered poverty as a prevalent characteristic among all CEE countries.

Some counties were considered underdeveloped by visitors and Bulgaria and Romania were

viewed as "more of the grimmer type" (p. 32). Similarly, the participants in the current study

viewed the mood of the CEE countries negatively. The CEE was perceived in general as a

cultural destination, where an individual would go for sightseeing, rather than for the sun,

however, non-visitors mentioned Bulgaria as a destination of the latter category more than the









visitors. Comparable to the current research, non-visitors in Hughes and Allen's study found it

difficult to point out unique features and attractions of CEE countries. This sample of U.S.

college students showed little knowledge and familiarity with Bulgaria, its features,

characteristics, and therefore both cognitive and holistic images. Bulgarian wine was the only

unique attribute mentioned for that country by Hughes and Allen's respondents, which was

mentioned by one participant in the current study. Of the 34 interviewees only two had traveled

to Bulgaria and in contrast former Czechoslovakia (the Czech Republic and Slovakia) was the

country most visited with nine respondents.

War and political instability was an image associated with the Eastern parts of the area (ex-

Yugoslavia, including Macedonia, Albania and others) and culture was associated with the

Western countries (Hungary, Czech Republic, and Poland). It is unfortunate that political and

ethnic conflicts have cast a negative image on the region as a whole, which is likely affecting the

image of Bulgaria as well. This is what is known as a generalization effect (Enders, Sandler &

Parise, 1992). It is interesting that none of the respondents in either of the studies mentioned any

cultural or archaeological treasures and attractions in Bulgaria, including the more than

centuries-old churches and sites which are a part of the UNESCO's World Heritage List, for

example. In the current study, after the intervention, culture was one of the predominant themes

mentioned by students in additional to mountains, natural landscapes, and friendliness of locals.

The newly redesigned website of the BSAT also prominently features on its front page cultural

heritage tourism sights and towns in Bulgaria. Before the intervention, many negative images

existed, including the mood and atmosphere. Many students said they did not know of any

unique attractions and features or images of Bulgaria. Others pointed out, similarly to Hughes

and Allen (2008) images of poverty, gloomy atmosphere, and underdevelopment. Interestingly,









in response to the open-ended question after the intervention asking participants to identify

images first coming to mind Bulgaria was described in a positive way.

Once again the power of visual media to shape images is demonstrated (Chalip et al., 2003;

Kim & Richardson, 2003) and is a significant finding of the current study. Several conclusions

can be made based on this discussion. First, an intervention that involves showcasing elements

of a destination, whether a movie or a travel show appears to significantly influence the image of

the destination among those exposed to that form of media. Gartner emphasized their

importance as the two Covert Induced II and Autonomous image agents as having more impact

on image formation and being more credible compared to the Overt Induced I form, which

includes advertisements by the destination through various media. This confirms the importance

of information sources as tools that can be used by destinations to change or influence the image

of that place. Second, more research needs to done that explores the influence of different types

of source on the familiarity and images of destinations. Certainly, individuals with different

familiarity levels seem to evaluate promotional materials differently, therefore, the elements

different groups use in evaluation of those sources, which eventually form their images of the

destination, need to be incorporated in marketing materials (MacKay & Fesenmaier, 1997).

Intent

Intent to travel has been explored as a component of the tourist decision making process.

Mayo and Jarvis (1981) based their model on Fishbein's Theory of Reasoned Action (Fishbein,

1967; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1980; Fishbein & Manfredo, 1992). Mayo and Jarvis linked factors like

attitudes, information sources, social factors, feelings and others. Attitudes in turn may

determine an individual's preferences and intent to travel. A similar model was proposed by

Woodside and Lysonski (1989) in which they linked intent and subsequently choice of a









destination with awareness, preferences, affective associations, traveler and marketing variables,

and situational factors.

In the current study the relationships among intent to travel to Bulgaria for vacation

purposes in the next five years, international travel experience, tourist role preference, and

gender were examined separately. Intent was not influenced by these variables, which was

contrary to the researcher's expectations. These results, however, are consistent with some

studies and contradict others as it is seen from the discussion to follow. Thirty-nine percent of

the respondents said they were unlikely to choose Bulgaria as their next vacation destination and

almost 43% were unlikely to travel to the country in the next five years. Similar results were

obtained by Sirakaya in studies of Turkey's image, familiarity and intent to travel where more

than half of the respondents were not at all or not very likely to visit the country (Sirakaya et al.,

2001; S6nmez & Sirakaya, 2002). Past international experience in S6nmez and Sirakaya's study

had a negative relationship with intent to visit, which may seem to be a surprising result. The

authors did not provide information that could have helped to further explain this result such as

the types of countries the participants had visited previously and the type of tourists they were.

Based on Cohen (1972) one might only speculate that a more adventurous and culturally-

oriented traveler may be the type interested and more likely to travel to Turkey.

The low levels of intent in this study may be explained by the fact that Bulgaria is a little

known country among U.S. college students, and perhaps in general among U.S. travelers. Even

though most students were aware of Bulgaria, they were not familiar with the country and many

did not have a desire to visit an unfamiliar destination. This is consistent with the theoretical

foundation of this study and the marketing models such as AIDA linking Awareness -- Interest

-* Desire -* Action (Ehrenberg, 1974; Lavidge & Steiner, 1961; Strong, 1925). According to









the model a certain level of awareness and, one may argue, familiarity with a destination, are

necessary to spark an interest in visiting and finally lead to a decision and an act of travel to the

destination. This parallels MacKay and Fesenmaier's (1997) proposition that when a destination

is more familiar it becomes more appealing. It can be argued that the two 10-minute videos were

not enough to make individuals familiar with a destination they had minimal knowledge about so

that intent may be influenced. This shows the importance of a long-term and consistent

promotional strategy for brand and image development or modification.

From the following discussion one can see how the results from this study compare to

others. According to Bojanic (1991) advertising can be an important tool for improving a

destination's image and increasing the likelihood of travelers to visit that country. For example,

Court and Lupton (1997) found that the more the image of New Mexico was positive among

individuals, the higher was the likelihood of choosing it as a destination to visit. Their results

were not confirmed by the current study whereby none to the variables (self-rated familiarity,

knowledge based familiarity and overall image) successfully predicted intent to visit Bulgaria,

although the intervention did change images and familiarity (self-rated and knowledge-based). It

might be that as the students were so unfamiliar with Bulgaria before the intervention, that even

the positive gains in image and familiarity could not compete with other destinations that the

students already had on their 'list of places to visit'. Court and Lupton also found that gender

was not significantly related to intent. However, other socio-demographic variables such as

household size, income, and distance to the destination were found to be significantly related to

intent. In addition, they found that prior visit to the destination and prior exposure to tourist

information about the destination were significantly related to intent. These variables were not

included in this study, which are advisable to be considered in future research.









One of the shortcomings of the current study is that it examined intent after students were

exposed to the stimulus, and therefore, a comparison cannot be made with intent before the

intervention, whether the promotional material improved the likelihood of visiting Bulgaria.

However, one may speculate that intent was higher after viewing the video as the knowledge and

awareness levels of Bulgaria before the intervention were so low. It would be also interesting to

find if the four tourist roles differed based on results from the pre and post-test, and it may very

well be that EXP and DTR would be more likely to visit Bulgaria as these tourist types enjoy

higher levels of novelty associated with visiting less known destinations and like to see off-the-

beaten path attractions and sites. Certainly, George and George (2004) found that intent to visit

two destinations in India was influenced by the relationships between past purchase and place

attachment and the relationship between place attachment and intention where both relationships

were moderated by novelty seeking. As seen in chapter 2 the concept of novelty seeking is

related to the four tourist roles that were examined in this study (Cohen, 1972; Crompton, 1979a;

Lepp & Gibson, 2003; Plog, 1974, 2001), however, in this study type of tourist role did not

influence intent to travel to Bulgaria.

Sirakaya et al. (2001) in their study of Turkey also found that most students did not intend

to visit Turkey as their next vacation destination. Sonmez and Sirakaya (2002) found that five

affective and one cognitive image factor, previous international travel experience, social/personal

sources of information, and overall appeal influenced adults' intent to travel to Turkey in a

multiple regression model in which some relationships were positive and some negative. Further

and more sophisticated analyses of Bulgaria as a destination are recommended that may include

multiple regression, path analysis or structural equation modeling in which variables discussed

above found from previous research to influence intent to travel should be included.









Other researchers have investigated the influence of promotional materials and a motion

picture influence on intent to visit a destination (Chalip et al., 2003; Kim & Richardson, 2003).

Chalip and his colleagues examined the relationships between intent to visit the Gold Coast of

Australia. They found that for both the residents of New Zealand and the U.S. several image

dimensions influenced intent to visit, however, the actual image categories predicting intent

differed among residents of the two countries. In an experimental design they further

investigated the influence of promotions on intent to visit the Gold Coast. The effect was not

significant for residents of either country. The significant effect on intent to travel was achieved

through the effect of advertising on the image for that destination. This is consistent with

various tourism models (Moutinho, 1987; Stabler, 1988; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). The

present study however, did not test for the intermediate effect of familiarity or image on intent.

Although, image and familiarity were significantly more positive after the intervention. Further

studies may focus on such interrelationships and mediating effects. Chalip et al. made an

important conclusion. To gage the effect of destination advertisements destination marketing

entities should first test these advertisements with a sample of the targeted audience prior to

launch of a campaign. Results of such pre-launch research may lead to further modification of

the campaign that will more closely fit the needs, preferences, lifestyles, and travel patterns of

potential travelers and even personalize such information sources with the assistance of available

information technology.

Kim and Richardson (2003) found the opposite when a movie about Vienna was shown to

individuals. They concluded that viewing of a motion picture about Vienna resulted in a higher

interest in visiting the city when the researchers compared the two groups, i.e. those who viewed

the movie and the control group. In other words, further analysis and studies may be needed to









further investigate the relationships between familiarity with a destination, images of and intent

to visit that destination. Differences in the findings of such studies are likely also due to the

different methods and study designs. It would be interesting to compare the outcome of several

studies with a similar design and the influence of promotional materials/TV commercials on

intent to visit a destination.

Intent to travel and variables thought to influence intention were explored by Qi (2005) in

relation to travel to China and to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. In contrast to the present

study, she found that previous international travel significantly influenced the intent to travel to

China in the next five years. Qi found differences among the four tourist roles where the DTR

showed differences compared with OMT and IMT and the EXP showed differences compared to

the IMT. In addition, the author concluded that whether an individual was a male or female did

not significantly influence their intent to travel, consistent with this study's results. The

influence of international travel experience on intent to travel in Qi's study and the conflicting

result of this study may be explained by the fact that China may be considered more culturally

and as a result more unique and more appealing to adventurous student travelers. Whereas,

Bulgaria is in Europe with long history and traditions, which may be a little more similar to the

Western civilization and culture and as such less appealing. In fact, unprompted several students

pointed out that Bulgaria may be similar to destinations such as Germany, Russia, England, and

the Middle East.

The multiple regression analysis produced a model that did not improve the ability to

predict intent to visit Bulgaria from overall image, self-familiarity level, and the sum familiarity

score. Certainly, a larger sample size would be needed if several variables are used in regression

as predictors (Field, 2005). One explanation for the non-significant results might be that even









though image and familiarity improved as the result of video, the destination is not in the

individuals' evoked sets. It may be placed in the inert set, where according to Narayana and

Markin (1975) are destinations about which an individual does not have enough information and

he or she might feel neutral about. Also, the individual "... does not perceive them [inert set

products or destinations] as better than the brands in his evoked set" (p. 2). Awareness and

familiarity (for the latter it can be argued to what extent) again are confirmed as necessary early

components in the decision making process that may translate later into interest, desire and

actual visit to the destination (Ehrenberg, 1974; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). Individuals were

more likely to visit Europe and even more likely to travel abroad in the next five years, however,

the researcher did not ask the participants to list those destinations that they would visit by

unaided recall. One conclusion can be made that it would take a great deal of persuasive

advertising to entice individuals to visit Bulgaria in addition to a gradual increase in awareness.

The respondents' level of familiarity was low in the beginning and various forms of promotion

can be used to increase their level of familiarity and make individuals more comfortable with

travel to Bulgaria. One of the main goals of advertising is to appeal to the needs of its target

consumers and can be used to build an image of a place (Kotler, et al, 1993). In addition, those

needs, lifestyles, and preferences vary across individuals, people of different race, religion, age,

socio-economic status and their particular needs at that moment when an individual starts to plan

a trip. Word of mouth has been an important and influential source when it comes to travel

planning (Capella & Greco, 1987; Gartner, 1993; Gitelson & Crompton, 1983; Gitelson &

Kerstetter, 1994; Vogt, et al., 1998). It is possible that advertising can include the personal

testimonies of people of various ages and backgrounds. It might be interesting to see if a

campaign where referring a friend to book a specific trip to Bulgaria and will result in a discount









to the person who provided the reference (e.g. half-off in hotel stay, a free excursion while in

Bulgaria, etc.) will be effective.

In addition, researchers have established a link between intent and perceived risk (Sonmez

& Graefe, 1998a, b). When asked what characteristics first come to mind when thinking about

going on vacation to Bulgaria about 15% of the respondents still thought about it as a communist

country, underdeveloped, cold and unsafe. Several students said they have never thought about

vacationing in Bulgaria or that it is not a country they would like to visit. Others, did not know

where Bulgaria was located geographically or responded that it has a hot climate and is a tropical

country. It may be that those perceiving Bulgaria as a "risky" country to visit in terms of health

risks, political stability, and strange food may be the organized mass tourists as found by Lepp

and Gibson (2003). Those risk factors in their study were higher among individuals who tend to

seek familiarity rather than novelty. It may be that those individuals were also less likely to visit

Bulgaria due to the perceptions of Bulgaria as an undeveloped and "third world" country. Lepp

and Gibson also found that previous international travel experience influenced perception of risk

associated with terrorism, health and food hazards. Those with more international experience

perceived those risks to a lesser degree. Although, in the current study previous international

travel experience did not influence intent, its importance as a valuable tourist variable is

undisputed. Marketing professionals in Bulgaria would benefit in their advertising campaigns

from such research linking intent and risk associated with a visit to Bulgaria. Results from the

post-test showed no significant differences in intent based on different international travel

experience and travel to Europe. According to Crompton (1992) destination may not become a

part of the consideration set for a variety of reasons, including the perception of high risk, none









of the traveler's friends have been to the destination, it is thought that destination is not meeting

the person's motives, and others.

Implications

This study examined the relationship between awareness, familiarity, image and intent and

personal variables such as past international travel experience, tourist role preference and gender.

The author is not aware of other studies that have examined all of these constructs together in

regards to a destination. In this case the destination was Bulgaria an Eastern European country.

Bulgaria is now a part of the European Union and will continue to receive funds to develop

various areas, including tourism. For example, money is designated for infrastructure

enhancements, product development and marketing and promotions and others. Bulgaria

recently received funding from the European Union to fund tourism.

This study offers several implications relevant to destination marketing, branding,

positioning and image of Bulgaria. First, awareness is a necessary but not sufficient element in

the destination decision making process (Crompton, 1992; Ehrenberg, 1974; Milman & Pizam,

1995). The majority of students were aware of Bulgaria, however, the likelihood of them

visiting in the next five years was relatively low. Second, marketers of Bulgaria need to focus on

increasing the familiarity and knowledge of Bulgaria among U.S. travelers. As Fishbein and

Manfredo (1992) emphasized, behavior change may occur if underlying cognitive organization

such as beliefs and attitudes are changed related to a destination. Third, the opening of a North

American or U.S. BSAT office is recommended. Such an office could be responsible for

promotions targeted specifically at the North American market and creating a familiarization

campaign that should include articles and coverage in travel and related magazines such as

Conde Nast Traveler, Travel and Leisure, National Geographic and other publications and

media. Such travel magazines and travel guides have more credibility among consumers (Crotts,









1999, Gartner, 1993) due to their "neutrality" and are valuable tools to consumers and can be

powerful tools in the hands of destination marketers. Crotts (1999) emphasized the importance

of neutral sources of information such as travel guides and travel agents. However, he and other

researchers (Gartner, 1993) have stressed that perhaps the most important and influential source

of information is that obtained from friends and relatives (personal sources).

Crotts explained that according to where an individual is in the decision making process

his/her travel information search behavior would vary. At earlier stages of the search process

individuals begin by accessing information already acquired (internal information) resulting from

past experiences with this or other destinations, or long-term memory. Information may also be

passively obtained through external sources when the traveler has low involvement levels.

Active information search form external sources would include information obtained first from

personal sources, neutral, personal experience and sources controlled by marketers (CVB web

sites, etc.). Marketer sources have been found to have a relatively small influences on consumers

(Crotts, 1999, Gartner, 1993), nevertheless they are an important group of information sources

that are usually used in combination with other sources (Gitelson & Crompton, 1983, Vogt et al.,

1998). Crompton (1992) noted that various decision making studies and models (Mountiho,

1986; Um & Crompton, 1990; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989) ultimately point to decrease of use

of passively acquired information and an increase of the actively obtained information as the

decision making process progresses. It can be inferred that different promotional strategies

should be used by marketers that will reach travelers at each stage of the search and decision

process. Crompton concluded that a sign of successful marketing of a destination is when the

destination is placed in the initial and then the late consideration set by an individual. A

destination is selected out of that late consideration set. If a destination is not a part of the initial









set, destination marketers should engage in creative and targeted promotion and advertising. If a

destination is placed in the inert set then, he suggested comparative advertising may be employed

as an effective strategy. Bulgaria is not placed in the late consideration set of most U.S. college

students. It is doubtful if it is placed in the initial set. It appears that it is in the inert of reject

(inept) set. Therefore, appropriate marketing strategies need to be employed to increase the

likelihood of Bulgaria being shifted from these sets to the consideration set where the ultimate

goal is for the destination to be chosen.

Recommendations for Future Research

This study has made a contribution to the body of knowledge regarding destination image

and related constructs such as awareness, familiarity, and intent and it draws upon work of

prominent scholars in the field. However, research designs such as longitudinal studies, which

detect changes in attitudes and behavior, are recommended. For example, if the participants of

this study were interviewed in five or ten years from now, would any of them report they have

traveled to Bulgaria? Could that behavior have been contributed to sparking an interest in

Bulgaria through the exposure to the intervention? These and myriad other questions may be

possible to investigate through longitudinal design. In terms of analysis, a future study may

explore the interactions of the constructs and causality by using path analysis and include more

variables, including socio-demographics and others such as motivation and constraints to visit

the country. Another design would be to use structural equation modeling, which is similar but

more powerful than multiple regression (Garson, n.d.). A future design should incorporate a

control group where internal validity will be increased. In other words, the changes in

perceptions or intent to travel to Bulgaria might be attributed to a larger extent to the

intervention. Such a design again will have flaws, however, the goal of the researcher is to

minimize the effects of other variables, including selection bias, equivalence of individuals who









are assigned to control and experimental groups, and others (Mitchell & Jolley, 1988). A larger

sample should be employed in future studies that undertake to study the images and intentions of

potential tourists to Bulgaria. The current study examined non-visitors, i.e. students none of

whom have been to the country. In addition, it may be interesting to study those who may be

considered non-visitors who are not at all likely to visit the country and compare them to

individuals who intend to visit or have been to Bulgaria. Moreover, would people who are more

familiar have better images of Bulgaria and have a higher likelihood of visiting the country? A

further study of Bulgaria's image may include assessment of the effectiveness of various types of

advertising on travelers' perceptions and intent. Non-visitors are a category less studied in

tourism and results from such research can be invaluable to tourism marketers.

Another possible study may focus on those who have been to Bulgaria already and

examine their intent to return and their satisfaction. Studies have indicated that a destination's

ability to continue to attract visitors largely depends on how well it has satisfied the needs of

those visitors that may recommend the destination to others or return. Further research may

include variables such as prior travel experience, tourist role preference, socio-demographic

variables, information sources, level of involvement in selecting a destination among others

(which were not included in the model in this study) but were emphasized in previous research

(Goodall, 1991; Manfredo et al., 1992; Mayo & Jarvis, 1981; Vogt, Stewart, & Fesenmaier,

1998; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989) might also increase the ability to predict intent.

Limitations

Several drawbacks exist in the study. First, the time commitment involved in the study

may have caused participant fatigue due to the administration of a pre-test, exposure to the

intervention stimulus and a post-test questionnaire. However, fatigue may have been minimal

due to the showing of the video, which gave participants an opportunity to pause answering the









questionnaire and divert their attention. A bigger problem may have been the participants'

limited familiarity with and awareness of Bulgaria as a destination at first, and therefore, it was

difficult for them to depict images of the country. Students were offered a choice of "don't

know" in several questions relating to the familiarity/knowledge statements and image. It can be

argued that this contributed to greatly increasing of the missing values since "don't know" all

responses were treated as missing values and some students use it to answer all or many

questions. In addition, students involved in the pilot-test of the study revealed that the voice of

the narrator in the second video was difficult to understand. The video was produced by the

Bulgarian State Agency for tourism narrated by a Bulgarian woman, who sometimes used

uncommonly used U.K. English phrases. The promotional material was geared more toward the

British market. A redesigned promotional material targeting the North American market may

have been more appropriate.

Delimitations

Several delimitations are associated with this study. Due to the nature of the sampling

procedure where students enrolled in summer B and fall 2007 classes participated and due to the

small sample size the generalizability of findings may be limited to populations with similar

characteristics. Therefore, caution may need to be exercised when applying results from this

study to other populations that have different characteristics such as education, age, and income.

Studies using more a diverse sample in terms of age, education and income may ensure that

results could be generalized to a wider population. Furthermore, different results may be

obtained from non-U.S. born respondents as socio-economic and cultural differences, different

life and travel experiences have been found to influence destination image (Beerli & Martin,

2004; Chalip, et al., 2003; Pearce, 1982a; Ritchie & Smith, 1991), choice of destination, intent to

travel and tourist styles (Basala & Klenosky, 2001; Berroll, 1981; Campbell, 1978; Chalip, et al.,









2003; Cohen, 1972; Crompton, 1979a; Goodall, 1991, Gottlieb, 1982; Graburn, 1983; Moutinho,

1987; Pearce, 1982b; Plog, 1974, 2001; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989), awareness (Milman &

Pizam, 1995; Richards, 1994; Ritchie & Smith, 1991), and familiarity (Cohen, 1974; Kerstetter

& Cho, 2004; Kim & Richardson, 2003; MacKay & Fesenmaier, 1997).

Conclusions

This study answered many important questions, even though they stemmed from

unexpected results. For example, prior international travel experiences bore no influence on

awareness, familiarity, image, and intent. Moreover, it was perceived based on literature that

different travel styles and tourist roles would affect the individual's level of familiarity, image,

and intent to travel. More questions were raised as a result. Is the success of a destination

proportionate to the success of a promotional campaign? A similar question was raised by Lane

(2007) about the effectiveness of Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVBs) web sites. Due to 40

years of isolation during the communist era, Bulgaria's small territory and other geopolitical and

historical factors Bulgaria was not widely known as a travel destination beyond Europe, and

especially not familiar to the North American traveler. The opening of its borders in 1989, the

membership in the European Union and active participation on the world arena through

international structures and organizations will lead to an increased awareness of the country and

perhaps familiarity with its culture and people. This is where the role of organizations such as

the Bulgarian State Agency for Tourism (BSAT), the Bulgarian Tourist Chamber (BTC),

National Tourist Board (NTB), the Bulgaria Convention and Visitors Bureau, Tourism Board,

Bulgarian Association for Alternative Tourism (BAAT), Bulgarian Association for Rural and

Ecological Tourism, (BARET), Local and Regional Tourist Organizations becomes important.

The cooperation and coordination of activities of various stakeholders such as these

organizations representing the government, private, and non-profit sectors not only directly









related to tourism but also sectors such as transport and infrastructure, Ministry of Ecology and

Water, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Regional Development, Ministry of the Economy and

Energy, State Agency of Youth and Sport, National Institute for Statistics, Universities and other

organizations is of utmost importance when it comes to creating tourist-related laws and

regulations, tourism promotion, product development and diversification that is sustainable for

generations to come. The website of the BSAT (http://www.bulgariatravel.org) was redesigned

in 2006, and while being redesigned no web site was available to the potential visitor. During

this process, a temporary or the older version of the web site should have been available to the

international and domestic travel community. It was as if Bulgaria disappeared from the

international tourism arena. Another, drawback is that a web site is available in English;

however, no such web site is available to the domestic traveler in Bulgarian.

Consequently, well-thought of strategies would need to be implemented if Bulgaria is to

take advantage of international tourist flows on a consistent basis and to encourage diversified

tourist products and experiences. Woodside and Sherrell (1977) gave a number of

recommendations to destinations in the unaware, inept or reject sets. They described accurately

Bulgaria's position as a destination in the competitive marketplace when they suggested that a

lack of communication about the destination may inhibit development of tourism of destinations

which are available to tourists but who are unaware of them. In this case most students were

aware of a country called Bulgaria, however, they have probably never thought about

vacationing there. For inert destinations the authors suggested inclusion of promotional

campaigns including sales or special packages. Placement in the inept (reject) set may require

the implementation of an overall effective product strategy if a shifting in the destination's

position into the evoked set is the goal (Woodside & Sherrell, 1977). A destination's image is









inevitably tied to such strategies. Dichter (1985) suggested that image "is a most powerful

influence in the way people perceive things, and should be a crucial concept in shaping our

marketing, advertising, and communications efforts" (p.75). He also emphasized the nature of

image as being not static but constantly changing. This is an important message to be taken by

destination marketers. The success of a product largely depends on the culture in which it is

marketed according to Dichter possibly as much as the qualities of the product. His words are

good news for marketers in knowing that images can be altered eventually. Moreover, now more

than ever marketing professionals can be equipped with the necessary tools, visuals, and

technologies to create promotions of destinations that can target even the smallest of market

segments and attract them to a destination.









APPENDIX
SURVEY INSTRUMENT

BULGARIA TRAVEL SURVEY


This questionnaire asks you about your thoughts relating to travel to Bulgaria. When
completing the questionnaire, it is important that you answer each question as thoughtfully
and frankly as possible. There are no right or wrong answers.
Please answer questions number 1 through number 61. Then you will watch a video
about Bulgaria. After the video please answer the remaining questions. Please do not refer to
your earlier responses. The whole process will take approximately 60 minutes.
Your participation is completely voluntary and you have the right not to answer
certain questions if you choose to do so. The information you provide will be grouped with
other respondents' information to protect your identity. If you have any questions please
contact Kristina Ivanova Roberts at tel.: (352) 375-2423 or via e-mail: kirob@ufl.edu. Thank
you for taking the time to participate in this study!


Part I. This question asks you about your awareness of the country of Bulgaria. Please
circle the number that matches your response.


1. Have you ever heard of the country Bulgaria prior to today? 1... .Yes


2.....No


Part II. Please answer the following questions by writing in the space provided.

2. What images or characteristics first come to mind when thinking about going on vacation to
Bulgaria? Please describe in your own words.









3. What distinctive or unique tourist attractions, areas, features, or associations with Bulgaria
come to mind when you think of the country.









4. How would you describe the atmosphere or mood that you would expect to experience while
visiting Bulgaria?







Part III. The following questions ask you about your familiarity with and knowledge of
Bulgaria. Please circle the number that matches your response.


5. How familiar/knowledgeable do you consider yourself to be with Bulgaria?
Not at all familiar Slightly familiar Fairly familiar Quite familiar


Very familiar
5


6. Have you taken any history, geography, political science or other classes, which have covered
information about Bulgaria? Please circle the number matching your response.
1....Yes 2....No

7. What types of information sources prior to today have you used to learn about Bulgaria?
Please circle all numbers that apply.


1 .... Friends/relatives
2... .Parents' knowledge
3... .Books
4.... Travel channel
5.... Classes in history/geography
6... Other classes
7... .Magazine articles


8....Movies
9... .News programs
10...Documentaries
11... Programs in media
12.. .Newspaper articles
13...None
14... Other


Part IV. The following statements reflect your knowledge about Bulgaria. Please use the
scale below and circle the number that matches your response.


Don't
Item True False Know
8. Bulgaria has a temperate climate 1 2 3
9. Bulgaria is a peaceful nation 1 2 3
li Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria I 2 ?
11. Bulgaria has several mountains 1 2 3
12. Bulgaria was founded in the 7th century 1 2 3
13. Bulgaria's population is 7.9 million 1 2 3
14 Bulgaria is a small nation. appro\ilnatcl the size of 1 3
Nortlh Carolina
15. Bulgaria is a communist country 1 2 3
16. Bulgaria's landscape overall is relatively flat 1 2 3











Don't
Item True False Know
17. Bulgaria has interesting cultural attractions 1 2 3
18. Bulgaria is a Slavic nation 1 2 3
19. Bulgaria was under 500 years of Turkish rule until 1878 1 2 3
20. Saints Cyril and Methodius invented the Cyrillic 1 2 3
alphabet
21. Yogurt originated in Bulgaria 1 2 3
22. Bulgaria's dominant religion is Christianity 1 2 3
23 Bulgaria iuses the C\ rillic alphabet 1 2 3
24. Bulgaria is not a member of the European Union 1 2 3

Part V. The following statements reflect your perceptions/images of Bulgaria as a travel
destination. Please use the scale below and circle the number that matches your response.

As a tourist destination Bulgaria:

Strongly Strongly Don't
Item Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Agree Know
25. Has pleasant climate 1 2 3 4 5 9
26. Has good beaches 1 2 3 4 5 9
27. Has many tourist 1 2 3 )
attract ions
28. Has national
1 2 3 4 5 9
parks/wilderness areas
29. Is a safe place to visit 1 2 3 4 5 9
30. Offers good value for 1 2 3 4 5 9
1 2 3 4 5 9
the money
31 Has ,'ood shopping 2 3 4 -
facilities~
32. Has ornate churches
and monasteries
?3 Has man\ historical
sites and ImuseuCnis 4
34. Has traditional
handicraft 1 2 3 4 5 9
handicraft
35 Has con cnicnt public I 2 3 4 -
and pil\ate tr allnsporlt
36. Has good opportunities 1 2 3 4 5 9
for hiking/mountaineering
37 Has beautiful sccilcl r
and naturelC
38. Has rich cultural 1 2 3 4 5 9
heritage
30 Has o\ci-ci'o\\dcd 4
areas ____________ ____________










Strongly Strongly Don't
Item Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Agree Know
40. Has quality roads and 1 2 3 4 5 9
airports
41. Is rich in 1 2 3 4 5 9
archaeological treasures
42. Is a place for relaxation 1 2 3 4 5 9
43. Has friendly local 1 2 3 4 5 9
people
44 Offers an opporiLunitni
to casill% ct around the I 2 3 4 5 Q
COUllltl
45. Has quality 1 2 3 4 5 9
hotels/accommodations
46. Has tasty cuisine 1 2 3 4 5 9
47. Is a family-oriented 1 2 3 4 5 9
destination
4, Has a different
languaiec. \\ Ich cprescnts a 1 2 3 4 5 u
lan'utla' c barir
49. Has tourist information
available_____________
50. Is fun and enjoyable 1 2 3 4 5 9
51. Has good wine 1 2 3 4 5 9
52. Has open air markets 1 2 3 4 5 9
53. Has good skiing 1 2 3 4 5 9
opportunities
54 Is rich in folk dance 3 4
and sonll
55. Has good quality of 5 9
service 1 2 3 4 5 9
service
56 Offers a cood
opl)orItlt to incrcasc in1 -
kInow led'c about a
different cultureii
57. Is a clean country 1 2 3 4 5 9
58. Lacks
coi1 ImerciC alizatilon
59. Offers a variety of 1 2 3 4 5 9
recreation activities
60 Has ,ood niiihtlifc and
cIntrta inmelnt~


61. My overall image of Bulgaria is positive.


response).
Strongly
Disagree
1


Disagree


Neutral


(Please circle the number that best matches your


Agree


Strongly
Agree
5


Don't
Know
9


















Please Stop filling out the questionnaire. Watch video, after
which please finish the questionnaire. Please do not refer to your
responses made before the video.

Part VI. The following question asks you about your familiarity with Bulgaria. Please use
the scale below and circle the number that matches your response.

62. Now that you have more information about Bulgaria, how familiar/knowledgeable do you
consider yourself to be with the country?
Not at all familiar Slightly familiar Fairly familiar Quite familiar Very familiar
1 2 3 4 5


Part VII. The following statements reflect your knowledge about Bulgaria. Please use the
scale below and circle the number that matches your response.

Don't
Item True False Know
63. Bulgaria has a temperate climate 1 2 3
64. Bulgaria is a peaceful nation 1 2 3
-5 Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria 1 2 3
66. Bulgaria has several mountains 1 2 3
67. Bulgaria was founded in the 7th century 1 2 3
68. Bulgaria's population is 7.9 million 1 2 3
60 Bulklaria is a small nation. appilximiatcl the size ofNolih 1 2
Carol-ina~
70. Bulgaria is a communist country 1 2 3
71 Bulgaria's landscape o\ call is rlati\ l\ flat 1 2 3
72. Bulgaria has interesting cultural attractions 1 2 3
73. Bulgaria is a Slavic nation 1 2 3
74. Bulgaria was under 500 years of Turkish rule until 1878 1 2 3
75 Saints C\ nl and MlcthoditsI in% cntcd the C\ nllic alphabet 2 3
76. Yogurt originated in Bulgaria 1 2 3
77 Bul,,ina's doniinant rcliL'onl is Clristianit\ 1 2
78. Bulgaria uses the Cyrillic alphabet 1 2 3
79. Bulgaria is not a member of the European Union 1 2 3










Part VIII. Please answer the following questions by writing in the space provided.

80. What images or characteristics first come to mind when thinking about going on vacation to
Bulgaria? Please describe in your own words.






Part IX. The following statements reflect your perceptions/images of Bulgaria as a travel
destination. Please use the scale below and circle the number that matches your response.

As a tourist destination Bulgaria:

Strongly Sirongly Don'i
Item Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Agree knoi
81. Has pleasant 1 2 3 4 5 9
climate
82. Has good beaches 1 2 3 4 5 9
83. Has many tourist 1 2 3 4 5 9
attractions
S4 Has national 4
park Is \\ i ldc r ss alras
85. Is a safe place to 1 2 3 4 5 9
visit
9A Offers good value 4
fol the IuoI1Kc'\_
87. Has good shopping 1 2 3 4 5 9
facilities
88. Has ornate
churches and 1 4 5 c

89. Has many
historical sites and 1 2 3 4 5 9
museums
on Has traditional 4
handicraft
91. Has convenient
public and private 1 2 3 4 5 9
transport
92. Has good
opportunities for 1 2 3 4 5
1111k111 IllOulnti llinlenlllu
93. Has beautiful 1 2 3 4
scenery and nature
04 Has rich cultural -










Strongly Strongly Don't
Item Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Agree Know
95. Has overcrowded 1 2 3 4 5 9
areas
96. Has quality roads 1 2 3 4 5 9
and airports
07 Ts rich in
archacol
98. Is a place for 1 2 3 4 5 9
relaxation
on Has friindlh local
people
100. Offers an
opportunity to easily 1 2 3 4 5 9
get around the country
Wnl Has quality\ 1 2 4 5 u
hotels accollmodatlions
102. Has tasty cuisine 1 2 3 4 5 9
If3 Is a famiil\-
oriented dcstilnati onoll
104. Has a different
language, which 1 2 3 4 5 9
presents a language
barrier
105. Has tourist
information available
116 Is fun and 4

107. Has good wine 1 2 3 4 5 9
1 (S Has open air 2 -, 4
illalsd s
109. Has good skiing 1 2 3 4 5 9
opportunities
I II Is rich in folk -
dalncc an1d SOll_
111. Has good quality 1 2 3 4 5 9
of service
112 Offers a good
opportunlitl to Inciasec
i\ k1, I1 \ lcd-c about a
different culture
113. Is a clean country 1 2 3 4 5 9
11-1 Lacks 2 3 4 5 u
comillcrc ializatI iI
115. Offers a variety of
recreation activities
116 Has ,ood nigitlife 4 2 4
and Celite ta 1illle111 it










117. My overall image of Bulgaria is positive. (Please circle the number that best matches your
response).
Strongly Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Don't
Disagree Agree Know
1 2 3 4 5 9

Part X. The following questions relate to your past travel experiences and future intended
travel. Please circle the number that most closely fits your experience or intent.


118. Have you ever traveled internationally?
Never 1-2 times 3-4 times


5 or more times
4


What countries have you visited?


119. How many times have you traveled to Europe?
Never 1-2 times 3-4 times
1 2 3

Which European countries have you visited?


5 or more times
4


120. How likely are you to choose Bulgaria as your next international vacation destination?
Very unlikely Unlikely Somewhat likely Likely Very likely
1 2 3 4 5

121. Do you plan to travel to Bulgaria in the next 5 years for vacation purposes?
Very unlikely Unlikely Somewhat likely Likely Very likely


122. Do you plan to travel abroad in the next 5 years for vacation purposes?
Very unlikely Unlikely Somewhat likely Likely


Very likely
5


123. Do you plan to travel to Europe in the next 5 years for vacation purposes?
Very unlikely Unlikely Somewhat likely Likely Very likely
1 2 3 4 5

124. If I wanted I could easily visit Bulgaria within the next 5 years.
Strongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree
1 2 3 4 5


125. For me to visit Bulgaria in the next 5 years would be
Impossible


Possible
5










126. I believe I have the resources to travel to Bulgaria within the next 5 years.
Strongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree
1 2 3 4 5

127. Visiting Bulgaria is expensive.
Strongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree
1 2 3 4 5

128. The cost of travel to Bulgaria would influence my visiting decision.
Strongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree
1 2 3 4 5

Part XI. Information sources

129. What types of information sources do you typically use when planning a vacation? Please
circle all numbers that apply.

1... Travel guide/tour books 6... Friends/relatives
2... Own travel files 7... Official web site of destination
3.... Travel agent 8... Internet
4.... Travel magazines 9... .Newspaper
5.... Travel club 10... Other

Part XII. Tourist Roles
130. From the following four descriptions please choose the one that describes your travel
characteristics best when you typically travel.

__ I enjoy packaged tours with pre-planned itineraries. I enjoy traveling with a
knowledgeable guide along with a group of friends, family or other Americans. Comfort is very
important.

I travel independently of a tour but I appreciate the services of a travel agent who can plan
parts of my trip. I enjoy traveling with friends and family, and together we visit the famous sites.
Comfort is important.

__ I enjoy arranging the trip myself and traveling alone or with a few close friends. Meeting
local people is important and I prefer to get off the beaten path; however, comfort and reliable
transportation are important.

_ I enjoy engaging completely in a host country's culture. I enjoy the freedom of having no
travel itinerary, timetable, or well-defined travel goals. I shun the beaten path. I will forgo
comfort for economy and even work along the way to fund my travels.









Part XIII. Now a few questions to help us interpret your response. (Please circle one
response.)


131. Are you: 1.... Male


2.....Female?


132. What is your current marital status?
1... Single, never married 2.. Married/Partnered 3.. Widowed


133. In what year were you born?


4... Separated/Divorced


Year


134. Which statement best describes your TOTAL 2006 annual family (including your parents')
income? (Please circle one response.)
1....$25,000 or less 5....$100,001 $125,000
2... $25,001 $50,000 6... $125,001 $150,000
3....$50,001 $75,000 7....$150,001 or more
4.... $75,001 $100,000


135. What will your class standing be in fall 2007? (Please circle one)
1... .Freshman 4.... Senior
2.... Sophomore 5.... Graduate student
3.... Junior


136. What is your racial or ethnic background
1... Black, not of Hispanic origin
2... .Asian or Pacific Islander
3... .White, not of Hispanic origin


4....Hispanic
5... .Native American or American Indian
6... Pacific Islander
7.... Other


Thank you for your participation in this study!









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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Kristina Ivanova Roberts was born in Poland. However, she is Bulgarian, and now an

American citizen. She grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria and has also lived in Prague, Czech Republic.

She completed two years of her studies in geography at Sofia University, then completed a year

in Business at the Anglo-American College in Prague. Eventually she transferred as a student to

the University of Florida, Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism (now Tourism,

Recreation and Sport Management). She graduated with honors in 2000 with a Bachelor of

Science in tourism. After graduation with a Master of Science degree in recreation, parks, and

tourism she plans to work in tourism marketing.





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1 DESTINATION FAMILIARITY, AWARENE SS AND IMAGE OF BULGARIA AMONG U.S. COLLEGE STUDENTS AN D THEIR INTENT TO TRAVEL By KRISTINA IVANOVA ROBERTS A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008

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2 2008 Kristina Ivanova Roberts

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3 To my loving husband, parents, sist er, and professors without whom I would not have been able to succeed in this endeavor

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This study was accom plished with the help of ma ny individuals. First and foremost it was conceived and accomplished with the endless he lp of my committee ch air Dr. Heather Gibson, whose tireless guidance, encouragement, support, and valuable feedback enabled me to complete it. Thanks go to Dr. Lori Pennington-Gray for her help, feedback, and making my experience as a masters student more valuable. I thank Dr Jorge Villegas, my external committee member whose consumer behavior class, feedback and statistical assistance help ed me tremendously in completing this study. I thank Dr. Petia Kostadonova who also had input in the beginning stages of this project. Thanks go to our interim department chair Dr. James Zhang and to Dr. Ariel Rodriguez both of whom assisted with statistica l advice as well as to the participants from Dr. Rodriguezs class. Thanks go to Dr. Charles Lane who provided me w ith the opportunity to survey in his class and to several graduate st udents who have assisted me in various ways, including providing me with feedback, material s, or surveys in their class: Ivana Simi Luis Suau, Chul Jeong, Seohee Chang, Chenchen Huang, Soo Hyun Jun, and Sung-Jin Kang. I thank my friends for their encouragement and for cheer ing me up. Most of all thanks go to my husband whose support has made this journey easier. I th ank my parents and sister, for believing in me and for their encouragement.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........9 LIST OF FIGURES.......................................................................................................................11 ABSTRACT...................................................................................................................................12 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................14 Statement of the Problem....................................................................................................... .18 Bulgaria....................................................................................................................... ....18 Previous Studies Relating to Bulgaria.............................................................................19 Theoretical Framework................................................................................................... 27 Theory of Reasoned Action.............................................................................................27 Theory of Planned Behavior............................................................................................32 Linking Awareness and Initial Purchase......................................................................... 33 Socio-demographic Factors, Touris t Role and Travel Experience .................................. 36 Purpose of the Study........................................................................................................... ....38 Research Questions......................................................................................................... 39 Pre-test Research Question 1...........................................................................................39 Pre-test Research Question 2...........................................................................................39 Post-test Research Question 2......................................................................................... 39 Pre-test Research Question 3...........................................................................................40 Post-test Research Question 3......................................................................................... 40 Research Question 4........................................................................................................ 40 Research Question 5........................................................................................................ 40 2 REVIEW OF LITERATIRE...................................................................................................42 Destination Familiarity........................................................................................................ ...42 Destination Awareness.......................................................................................................... .46 Definitions of Awareness................................................................................................ 47 Awareness and Familiarity..............................................................................................48 Awareness and Destination Image..................................................................................49 Awareness and Intention.................................................................................................51 Awareness and Socio-demographics...............................................................................52 Information Sources, Familiarity, Awareness, Image and Choice.................................. 53 Destination Image.............................................................................................................. .....56 Destination Image Definitions......................................................................................... 57 Image Components.......................................................................................................... 58 Image Formation............................................................................................................. 60

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6 Image and Awareness...................................................................................................... 62 Image and Sociodemographics........................................................................................ 63 Intent to Travel.......................................................................................................................65 Definition of Intention..................................................................................................... 65 Relationships of Intention, Destination Familiarity, Awareness, and Image.................. 65 Intention and Socio-demographics.................................................................................. 68 Prior Travel Experience........................................................................................................ ..69 Tourist Roles...........................................................................................................................71 Summary.................................................................................................................................78 3 METHODS.............................................................................................................................81 Data Collection.......................................................................................................................81 Instrument..................................................................................................................... ..........83 Operationalization of Variables.......................................................................................83 Participants.............................................................................................................................86 Data Analysis..........................................................................................................................87 Participants Demographics, Travel E xperiences, and Tourist Roles and Information Sources..................................................................................................... 87 Analysis of the Research Questions................................................................................ 88 Pre-test Research Question 1...........................................................................................88 Pre-test Research Question 2...........................................................................................88 Post-test Research Question 2......................................................................................... 89 Pre-test Research Question 3...........................................................................................90 Post-test Research Question 3......................................................................................... 91 Research Question 4........................................................................................................ 92 Research Question 5........................................................................................................ 92 4 RESULTS...............................................................................................................................95 Awareness...............................................................................................................................95 Pre-test Research Question 1...........................................................................................95 1a. What is the level of awareness of Bulgaria as a tour ist destination among U.S. college students?...........................................................................................95 1b. Does the level of awareness vary by previous inte rnational travel experience? ...........................................................................................................95 1c. Does the level of awareness va ry by tourist role preference? ............................ 97 1d. Does level of awareness differ by gender?.........................................................98 Familiarity.................................................................................................................... ...........99 Pre-test Research Question 2...........................................................................................99 2a. What is the level of familiarity with Bulgaria among U.S. college students?.... 99 2b. Does familiarity vary by previous internation al travel experience?................... 99 2c. Does familiarity vary by tourist role preference?............................................. 101 2d. Does familiarity differ by gender?...................................................................102 Post-test Research Question 2....................................................................................... 103 2e. Following the intervention, what is th e participants level of fam iliarity and is it different from familiarity before the intervention?...................................... 103

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7 2f. What influence does previous internat ional experience ha ve on the level of fa miliarity following the intervention?...............................................................104 2g. What influence does tourist role pref erence h ave on the level of familiarity following the intervention?.................................................................................105 2h. What influence does gender have on th e lev el of familiarity following the intervention?.......................................................................................................106 Image....................................................................................................................................107 Pre-test Research Question 3.........................................................................................107 3a. What organic and overall images of Bulgaria do U.S. college students hold? ................................................................................................................... 107 3b. Does the overall organic image vary by previous international travel experience? .........................................................................................................108 3c. Does the overall organic image vary by tourist role preference?..................... 109 3d. Does the overall organic image vary by gender?............................................. 109 Post-test Research Question 3....................................................................................... 110 3e. Following the intervention, do the induced and overall induced images held by U.S. college students vary from their organic images?................................. 110 3f. Does the induced overall image va ry by previous international travel experience? .........................................................................................................111 3g. Does the induced overall image va ry by tourist role preference? ....................112 3h. Does the induced overall image vary by gender?.............................................112 Intent.....................................................................................................................................113 Research Question 4...................................................................................................... 113 4a. What are the travel intentions of U. S. college students towards Bulgaria as a vacation d estination af ter the inte rvention?..................................................... 113 4b. Do these travel intentions to visit Bu lgaria in the next five years vary by previous international travel experience? ........................................................... 114 4c. Do these travel intentions to visit Bu lgaria vary by tourist role preference? ... 114 4d. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria vary by gender? ...........................115 Research Question 5...................................................................................................... 115 5a. Following the intervention, what is the relationship am ong overall induced image of Bulgaria among U.S. college st udents, their familiarity levels (both self-rated and knowledge-based) and intent to travel in the next five years?..... 115 Summary...............................................................................................................................116 5 DISCUSSION AND CONLCUSION.................................................................................. 130 Familiarity.................................................................................................................... .........130 Awareness.............................................................................................................................137 Image....................................................................................................................................140 Intent.....................................................................................................................................147 Implications................................................................................................................... .......155 Recommendations for Future Research................................................................................157 Limitations.................................................................................................................... ........158 Delimitations.........................................................................................................................159 Conclusions...........................................................................................................................160

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8 APPENDIX SURVEY INSTRUMENT........................................................................................................... 163 LIST OF REFERENCES.............................................................................................................173 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................186

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9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1 Participants demographic characteristics and tourist role preference (N=82) .................. 94 4-1 International and European prior travel experience and awareness of Bulgaria ............. 118 4-2 Odds ratio of an individual who was aw are of Bulgaria and w ho has traveled to Europe..............................................................................................................................118 4-3 Percentage of students who were aware of Bulgaria accord ing to tourist role preference..................................................................................................................... ....119 4-4 Self-rated familiarity level before and after intervention................................................ 119 4-5 Familiarity differences and previous tr avel experience before the in tervention.............. 119 4-6 Familiarity and previous European tr avel experience before the in tervention................ 120 4-7 One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist role on familiarity levels before intervention ......................................................................................................................120 4-8 Differences in familiarity levels before and after intervention........................................ 120 4-9 Familiarity levels and previous interna tional trav el experience after intervention.......... 121 4-10 Familiarity levels and previous European travel experience........................................... 121 4-11 One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist role on selfrated familiarity levels after intervention.................................................................................................... 121 4-12 One-way analysis of variance for eff ects of tourist role on knowledge-based fa miliarity levels after intervention..................................................................................122 4-13 Comparisons of tourist role by fam iliarity level.............................................................. 122 4-14 Destination images of Bulgaria before and after intervention ......................................... 123 4-15 Overall image of Bulgaria and previous inte rnational travel experience before intervention......................................................................................................................125 4-16 Overall image of Bulgaria and previ ous European travel experience before intervention ......................................................................................................................125 4-17 One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist role on overall im age before intervention......................................................................................................................125 4-18 Overall image differences be fore and after intervention ................................................. 126

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10 4-19. Overall image and previous internationa l travel experience after intervention................. 126 4-20 Overall image and previous European travel experience after intervention .................... 126 4-21 One-way analysis of variance for effect s of a tou rist role on overall image after intervention......................................................................................................................126 4-22 Overall image among the four t ourist roles after intervention ......................................... 127 4-23 Intent to travel after intervention..................................................................................... 127 4-24 Travel intentions and previous interna tional travel experience after intervention .......... 128 4-25 Travel intentions and previous Europ ean travel experience after intervention ............... 128 4-26 One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist role on inte nt to trave l after intervention......................................................................................................................128 4-27 Summary of regression analysis for variable pr edicting intent to visit bulgaria in the next 5 years (N = 80)....................................................................................................... 129

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11 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1-1 Factors determining a persons behavior........................................................................... 30

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12 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science DESTINATION FAMILIARITY, AWARENE SS AND IMAGE OF BULGARIA AMONG U.S. COLLEGE STUDENTS AN D THEIR INTENT TO TRAVEL By Kristina Ivanova Roberts August 2008 Chair: Heather Gibson Major: Recreation, Parks, and Tourism As travelers become more sophisticated dest inations need to beco me more creative in capturing those tourists. Images have been shown to be critical to the tourism development of destinations. Related to image constructs are destination awareness, familiarity, and intent to visit. The purpose of this study was to examine the awareness, familiarity, images of Bulgaria held by U.S. college students and their intent to travel. Bulgaria is a little known country among Americans. As a potential tourist destination it needs to create a brand to compete in the global tourism marketplace. Several variables identified in the literature that ma y affect an individuals image, familiarity, and intent to visit a destination, includ ing prior international travel experience, tourist role preferen ce, and gender were also examin ed. This investigation drew upon several theories: Theory of Reasoned Action, Theory of Planned Behavior, and marketing theories related to Awareness Interest Desire Action (AIDA) sequence. A one group pre-test post-test experimental design was used where the participants filled out a part of a questionnaire, then they were s hown a map of Bulgaria, wa tched two videos about Bulgaria and completed the post-test questionnai re. Results showed that students had minimal knowledge of Bulgaria before the intervention, even though the majority had heard of the

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13 country. Not surprisingly, some of their images were inaccurate. In addition, the variables prior international travel experience, prior travel to Europe, tourist role pref erence and gender did not influence the students awareness, level of familiarity, image and intent to travel. However, there were significant differences in both type s of familiarity self -rated and knowledge-based when responses before and after the intervention were compared. Familiarity greatly improved after the intervention. In a ddition, overall image, the five image categories (Atmosphere; Culture, History and Art; Infrastructure; Natural Resources and Environment and Tourist Attributes) and 28 out of the 36 image items si gnificantly improved afte r the intervention. A multiple regression model revealed that overall im age, and both types of familiarity were not good predictors of intent to visit Bulgaria in the next five years. Results are interpreted in line with the theoretical framework, previous resear ch, practical implications and recommendations for future research. For example, one implicatio n is that Bulgaria will benefit from building a brand emphasizing its unique attrac tions, cultural heritage, and charac teristics. Bulgaria is not a well known country, therefore, a pr omotional campaign might increas e the level of awareness of the country, especially if Bulgar ia is to become a country in individuals evoked sets.

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14 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Tourism is one of the largest industries worldwide and an important export industry for many countries. In 2006 tourism accounted for $733 billion (WTO, Tourism highlights 2007 edition). International arriva ls in 2006 totaled 846 million and have grown continuously since the 1950s, with the only notable decreases occurring in the ye ars following the September 11 attacks in 2001 (WTO, Tourism highlights 2007 edition). Tourism has become a leading industry in many countries and as such constitutes a major social and economic force in the world (Goeldner, Ritchie, & McIntosh, 1999). As tourists have become more sophisticated consumers (Moutinho, 1987) and as the availability of destinations ha s increased (Goodall, 1991), it is cri tical to understand how tourists make decisions, what motivates them to go to certain destinations a nd not others. Mountinho explained that social and economic factors influence patterns and trends in travel and tourism on a regional, national, and intern ational scale. In addition, G oodall pointed out that more destinations and a wider choice of activities are available to the consumer today. Therefore, destinations must employ strategies that will position them in the minds of the targeted consumers and differentiate them from their compet itors. Central to the success of a country in the global tourism marketplace is differenti ation. Morgan, Pritchard, and Piggott (2003) emphasized that many destinations accommodations, attractions, and services are no longer sufficient to differentiate one destination from an other and indicated that all countries claim to have unique heritage and cultural resources. As a result, the need for destinations to portray a unique identity is more critical than ever. Indeed, it has become the basis for survival within a globally competitive marketplace (p. 286).

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15 Likewise, understanding who goe s where and why as Goodall ( 1991) suggested is critical to the success of destinations. The answer to such questions involves on the one hand an examination of the product and its attributes, positioning, branding of, and images destinations want to portray and, on the other, the pro cess of tourist decisi on making for selecting destinations. The decision making process is influenced by components such as tourist perceptions, familiarity, preferences, images, pe rsonal motivations, information search behavior, and so forth (Fakeye & Crompton, 1991; Gooda ll, 1991; Milman & Pizam, 1995; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). In other words, both cognitiv e and affective processe s take place before a traveler makes a decision as to where he/she will vacation. A significant amount of research in tourism behavior has been conducted over the last 30 or so years and includes concepts such as awareness, image, preferences, information search, destination choice pro cess, intentions, satisfaction and repeat visits related to the choice process. Other fields such as psychology, sociology, econo mics, geography, and marketing have explored consumer behavior related to travel. These stud ies have shown that many factors influence the formation of destination images (Baloglu & Mc Cleary, 1999a; Beerli & Ma rtn, 2004; Gartner, 1993; Gunn, 1972; Milman & Pizam, 1995; Stern & Krakover, 1993; Walmsley & Jenkins, 1993) and the process of selecting a vacation destination (Crompton & Ankomah, 1993; Goodall, 1991, Gunn, 1997; Moutinho, 1987; Woodside & Lysons ki, 1989). According to Gunn (1997) the most important factor in the decision maki ng process is the organic image (formed from information not disseminated by the destination), which individuals hold of a destination. Gunn (1972) emphasized that perhaps childrens ge ography and history books are most important in the shaping of early images. In addition, awareness plays a si gnificant role in the decision making process. Awareness is described as wh ether an individual has heard of a product or

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16 place (Milman & Pizam, 1995). A product or service cannot be select ed if a person is not aware of its existence and in terms of travel, whether this product or se rvice can meet the needs of the traveler. Ehrenberg (1974) stated that before individuals can have an interest in a product, they need to be first aware of that brand or produc t. Familiarity is another concept discussed primarily by marketers, however, in more recent years familiarity has attracted the attention of tourism scholars. How familiar a person is wi th a destination, whether from knowledge about the destination from an actual visit, by informa tion received from family and friends or media for example, has been examined in severa l studies (Baloglu, 2001; Kim & Richardson, 2003; Milman & Pizam, 1995; Prentice, 2004; Prentice & Andersen, 2000). Therefore, familiarity with a destination is different from awareness. Fam iliarity is conceptualized as individuals having some knowledge about a destination (which mayb e detailed or very little) whereas, awareness implies whether individuals have heard of the existence of a pr oduct or a destination. Before a selection is made for a vacation de stination, an individual is involved in the complex process of decision making, which involves information search, evaluating alternatives and eliminating choices from a total opportunity set. The decision making process models have been extensively discussed in the literatu re (Crompton, 1992; Goodall, 1991, Moutinho, 1987; Um & Crompton, 1990; Woodside & Lysonksi, 1989). These models present a staged process which is eventually completed with the selecti on of one destination. The vacation choice process involves several steps, which apply to the variou s models according to Goodall (1991). First, the process starts with the question of whether to take a vacation (in which various motivations are involved). After a decision is made to travel, the individual engages in information search, which can vary in extensiveness. The evaluation of alternatives follows, after which the traveler makes a choice. Finally, the vacation experience is evaluated and in th is step feedback is

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17 provided to the beginning stages of the proce ss and can be used in future holiday decision making. This decision making process has many com ponents. Destination awareness has been shown to be a critical compone nt in tourist choice and be havior (Milman & Pizam, 1995; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989; Woodside & Sherrell, 1977). An individual forms awareness and images of places from internal or external information about the different destinations. This information, along with other factors such as pref erences, personal needs, and motivations, goals (Goodall, 1991) helps in dividuals evaluate destinations and eliminate some places from consideration. Eventually, an individual will deci de which destination to visit in a specified time frame, which forms intent to visit. This, howev er, does not represent an actual travel behavior. Travel behavior will only occur with the purchase of a travel product or service such as booking an airplane ticket or a hotel. However, inte nt may not always lead to behavior as will be discussed in chapter 2. As the literature on destination awareness, familiarity, image, and intent to travel has developed and their relationship within the decision making proce ss has been established it will be important to see how these constructs can be measured on less known destinations with tourism potential. One of those destinations is Bulgaria. Knowing the level of familiarity, awareness and images of potential travelers toward a specific des tination can assist marketers in the process of marketin g their destination. Moreover, ba sed on Goodall and Ashworths (1988) argument that destinations are aiming to create favorable images it can be concluded that knowing what influences the destination image in the minds of consumers will help marketers design targeted promotional campaigns aimed at specific markets. In addition, marketers can

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18 determine if the images they desire to portray match the existing images of potential travelers, and if a discrepancy exists, the subsequent promotional efforts can be changed. Statement of the Problem Bulgaria Bulgaria is located in the Southeastern Balkan Peninsula. Its terr itory is 110, 910 sq km (approxim ately 42,800 sq mi) with population of approximately 7.97 million. To the east the country borders the Black Sea and the length of th e coastline is 354 km. Bulgaria borders to the South Turkey and Greece, to the Southwest Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, to the West Serbia and to the North the River Danube se rves as most of the border with Romania. Human inhabitation on its territory has been dated to the Paleolithic Period (100,000-40,000 BC). Later, in the Neolithic Period agriculture developed and in the Bronze age Thracian tribes occupied its territory. The Roman Empire also reached the Balkan Peninsula and numerous ruins serve as a witness to this era. Bulgaria is one of the oldest Eur opean nations founded in 681 AD after proto-Bulgarians settle d the lands that were predomin antly occupied by Slav tribes and some Thracians. It was also one of the firs t European countries to ac cept Christianity as an official religion (started in 864 AD). The Byzantine Empire also left its mark and Bulgaria was under its rule for more th an a century during the 11th and 12th centuries. Since 1396 until 1878 Bulgaria was under the rule of the Ottoman Empi re. Bulgaria actually remained dependent on the Ottoman Empire until 1908 when it fully gained independence. Until 1944 when the communist party took over, Bulgaria was a mo narchy. During that period of independence Bulgaria developed its economy w ith initial accumulation of capita l. Due to its geopolitical location on the crossroads of major routes from the West to the Middle East and Asia and the history of the peoples occupying it Bulgaria has influences from various cultures that Bulgarians have interacted with over the millennia. As a re sult a unique rich cultural heritage and traditions

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19 were formed. Ancient Thracian customs, for exam ple are still seen in todays Bulgaria. Due to its location and abundance of na tural resources (sea, mountains) the country has developed traditional forms of tourism. Its rich cultural heritage also offers potential for tourism development and attracting cultura lly minded travelers. The comb ination of natural resources, unique culture, history, and tourist products ar e conditions that Bulgaria can emphasize in positioning itself as a destination in the global marketplace and creating a brand and an image to the outside world. Previous studies relating to Bulgaria Bulgaria is n ot well known to many people in the U.S. Therefore, it was postulated that awareness of Bulgaria as a tourist destination would be lower than some of the more traditional international vacation destinations frequented by U.S. travelers. The author is not aware of any studies that have examined the familiarity, awaren ess, image and intent to travel to Bulgaria by foreign, including US residents. In fact, Hughe s and Allen (2008) confir med that there are not many studies on images of Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. Hall with some colleagues has written extensivel y on economic development and issues related to tourism in CEE and the Balkan states (Hall, 1991, 1992, 1998, 2004; Hall and Danta, 1996). When examining the image of Turkey in relation to destination choice, Sirakaya, Snmez, and Choi (2001) emphasized that the need for image re search is especially pronounced for emerging tourist destinations in developi ng countries (p.126). In addition to Turkey, a number of studies have been completed relating to the image of other European count ries, including Finland (Haahti, 1986, Haahti & Yavas, 1983), Ireland (Prentice & A ndersen, 2000), and Norway (Prebensen, 2005, 2007). Baloglu, (2001) also examin ed the image of Turkey. Together with McCleary they discussed the images of four Me diterranean countries Turkey, Greece, Italy, and Egypt (Baloglu & McCleary, 1 999b). Baloglu and Mangaloglu (2001) also discussed the

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20 images of those four Mediterrane an countries in the minds of U. S. tour operators and travel agents. Several studies on tourism in Bulgaria have mentioned image and branding, but no indepth discussion was found by the author linking awareness, imag e and intent to travel. Balz and Mitsutake (1998) focused on the Ja panese tourist market in four Central European countriesthe Czech Republic, Slovak ia, Hungary, and Poland. Since the end of communism in 1989, Central and Eastern Europe ha ve been one of the fastest growing tourist regions in terms of international arrivals and tourist receipts. Th ey explained that the Japanese market is lucrative for two reasons: it is consid ered one of the larges t markets and Japanese tourists spend more money on average compared to other tourists. Th e importance of gaining knowledge of how Western tourists perceive the countries from East ern Europe is significant to marketers (McCleary & Whitney, 1994). According McCleary and Whitney who used a Delphi method to identify western consumer attitudes to ward travel to Centra l and Eastern European countries, Bulgaria and Romania lacked marke ting ability, among other issues. Even though the authors recognized that the Delphi method has limitations, the authors suggested it can be used to gain insight into consumer attitudes and help with tourism development and marketing. McCleary and Whitneys primary recommendations for Bulgaria and Romania were the need to create a plan for image modifi cation and strategies to develo p tourism products and improve distribution systems. Similarly, Koulov (1996) pointed out that the image of Bulgaria was affected negatively in the mid-1990s during the period of political instability and severe economic hardships. Hall (2004) also emphasized the importance of creating a brand for countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Moreover, he id entified specific obstacles, one of which is inadequate funding. In addition, thes e countries have been associated with lower quality and limited variety of products.

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21 In a more recent study Hughes and Allen (2008) us ed qualitative analysis to evaluate the images of 15 Central and East ern European (CEE) countries among 34 British visitors and nonvisitors. Due to the large number of countries in this study individual details could not be provided specifically for each country, including Bulgaria. The two authors were interested in holistic images of the countries however, they also asked participants to point out unique attractions, which they found difficult. Wine emerge d as a unique feature for Bulgaria with most often mentioned attractions were those of Prague Czech Republic such as the Wenceslas Square, Charles Bride and others. In general there was a distinction made between countries in Eastern and Western part of the region. War and political turmoil were characteris tics of the eastern part and culture of the western. The region was also described as depressed and bleak. In addition, history and heritage were often used by non-visitors to describe the CEE countries and culture was used by both groups. N on-visitors emphasized that ava ilability of more information and promotion would motivate them to visit. Tourism has been a priority industry for Bulg aria over the last 30 years and Bulgaria has become a major sun, sea, and sand destination fo r westerners and primarily visitors from the former Soviet block countries and the former US SR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). In 1990, approximately 80% of the overn ight international stays were made by travelers from other communist European countries and the Soviet Union (Bachvarov, 1997). Ca rter (1991) showed that for the period 1964 until 1987 West Germany was the primary western European market, followed by France, Great Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Italy. For example, West Germany accounted for approximately 100,000 tour ists in 1987. Winter tourism has also become popular. Bulgaria has a favorable clim ate and mountains for winter sports. Winter tourism started developing in the 1960s with severa l resorts. The cost of skiing in Bulgaria has

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22 been less than in other European areas such as the Alps. However, many more opportunities exist for tourism in Bulgaria such as cultural a nd heritage tourism, ecotourism, rural tourism, mountaineering and hiking, spa and balneoth ermal therapy tourism (Bachvarov, 1997, 2006; Hall, 1998; Petreas, 2006). These other forms of tourism in addition to the traditional seaside and winter tourism, which are highly concentrat ed seasonally and geogra phically in terms of number of visitors, overnights stays (Bachvarov, 1997) and, theref ore, expenditures can be used to spread the tourist flows more evenly thr oughout the year. Goeldner et al. (1999) emphasized the importance of cultural and educational travel (including, meetings and conventions, some arts and cultural tourism) as so-called out-of-seas on tourism, which is not dependent on weather and can be developed to boost tourism in the traditional off-season months. Cultural tourism can be of significant importanc e to destinations with rich cultural and historical heritage such as Bulgar ia and, therefore, can attract fore ign visitors. For example, even though many countries are known for their cultural at tractions, Bulgaria ca n differentiate itself by focusing on some unique aspects such as Orthodox churches and monasteries. Together with the rich folklore traditions (Bachvarov, 2006) this can serve as an attractive combination to explore the lesser known parts of the country a nd to diversify Bulgaria s tourism product. Thus, while Bulgarias intern ational tourist flow has been increasing since the 1960s, a period which marked the development of t ourism along the Black Sea coast and several mountain resorts, the tourist flow in the 1990s consisted primarily of transit or day-visitors (Paskaleva & Kaleynska, 2001). A ccording to Bachvarov (1997) in ternational visitors reached approximately 8 million in 1989 and 10 million in 1990 (which was the highest ever) after which the numbers declined in the mid-1990s. In 2006 7.5 million international travelers visited Bulgaria, of which 4.4 million came as pleasure tr avelers. However, as of 2006 only 5% of the

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23 tourists on a package vacation to the Black Sea visi ted the interior of the country where cultural and other sites abound (Bachvarov, 2006). Therefore, there is an opportunity to develop other forms of tourism in addition to the sun and ski forms already in existence. Certainly, in studies of the average cultural tourist, su ch travelers tend to be over 35 ye ars old, well educated and with a higher socio-economic status (M intel, 1993), empty nest professionals with higher incomes and as such may constitute a lucr ative market (Berroll, 1981). A ccording to Mintel the younger generation, those between ages 20-24 were likely to be cultural non-visitors. Currently, the Bulgarian State Agency for Tourism in its Strategic plan for the development of tourism in the period 20062009, which is a European Union (EU) PHARE1 project has outlined various forms of tourism including those outlined above that could be potentially developed. In a ddition, the plans SWOT analys is (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) has outlined several weaknesses rela ting to the imag e of Bulgaria: lack of awareness abroad and lack of branding, limited knowledge of the cultural and historical heritage by the markets, generally unclear or ins ufficient image of Bulgarias tourism lack of adequate information availability (Petreas, 2006, p. 10). Two opportunities related to image were outlined: promoting Bulgaria as a cultural and historical heritage tourism destination and image improvement as a newly accepted nation in the EU. The plan includes objectives directly related to improving the image and creating a Bulgaria tourism br and. Therefore, studies such as the present are needed to assess the familiarity with and knowledge of the countrys products and tourist regions, and image in the minds of potential travelers. Bachvarovs (1997) suggestion emphasizing the role of promotion is right to the point Demand can be stimulated by a promotion strategy (p. 49). Such targeted promo tion will likely increase the awareness of 1 Poland, Hungary Assistance in Research and Education Programme

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24 Bulgaria and may improve the image of the destination. Awareness and image are two factors the tourism literature has emphasized that may lead to a change in consumer behavior in such way as to stimulate travel (Goodall, 1991; Hunt, 1975; Mayo, 1973; Relph, 1976; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). Hall (2004) recommended buildi ng of a brand for each of the CEE countries, which Bulgaria will undoubtedly benefit from. Fo r example, he suggested common factors to be considered in building a brand: focus on Europe anness, build customer loyalty by encouraging repeat visitation, and incr ease tourist income. Given the gaps in the literature about Bulgaria as a tourist de stination and the needs of the industry as evidenced by the SWOT analysis, th is study has both theo retical and practical implications. First, it investigated the existing images of Bulgaria, awareness, familiarity, and intent to travel reported by U.S. college student s. In the existing literat ure little is known about the images U.S. travelers hold of Bulgaria, including college students. Although various researchers have examined the relationships am ong variables such as awareness, image and intent to travel (Millman & Pi zam, 1995), awareness, preferences, image, and intent to visit a destination (Chalip, Green, & Hill, 2003; Qi 2005; Snmez & Sirakaya, 2002; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989), and between familiarity and image (Baloglu, 2001; Kim & Pennington-Gray, 2004; Kim & Richardson, 2003; Sirakaya, Snmez & Cho, 2001), or intent to visit and variables such as prior experience, socio-demographics and travel information source exposure (Court & Lupton, 1997). The affective and cognitive dimensions of image, organic and induced image, overall image and some unaided free elicitation of image as perceived by U.S. students were examined in a pre-test post-test design with an intervention and as such this study contributes to the literature as very few researchers have fo cused on all of these image types in one study.

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25 The majority of destination image studies have been cross-sectional and only a few longitudinal studies exist. Thus, there is also a need for studies that employ experimental design, which can examine the change in variables such as awareness, familiarity, image, and intent over time. Kim and Richardson (2003) utilized an expe rimental design to exam ine the influence of a motion picture portraying a destination (Vienna) on the level of familiarity with the destination, and images and interest in visiti ng it. They found that of the f our affective image variables one was significantly different when results obtaine d from the experimental (those who viewed a movie portraying Vienna) and control group (t hose who did not watch the movie) were compared. In terms of the cognitive image, th ere were statistically si gnificant differences among three image factors. When the researchers compar ed the interest in visiting the destination of those who saw the movie and those who did not, they found that those who viewed the movie had a higher interest in visiti ng Vienna. The authors also co mpared the perceived degree of familiarity between the two groups. No significa nt differences were found between the control and the experimental groups. However, more re search incorporating e xperimental designs is needed and in particular when examining various complex constructs such as familiarity, image, and intent to travel. As the importance of information sources has been emphasized in the image formation and destination choice proces s, experimental design may lead to improved understanding of the relationships between and among variables. Th is supports Baloglu (2001) who suggested that studies using experimental design can be useful in exploring the relationship between destination familiarity and image. He also suggested that future research could use a greater variety of information sources for informational familiarity validation. Experimental design such as the design of the present investigati on could be of value in the st udy of destination awareness,

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26 familiarity, image and intent and the relationshi ps between them especi ally for a lesser known country. Such a design may be able to account for the change in the image, awareness, and intent variables due to the influen ce of a stimulus. In reference to this study it was expected that the stimulus would bring about change in the ov erall image of Bulgaria thereby demonstrating the role of targeted information in th e formation of an induced image. There are also several practical implications from this study. First, the findings may aid destination marketers by helping them creat e more effective promotional and marketing programs for enhancing the tourism destinati on images. Creating a promotional strategy, improving the image and increasing awareness of Bulgaria and knowledge of its tourist products abroad as outlined by the SWOT analysis in the BSAT Strategic plan is of high priority if Bulgaria is to compete in the international tour ism marketplace. This study may help the BSAT and other promotional agencies by presenting the existing images so that marketers could determine whether they match the image the agen cy wants to evoke. Currently, the BSAT has included the North American, specifically the U.S. ma rket as one of the mark ets of interest in its strategic plan. It is the belief of this author th at further studies need to be implemented in the international markets and in Bulgaria surveying fo reign visitors to help determine what markets should be targeted, to help in th e development of the tourist products their quality, and to help in the development of promotional campaigns for th e respective markets. Another implication lies in the fact that the U.S. market is an attract ive market because of higher propensity of some tourists to spend more while traveling (Ryan, 1995). Also, with the potential development of cultural tourism, Bulgaria can be an attractive de stination to the growing cultural tourism market in the U.S. and worldwide.

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27 Theoretical Framework The theoretical fram ework for this study is ba sed on three main theories: the theory of reasoned action (TRA) by Fishbein (1967), Fishbe in and Ajzen (1980), the theory of planned behavior (TPB) (Ajzen, 1985, 1987; Ajzen & Driver, 1992) and theories such as the Awareness Trial Reinforcement (ATR) and Awareness Inte rest Desire Action (AIDA) linking several concepts awareness of the produc t, creating interest in the pr oduct, intent, trial and repeat purchase (Ehrenberg, 1974; Lavi dge & Steiner, 1961; Rogers, 1962; Strong, 1925) in terms of cognitive, affective and behavior dimensions. Milman and Pizam (1995) linked the ATR theory in their study of familiarity, awareness, image, and intent to visit Central Florida as a destination. Theory of Reasoned Action Hum an behavior is extremely complex and many variables in fluence individual behavior. The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) first introduced by Fishbein (1967) and further developed by Ajzen and Fishbein (1980) focuse d on explaining human behavior. The underlying concept is that human beings are rational and they utilize the information available to them in a rational way. The theorys significance is that it links the concepts of beliefs, attitudes, intentions and a specific behavi or, including travel. Attitudes, according to the authors stem from a persons beliefs. Hoyer and MacInnis (2 007) described attitudes as something that is learned. In addition, attitudes can be fairly persistent over ti me. Ajzen and Fishbein (1980), however, recognizing they had not discussed external variables such as socio-demographics, personality characteristics, and certain human ne eds, pointed out that so me external variables may or may not influe nce behavior. These external variables may be the factors that Mayo and Jarvis (1981) point to. Mayo and Jarvis posited that individuals generally try to match their knowledge, feelings and subsequently their behavior. However, people do not always behave consistently. Other factors

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28 such as curiosity and impulsiveness can interfere and direct individuals to behave in ways not so consistent with their attitudes. The external va riables are significant to the extent that they influence the determinants of the behavior desc ribed in the theory: underlying beliefs, attitudes and subjective norms (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). People, generally tend to engage in a behavior when they feel positive toward that behavior and wh en they perceive that others approve of that behavior. According to TRA a persons behavi or can be explained by examining on the one hand their underlying beliefs that a specific beha vior will provide certain outcomes and their evaluations of those outcomes. This forms the attitude towards the behavior. In other words, this attitude is represented by positive or negative f eelings toward engaging in that specific behavior. On the other hand, the beliefs of pe ople who are significant to that person, who may approve or disapprove of that behavior and the persons motivation to comply with his/her reference group form the subjective norm. Therefor e, one of the main intention determinants is personal in nature (the attitude of the person toward the beha vior) and the other is social (subjective norm). The relationshi ps between the components are presented in Figure 1-1. In addition, for some individuals and groups the nor mative component may have a greater influence than the attitudinal component on intentions and behaviors and vice versa. This combination of the two may vary from one behavior to anothe r (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980; Fishbein & Manfredo, 1992). The determinants of intention are linked to the specific behavior. According to this model, first a specific behavior needs to be iden tified. The behavior is thought of in terms of four components: action (specific behavioral ca tegory), target (object, destination), context (situation) and time. However, all elements: intention, attitude and norm must align with the behavior in terms of the four components (Fishbein & Manfredo, 1992). The theory provides researchers in the fields of sociology, psychology, consumer be havior, marketing, and tourism

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29 with a causal model of the relationships between determinants of behavioral intentions and specific behaviors. Fishbein and Manfredo also emphasized that in order to change a behavior one needs to change first the underlying cogniti ve organization, i.e. the underlying beliefs, attitudes, and norms. In relation to marketing communications, in cluding tourism, interventions and programs do not achieve the desired results because these communications do not address specific beliefs. According to Fishbein and Manfredo effective communications and programs should focus on counteracting a specific belief. Fo r example, if individuals believe that a visit to Bulgaria will not lead to an increase in the individuals education from exposure to the local culture a promotional campaign can focus on emphasizing the opportunities for learning and for increasing ones education and personal enrichment through a visit. Theref ore, this theory has practical applications and is rele vant to the study of preferences for, and perceptions of, tourist destinations. Knowing the beliefs, attitudes and intentions can aid marketers in designing more effective marketing campaigns for their destinations. Mayo and Jarvis (1981) discussed in detail the role of attitudes in travel behavior. Th ey presented attitudes as being influenced by perception, learning, personality, an d motivation. In addition, they posited that attitudes reveal how an individual may behave in a situation. Based upon the Theory of Reasoned Action mark eters can use different strategies to change the attitudes and beliefs of consumers. According to Ma yo and Jarvis (1981) the stronger a persons values, the stronger hi s/her attitudes and, therefore, their impact on behavior is greater. In such situations attitudes may be difficult to change.

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30 Figure 1-1. Factors determ ining a persons behavior2 2 From Introduction Understanding Attitudes and Predicting Social Behavior by M. Fishbein and. I. Ajzen, 1980, p. 8 The persons beliefs that specific individuals or groups think he should or should not perform the behavior and his/her motivation to comply with the specific referents Attitude toward the behavior Relative importance of attitudinal and normative considerations Subjective norm Intention Behavior Note: Arrows indicate the direction of influence. The persons beliefs that the behavior leads to certain outcomes and his/her evaluations of these outcomes

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31 Several attitude characteristics may indicate how easy or difficult it may be to change those attitudes: intensity of attitudes, stability of attitudes, centrality of attitudes (how strong the attitudes are rooted in ones values), and soci al anchoring of attitudes (anchoring of attitudes within groups the individual is part of). Social anchoring is related to the socially-based subjective norms. Hoyer and MacInnis (2007) disc ussed several strategies to change attitudes. For example, beliefs3 may be changed relating to the c onsequences of buying a service or product. In other words, beliefs may be w eakened when an individual perceives negative consequences and beliefs may be strengthened to emphasize positive outcomes. Another strategy is to change the individua ls evaluations of the consequences. A third strategy might be to present a new belief. For example, emphasi zing or adding a new attribute that leads to positive beliefs will make the individuals attitude more positive. Finally, normative beliefs may be targeted and changed to bring a possible attitude and behavior change. This strategys success will vary in different cultures, some of which put greater emphasis on the individual and some on group values. The Theory of Reasoned Action provides a useful framework for understanding behavior and intentions (including leisure-related, Young & Kent, 1985) from an individuals beliefs, attitudes and subjective norms. This theory provides a measure with good predictive power of intentions and behaviors from attitudes and norms, however, other external variables influence human behavior and may lower this predictive po wer. In addition, Fishbein and Ajzen (1980) pointed out that TRA may not apply in a satisfact ory way to predicting in tentions and consumer choice from brand attitudes (relati ng to the target) because of va riations in certain components such as context, action, and time. 3 A belief is considered as a type of attit ude according to Mayo and Jarvis (1981).

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32 Theory of Planned Behavior As was m entioned earlier, there are other factors that come into play and influence intent and behavior in addition to attitudes and social norms. The theory of planned behavior (TPB) (Ajzen 1985, 1987) can be thought of as extension to TRA and has been used in the prediction of leisure behavior (Ajzen & Driver, 1992). The theory of reasoned action applies in situations where the individual can exercise volitional control. However, when volitional control may not be enough, perceived behavioral control may improve predictions of inten tion and behavior. The TPB in addition to attitudes toward the behavior and subjective norms adds perceived behavioral control, which reflects the perceived hardship or ease in performing the specified behavior, which in turn is influenced by past experiences and possible constraints (obstacles). Actual control over the behavior is determined by the av ailability of resources and factors such as (money, time, and others). However, it is thought that perceived control is more important than actual control. Ajzen and Driver (1992) emphasized that perceived control may be of little value in predicting intent and behavior in situations when the indivi dual has limited information about the behavior or when there is a change in th e available resources. The theory of planned behavior postulates that attitude and subjective norms do not influence directly behavior. Instead, they influence behavior through the intervening variables of intention and perceptions of behavioral control. Ajzen and Drivers st udy of leisure behavior understood through the TPB confirmed this. The authors employed hierarchical regression analysis involving three steps for the prediction of behavior and two steps for the prediction of intentions. Results showed that attitude towards specified leisure activities di d not significantly predic t behavior. However, perceived behavioral control signi ficantly influenced the prediction of intentions related to the studied leisure activities.

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33 The only difference between the theory of pla nned behavior and the theory of reasoned action is the addition of perceive d behavioral control to the TPB, which reflects the influence of external factors on intention and behavior. Resu lts from Ajzen and Driver (1992) showed that this variable can improve the pr ediction of intent and behavior in certain situ ations, including leisure. However, more studies are needed that deal with such predictio ns and especially with travel, which can be of value to marketers. Linking Awareness and Initial Purchase Several m odels from advertising may be examined in terms of a sequential process of creating awareness, generating interest, resulting in a trial, and ultimately in repeat purchases. One of the earliest models credited to E. St. Elmo Lewis in 1898 and discussed by Strong (1925) stated Attract attention, maintain interest, create desire (p. 76). According to Strong, E. St. Elmo Lewis added get acti on later to form the we ll-known AIDA model Awareness Interest Desire Action. The sequential pattern is evident. Creating aw areness starts the process (Ehrenberg, 1974). Awareness in marketing has been defined as top-of-mind awareness (ToMA), referring to a brand or product that fi rst comes to mind measur ed by unaided recall. Kotler (1994), however combined an awareness and familiarity scale: never heard of, only heard of, know a little bit, know a fair amount, know very well. In their study Milman and Pizam (1995) operationalized awar eness of Central Florida as a destination by asking the participants whether they recognize d the name of the destination of have heard of it. Awareness is a necessary element before a person build s a desire and eventual ly buys the product. Therefore, the role of advert ising, to which other types of marketing communications may be added, is two-fold. First, it provides necessary information to the consumer about the product. Second, it is persuasive in nature i.e. it is geared towards entic ing people to buy a product they have never used before.

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34 Ehrenberg also emphasized sometimes an individual may become familiar with a brand only after a purchase. This is probably the ca se for low cost everyday products and may not apply to tourism. According to the AIDA theory, customers cannot desire and purchase something they do not know about and are not aware of. At the beginning of the 20th century Sheldon (1911) added a fifth term secure satisf action. The persuasive hierarchy models that later developed from the AIDA model were presented by Kotler (1994, p. 602) as Response Hierarchy Models. The hierarch y-of-effects model is attributed to Lavidge and Steiner (1961), innovation-adoption model by Rogers (1962), and the communications model developed from various sources were also a part of Kotlers ( 1994) model. Lavidge and Steiner introduced a sequential six-step model: Awareness Knowledge Liking Preference Conviction Purchase. The process starts with the cogniti ve components, then goes through the affective stage and finally the conative (behavioral). The innovation-adoption model by Rogers (1962) has five similar stages: Awareness Interest Evaluation Trial Adoption. This model was developed for adoption of innovations (products or services). For high elaboration products and services such as travel, where risk is high, strongly held (higher orde r) beliefs are formed. However, these beliefs are not based exclusively on advertising. Other fact ors such as word of mouth, news, newspaper or magazine articles and prior experience form those beliefs. This is consistent with the so called persuasive hierarchy (CA) models (Vakratsas & Ambler, 1999). C is cognition and referred to the thinking co mponent of ones response and A refers to affect, i.e. feeling component. This group of models is called persuasive because advertising not only informs but persuades in order to increase sales. The sequence is Cognition Affect Behavior (CA). Lavidge a nd Steiners (1961) and Rogers (1962) models are persuasive hierarchy models, which are also hierarchy-of-effects models. These models are called

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35 hierarchy of effects models because there is a sequential progression. The hierarchy sets out the preconditions that are nece ssary to occur first. Ehrenberg (1974) is credited with cr iticizing the conventional Awareness Attitudes Behavior models such as those described above. He pointed to instan ces when an opposite link is applicable and behavior may affect attitudes. For example, greater awareness may result after a purchase. In addition, a behavi or may lead to additional search for information and subsequent attitude change. In the use of everyday products this may be the case. However, in purchasing travel, which is relatively risky and expensive, the traditional model ma y be more applicable, where extensive information search, knowledge is acquired, and attitude formation occur before the behavior. Ehrenberg suggested in his hi erarchy-of-effects model the following: Awareness Trial Reinforcement. This is consistent with hi s position in that after awareness an initial purchase is made, which is influen ced by various factors. A repeat purchase may occur, which is ultimately what a marketer is hoping for. He argued The critical factor is experience of the brand and no other influences seem to be needed (p. 31). According to this model advertising has a particular role at each stage, which is similar to Fakeye and Cr omptons (1991) proposition that informative promotion would be best for non-v isitors, persuasive advertising is to target first-time visitors, and finally, reminding promotion is for repeat visitors. Ehrenbergs model belongs to the group of low-involvement hierarchy models (CEA) which are based on the cognition experience affect sequence. According to Vakratsas and Ambler (1999) empirical studies show that experi ence has greater effect on beliefs, attitudes, and behavior than advertising. This is important in terms of travel. Personal experience, which some have defined as familiarity, or one dimension of familiarity (Baloglu, 2001; Milman & Pizam,

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36 1995; Prentice, 2004), has been shown to be a ke y element influencing destination image and therefore, may have a greater effect on belie fs, attitudes, intentions and behavior. In addition to intention, awareness and other cognitive and affective processes that occur during travel, the current study examined the influence of several other factors on familiarity, awareness, image, and intent to travel to a de stination are discussed in the section to follow. Socio-demographic Factors, Tourist Role and Travel Experience Central to d estination decisi on-making models and subseque nt tourist behavior are the individuals characteristics such as socio-de mographics, psychological factors, preferences, attitudes, motivation, needs, information sear ch, destination attributes, awareness, and destination images (Crompton, 1979a; Goodr ich, 1978; Gartner, 1993; Gunn, 1997; Mayo & Jarvis, 1981; Moutinho, 1987; Pearce, 1982b; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). Therefore, a review of key scholarly works relating to tourist behavior intent and awareness is necessary to begin to understand the forces at play in the destinati on decision making process. In addition, several socio-demographic factors have been shown to in fluence travel behavior and in turn tourists preference for certain tourist roles they assume while traveling. A tourist role is a collection of behaviors and preferences an individual may have while traveling. Since the 1970s severa l tourist role typologies have been developed and preference for the different types of roles has been examined in relation to socio-demographics, previous travel experiences, motivations, and perception of risk among others (Cohen, 1972; Lepp & Gibson, 2003, Pearce, 1985; Smith, 1977, Yiannakis & Gibson, 1992). For example, studies by several authors (Gibson, 1989; Pearce, 1982b, 1985; Yi annakis & Gibson, 1988) have shown the significance of age (life stage), gender, and level of education on preference for certain tourist roles. Gibson and Yiannakis, (2002), also found that life stage among other variables is central to the tourist role preference of individuals. According to Gibson and Yiannakis tourist role

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37 preference is influenced by a number of processes and institutions as they relate to life stage, marriage, presence of children, as well as indi viduals psychological needs. The authors suggested that tourist role preference is a func tion of the psychological needs individuals have, which in turn are a function of their life stage. Levinsons work (Levinson et al., 1978; Levi nson, 1996) has been used in leisure and tourism studies to explain behavior from the persp ective of an individuals life stage. According to Levinsons theory in genera l young adults are more likely to be free from family obligations as many are single and have the freedom to travel He suggested that exploration is a common characteristic in early adulthood and that this in turn may surf ace in the travel behavior of young adults. Such travelers are expected to have a drive for exploration, adventure, experimentation and at the same time not ready to choose one option (Gibson & Yiannakis, 2002). Such behaviors may be more likely to be exhibited by explorers and drifters according to Cohens (1972) tourist role typology. Gibson and Yianna kis also suggested th at there are gender differences in tourist role preference which they explain are due to the different expectations accorded to men and women by society. The supposition that tourist roles are relate d to familiarity, awareness and destination image is based on Cohens (1972) and Yiannakis and Gibsons (1992) ideas that underlying each of the tourist roles are dimensions related to the degree of familiarity or strangeness a tourist prefers in a destination or the level of stimulation or tranquil ity he/she is seeking. Thus, conceivably destinations perceived as unfamiliar or too stimulating to some tourists might be evaluated as either attractive or be re jected as unsuitable for their vacations. Studies that have focused on levels of familiarity, awareness, image, and intent to travel also have explored the influe nce of socio-demographic variab les on these factors (Beerli &

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38 Martn, 2004; Javalgi, Thomas, and Rao, 1992; Pike, 2002). Moreover, one might hypothesize based on Baloglus (2001) results that the respondents who were well educated and older also had international travel experience, higher leve ls of knowledge, familiarity and awareness of destinations and as a result may have been more inclined to visit new destinations. The interrelationships among variables such as in dividual preferences, needs, goals, sociodemographics, upbringing, prior travel experience may shape the tourist role preferences of individuals as well as their knowledge, familiarit y, awareness and future travel intentions. The current study examined the awareness, familia rity, images, and intent to travel to the lesser known country of Bulgaria by using several theories as the theoretical framework: theory of reasoned action, theory of pl anned behavior and through the ma rketing models of Awareness Interest Desire Action and Awareness Tr ial Reinforcement and how these variables were influenced by prior travel experience, preference for tour ist roles and gender. Purpose of the Study The purpose of the study was to examine the level of familiarity with and knowledge about Bulgaria, awareness, destination image, and intent to travel to Bulgaria among U.S. college students, who have never visite d the country. Specifically, a pr e-post test design was used to assess the level of knowledge, familiarity, awaren ess and organic images that U.S. college students have of Bulgaria as a tourist destination and their interest in traveling to Bulgaria. Following an intervention in the form of an informational media presentation about Bulgaria, the level of familiarity, awareness, induced images and intent to travel were assessed again. Variables found in the literature to influence familiarity, awareness, destination image, and intent to travel such as previous international travel experience, tourist role preference, and gender were examined. Education level in this study wa s held constant as the participants were all undergraduate students enrolled at the same unive rsity. In addition, their ages and income level

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39 were similar. Such variables may be included in further research with a more diverse sample across groups with various age, income, and education levels, for example. Research Questions This study sought to answer the following research questions. Pre-test Research Question 1 1a. W hat is the level of awaren ess of Bulgaria as a tourist destination among U.S. college students? 1b. Does the level of awareness vary by previous international travel experience? 1c. Does the level of awareness vary by tourist ro le preference? 1d. Does the level of awareness differ by gender? Pre-test Research Question 2 2a. W hat is the level of familiarity w ith Bulgaria among U.S. college students? 2b. Does familiarity vary by previous international tr avel experience? 2c. Does familiarity vary by tourist role preference? 2d. Does familiarity vary by gender? Post-test Research Question 2 2e. Followin g the intervention, what is the pa rticipants level of fa miliarity and is it different from familiarity before the intervention? 2f. What influence does previous international experience have on the level of familiarity following the intervention? 2g. What influence does tourist role preferen ce have on the level of familiarity following the intervention? 2h. What influence does gender have on the leve l of familiarity following the intervention?

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40 Pre-test Research Question 3 3a. W hat organic and overall images of Bulgaria do U.S. college students hold? 3b. Does the overall organic image vary by previous international travel experience? 3c. Does the overall organic image vary by tourist role preference? 3d. Does the overall organic image vary by gender? Post-test Research Question 3 3e. Following the intervention, do the induced and overall induced im ages held by U.S. college students vary from their organic images? 3f. Does the induced overall image vary by previous international travel experience? 3g. Does the induced overall image vary by tourist role preference? 3h. Does the induced overall image vary by gender? Research Question 4 4a. W hat are the travel intentions of U.S. college students towards Bulgaria as a vacation destination after the intervention? 4b. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria in the next five ye ars vary by previous international travel experience? 4c. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria in the next five year s vary by tourist role preference? 4d. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria in the next five y ears vary by gender? Research Question 5 5a. Following the intervention, what is the relationship am ong overall induced image of Bulgaria among U.S. college students, their fa miliarity level (both se lf-rated and knowledgebased) and intent to travel in the next five years?

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41 The variables in the above research questions were discussed in detail in the literature review that follows and how they relate to the theoretical basis of the present study. Definitions of terms will be offered also.

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42 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATIRE This chapter is divided into six sections: destination familiarity, destination awareness, destination image, intention to travel, prior travel experience and tourist roles. First, familiarity is discussed in terms of definitions and relations hips with the other related variables. Next, destination awareness is examined in terms of its definitions, the relationship between awareness and familiarity, image, and travel intention. In addition, the influence of socio-demographics is discussed. The third part focuses on destinati on image, its definitions, how it is related to awareness, how it is formed, its components an d how destination image is related to sociodemographics. The fourth section focuses on inten tion to travel, its definition, how it is related to awareness, familiarity, and image and lastly, how it is related to socio-demographics. The fifth section focuses on the previous travel experience. The last section discuses tourist roles. Destination Familiarity First, a definition of the term destination is necessary. Destin ation has been defined by Holloway (1986, p.64) as a place to which tourists go, in which they may stay overnight, and is the primary object of their visit. Buhalis (2000) e xplained that a destinatio n can be thought of as a place that is comprised of products, services, and experiences provided locally. Another term that needs definition is tourist and the Bulgaria n National Statistical Institute has adopted the definition recommended by the World Tourism Orga nization (WTO) and defines an international tourist as any person who trav els to a country other than his/ her permanent residence, for a period not greater than 1 year and whose main purpose is not doing any activity for payment. (National Statistic al Institute, n.d.) Familiarity is a concept widely used in the ma rketing and consumer behavior literature. It is often associated with produc ts and brands consumers use daily. Therefore, research has

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43 focused on the consumers familiarity with either more expensive and durable goods or those of everyday life. The focus of this study is to an alyze the familiarity construct as it relates to tourists and destinations, namely Bulgaria. Fami liarity in this study is discussed as a concept used in terms of brand familiarity and produc t familiarity and how it applies to tourist destinations. In the field of marketing, Johnson and Russo (1984) conceptualized and operationalized familiarity as knowledge but did not include expe rience gained from using a product. Baker, Hutchinson, Moore, and Nedungadi (1986) described familiarity as unidimensional and defined it as directly related to the amount of time that has been spent processing information about the brand, regardless of the type or content of the processing th at was involved (p. 637). In other words, familiarity is presented as a form of knowledge about the product according to the authors who in essence agree with Johnson a nd Russos definition. Familiarity may be associated with low or high product involvement according to Baker et al. Baker and his colleagues presented two ways in which brand fa miliarity influenced choice and which involve the evoked set. The concept of an evoked set was first developed by Howard and Sheth (1969) and it can be defined as products a consumer is c onsidering for his/her next purchase. Baker et al. first posited that the more one is familiar with a product, the greater the likelihood this product will be included in the evoked set. S econd, as a result familiarity contributes to preference. Baker and his colleagues also propos ed that general product familiarity has less of an influence in placing a product in the evoked set compared to specific s ituations. In terms of tourism, this would mean that a particular destination has a better chance of being included in the evoked set if it is thought to meet the travelers needs at that moment (e.g. choosing a family summer vacation destination where mo m and dad can relax).

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44 Similar to Baker et al., Alba and Hutchins on (1987) discussed product familiarity and referred to it as part of knowledge. They explai ned that prior knowledge consists of familiarity and expertise. Thus they defined product familia rity as a number of product-related experiences, which include exposure to advertising, informati on search, choice, and pr oduct use. Therefore, Alba and Hutchinson described the construct as multidimensional in contrast to some earlier studies by Johnson and Russo (1984) and Baker et al. (1986), which considered familiarity as unidimensional. Therefore, a consumer learns and becomes more familiar with a product as he/she uses the product or is exposed to advertising and word-of-mouth. Goodrich (1978), for example, emphasized the im portance of familiarity with a product in the preference and choice processes in several fields including psychol ogy, sociology, marketing, and in terms of tourist destina tions. Knowledge about a product or destination has an important influence on the individuals pr eference for that product. Goodri ch continued to explain that The more favorable the perception, the greate r the likelihood of choice from among similar alternatives (p.8). In the tourism field severa l studies have operationalized familiarity as knowledge about the destination obtained from vi siting it (i.e. prior travel) (Chon, 1991; Fakeye & Crompton, 1991; Milman & Pizam, 1995; Phelps, 1986) In other studies familiarity was seen as including both previous visi ts to the destination and know ledge about it (Tideswell & Faulkner, 1999). In contrast to some earlier studies, Bal oglu (2001) suggested that familiarity is a multidimentional construct. The author argued th at there is another component to familiarity, which has to do with the amount of informa tion and knowledge an individual has about the destination in absence of visitation. Therefore, he operationalized familiar ity as two-dimensional consisting of the amount of info rmation a traveler has about a dest ination and previous visits to

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45 the destination. He also discussed another way of operationalizing familiarity through individuals self-reporting their level of familiarity with a destination; however, he criticized the subjectivity of this measurement. Prentice (2004) agreed that familiarity is more than visiting a destination. Working from Baloglus two type s he proposed five types of familiarity: 1) informational (information used); 2) experiential (result of visit to the destination); 3) proximate (associated with national stereotypes and country of residence); 4) self-described (self-rated is redefined as self-described); and 5) educational (formed as a result of formal or informal learning about the destination). Therefore, both Baloglu (2001) and Prentice (2004) suggested familiarity should be examined in studies as a multidimensional construct. Familiarity has also been shown in various studies to play a role in formi ng positive perceptions/images of a destination and foster more accurate information about destin ation attributes (Ahmed, 1996; Fridgen, 1984. Likewise, Kim and Pennington-Gr ay (2004) operationalized familiarity as a multidimensional construct consisting of two com ponents: knowledge and prior expe rience (visitation). They examined the relationship between familiarity and image held by non-visitors from Florida towards South Korea. Their results suggested that those who were more familiar with South Korea had more positive images of the country based on the four identified image domains: diverse activities and attractio ns; communication and accommodation; sports and events; and accessibility. Prior Knowledge: Prior knowledge is also a concep t discussed in the context of familiarity. Baker et al. (1986) considered (prior) knowledge the most basic form of familiarity, that is, familiarity is expressed as knowledge about the product. In addition, the authors hypothesized that brands individu als recognize on the shelf in a store (stimulus influence) or

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46 brands recalled from memory (choice based on memo ry) may be brands that have the potential to become a part of the evoked set. In terms of tourism related choices, the le vel of information about a destination is expressed through the prior knowledge an indivi dual has about it and may include internal information (i.e. information accessed from memo ry) or external information (gathered from a number of sources) (Crotts, 1999). More recently, Kerstetter a nd Cho (2004) reported how prior knowledge, credibility of sources, and information search are related. Th e authors observed that prior knowledge is an ambiguous concept. Th us, they operationalized prior knowledge as consisting of familiarity, expertise and past experi ence. However, their analysis revealed that prior knowledge should be treated as a two-dimens ional construct consisti ng of past experience and familiarity/expertise. Their results show ed a high correlation between familiarity and expertise; therefore, they combined them into one dimension. Thus, is appears that familiarity and prior knowledge are defined in different ways, and frequently they are used to define each other. Some scholars, mainly those in the marketing field, consider familiarity a component of prio r knowledge (Alba & Hutchinson, 1987; Baker et al., 1986). Whereas, scholars in th e tourism field consider prior knowledge to be a component of familiarity (Baloglu, 2001; Kim & PenningtonGray, 2003; Prentice, 2004). In this study familiarity is conceptualized as how well a pers on considers him/herself to be familiar with a destination, in this case Bulgaria. Prior knowledg e is conceptualized as information individuals have about Bulgaria. Destination Awareness Central to the travel and tourism industry ha s been the question of why do people go to certain destinations and not othe rs? These and other questions have been the focus of not only tourism research but also of environmental psychology, and geography among others. As was

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47 already discussed, familiarity is an important component in choosing a vacation destination. Awareness is closely related to familiarity. Awa reness is one of those components that helps researchers understand the processes of deci sion making, information search and future intentions. Definitions of Awareness Even though familiarity and awareness are closely related constructs, they are not the same. Top-of-mind awareness is a term commonly used in the consumer behavior literature. This is referred to as the bra nd or product that first comes to mind measured by unaided recall. Wilsons (1981) study confirmed that the higher a product is in the consumers mind (ToMA measured by unaided recall), the higher the purc hase intention and the higher the last reported purchase of the brand. According to Woodside and Wilson (1985) the higher the position of a product in the consumers mind, the higher the pr oduct preference. In other words, ToMA is related positively to bran d preference. By using this line of thinking, Woodside and Lysonski (1989) created a model of destination choice an d awareness where ToMA was one of its major components. They defined awareness as una ided recall from long-term memory and aided recognitions (p.8). In anothe r tourism based study, Milman and Pizam (1995) operationalized awareness as whether an individual had heard of or recognized a destination by name. Similarly, Pike (2002) referred to ToMA in a tourism contex t as the destination th at first comes to mind when an individual is considering taking a trip. Taking a lead from Milman and Pizam in this study awareness was defined as whether an in dividual had heard of the destination. In the destination choice pro cess one of the groups or sets of destinations that are considered by a traveler is the awareness set. This set is made up of all destinations that come to the mind of a potential tourist when he/she thinks of vacatio n travel (Crotts, 1999). The awareness set can be quite large. It consists of three subcategories the evoked, inept and inert

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48 sets (Narayana & Markin, 1975; Um & Crompt on, 1990; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). An evoked set consists of all destinations which an individual can potentially choose to visit (Howard & Sheth, 1969; Um & Crompton, 1990). An inept set consists of the rejected destinations that an individual will not visit because he/she has negative information about them or has had unpleasant experiences (Narayana & Mark in (1975). The places in the inert set are those destinations about which an individual has neither positi ve nor negative information; therefore, he/she needs more information to evaluate these destinations further. Motivations, also referred to as motives, are considered important psycho-social needs that initiate the process of wanting to take a vacation. Therefore, a br and is selected on the basis of how well it can meet that need (Howard & Sh eth, 1969). However, even though motives are present, an individual needs to have information as to what opportunities are available, or in other words he/she needs to be aware of those opportunities (Mathieson & Wall, 1982). Availability of information and credibility of the source are critical to creating awareness of destinations in general and making travelers aware of the facilities and services in those destinations according to the two authors. The importance of information sources; therefore, is discussed further. Awareness and Familiarity As can be se en from the previous discussion about familiarity, prior knowledge, and awareness, the marketing literature often uses on e concept to define the other. Thus, a close relationship among those concepts is inevitable. However, caution needs to be exercised when defining and using these concepts as operati onal definitions often vary among studies. Familiarity with destinations is related to aw areness and destination image, and therefore, influences the destination choice process. Some travelers are familiar with a destination more than others because they have accumulated more information about that destination. Familiarity

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49 may include previous travel to that destinati on, but also knowledge about it in the absence of a visit. Awareness on the other hand, has been operat ionalized as whether an individual has heard of the destination and as the de stination that first comes to mi nd when he/she is considering potential vacation destinations (M ilman & Pizam, 1995; Pike, 2002). Ahmeds (1991) study showed that those who had visited Utah had a more positive overall image about the state compared to non-visitors. In their Ce ntral Florida study, Milman and Pizam (1995) found that those who were familiar w ith (visited previously) the destination had a higher interest in visiting it, and were more likely to visit it (int ent) in the next two years than those who were aware (but never visited), and those who were not aware (have not heard of it). Respondents who were aware did not have a greater interest or likelihood of visiting that destination. In addition, according to Milman a nd Pizam those who were familiar with, i.e. had visited Central Florida had more positive images of that destination compared to those who were aware (without visiting). In addition, thos e who were familiar had a greater geographical accuracy and more knowledge about the attractions a nd about the destination in general. The results from Baloglus ( 2001) study showed that those individuals who had higher levels of familiarity had a more positive image of Turkey on most dimensions, including overall image. The existence of a strong positive relationship between fa miliarity level and perceptions/image has been supported in the lit erature over the years (Milman & Pizam, 1995; Kim & Pennington-Gray, 2004). Therefore, one can expect as a result that highe r levels of awareness and familiarity with a destination may l ead to more positive images of a destination. Awareness and Destination Image An i mportant variable to unders tanding destination image is awareness. Gartner (1993) who evaluated Goodalls (1991) model of destin ation choice process st ated that awareness implies that an image of the de stination exists in the mind(s) of the decision makers (p.192-

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50 193). Gunn (1972) suggested that potential travelers w ho are aware of (have heard of but have not visited) a destination may have formed im ages of that place from information received through movies, news reports, and books. He descri bed this perception as the organic image. Fakeye and Crompton (1991) proposed that images of non-visitors, first-time visitors, and repeat visitors change from organic to induced images and finally to complex images. They explained that a potential visitor has orga nic images of a number of destin ations in his/her awareness set that he/she has not visited. The authors suggest ed that informative promotion will be more effective at this stage. Informative communica tions are used to make travelers aware of a destination and its variou s facilities, attractions, and others. Once he/she has decided to travel the individual will engage in an active inform ation search and an induced image will be formed at this stage. Persuasive information is more a ppropriate at this stage wi th a goal to persuade the consumer to buy. A complex image is formed after a visit to the de stination and reminding promotion is used to keep the destination at the forefront of the consumers mind to encourage repeat visits. More recently, Beerli and Martn (2004) found that a particular type of induced source (travel agency staff) had a significant influence on one cognitive image dimension (sun and sand) for Lanzarote (The Canary Islands, Spain). Information sources that may take the form of induced sources are important image formation ag ents (Gartner, 1993). Information sources and communications related to destinatio ns play an important role in the travel decision process, and have an important influence on image formati on (Capella & Greco, 1987; Chalip, Green, & Hill, 2003; Crotts, 1999; Fesenmaier et al., 1993; Gitelson & Crom pton, 1983; Stern & Krakover, 1993; Vogt, Stewart, & Fesenmaier, 1998).

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51 Awareness and Intention Intention was defined by Moutinho (1987) as the likelihood to buy or readiness-to-buy concept. In the early 19 80s, Mayo and Jarvis (1981) presented a model outlining the relationship between forming of attitudes, intent to travel, an d the travel decision selection process. Their model drew upon the Theory of Reasoned Actio n by Fishbein (1967; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1980; Fishbein & Manfredo, 1992) and focused on the infl uence of information and social factors in the forming of personal beliefs and opinions, feel ings, and predispositions, all of which form an individuals attitudes. These at titudes, which are predispositions to act according to Mayo and Jarvis are necessary in the forming of preference s/intentions, which are an tecedents of behavior. The awareness, trial and repeat behavior (rei nforcement) (ATR) theory is based on the idea that a trial of a product cannot occur without awareness (Ehr enberg, 1974). According to Ehrenberg, trial is dependent on awareness. Repeat trial may occur only afte r an initial purchase. Awareness in the best scenario may result in cu riosity that can lead to trial (Foxall, 1990; Milman & Pizam, 1995). It may be concluded the trial is associated w ith intention to buy. Repeat buying behavior may or may not occur, which will depend on the outcome of the trial, i.e. the experience and satisfaction. Referri ng to Ehrenbergs model, Milman and Pizam suggested that Applying this model to a tourism destination, we may conc lude that the image of a destination is reflected in the awareness that potential tourists have of it (p. 22), which is consistent with Gartners (1993) position that an image is formed based on the awareness an individual has of a destination. Indeed, Wilson (1981) proposed th at the intent to purchase is higher when the position of the brand in the mind of the consumer is higher. In a tourism context, destination awareness is linked to intent to travel according to the destination choice model of Woodside and Lysonski (1989). Intent to vi sit a destination is influenced by the preferences formed by an indi vidual. Milman and Pizam showed that those

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52 who were aware of Central Florid a as a destination but were not familiar (i.e. knew about it but have never visited it) did not have a greater interest or likelihood in visiting it compared to those who were not aware of it (never heard). In ot her words, their findings showed that awareness may not necessarily lead to inte nt, contrary to their hypothesis. This finding has support in the literature. For example, when Michie (1986) examined the influence of awareness (cognitive) on travel behavior, he concluded th at awareness is a necessary but not sufficient element leading to increased travel. Similarly, according to Fese nmaier, Vogt, and Stewart (1993) information obtained from a welcome center influenced the travel behavior of most visitors to Indiana, which stresses the key role of information sources as a source of knowledge a bout a destination. This knowledge in turn builds greater awareness of destin ations and their attributes. Therefore, it can be concluded that information sources are an important component to the decision making process and travel intentions, which is consiste nt with Woodside and Lysonskis (1989) model. Awareness and Socio-demographics In term s of understanding awar eness further, Baloglu (2001) did not find a significant relationship between demographics such as age, education, and familiarity, even though he hypothesized that these demographic factors might influence familiarity with a destination. A majority of Baloglus respondents were highly educated, 50 or older, married and had higher income. He acknowledged that the sampling method used, by including individuals who had requested information about Turkey, is a lim itation to his study and, therefore, may have contributed to the demographic homogeneity of the respondents. Therefore, the study participants were aware of Turk ey already and may have had so me knowledge about the country. Conceivably, one might expect that such re spondents already have international travel experience, are more familiar and aware of forei gn destinations, and may be more likely to visit

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53 new destinations. It will be of interest to ex amine samples in which the respondents are not so alike in terms of their socio-demographics. In a study of Aucklands (New Zealand) resident s, Pike (2002) examined the relationship between ToMA and intent to vis it destinations on a short break. He reported that the respondents were older, many with higher edu cation and had strong intention to visit several destinations. The destinations listed as topof-the-mind were significantly mo re likely to be visited. An unaided ToMA question resulted in the destination of Rotorua bei ng selected as a top destination for a visit by 24% of the respondents. Nationality has also been shown to influence awareness and image. For example, Ritchie and Smith (1991) found that Europeans showed higher awareness levels of European a nd non-U.S. Olympic Games sites compared to U.S. respondents. Information Sources, Familiarity, Awareness, Image and Choice The previou s discussion on familiarity and awareness mentioned the importance of information obtained through various forms of communication promotion and advertising through various forms of media, Internet, and word of mouth. Information that creates knowledge is critical to cr eating awareness of and fam iliarity with places. Gitelson and Crompton (1983) found that traveler s who take longer trips and travel further tend to plan their trip further in advance. As a result, this may have implications for international travel and destinations that are less familiar a nd known to the individual traveler. This and other studies (e.g. Capella & Greco, 1987) have shown that informati on obtained from friends and relatives is of great importance. Moreover, Gi telson and Crompton identified three reasons and characteristics of the tourism product, which play a role in tourism advertising and may influence the processing of and search for information duri ng the destination decisi on making process: 1) purchase of vacation involves high-risk due to in vestment of both time and money; 2) a vacation cannot be sampled unlike many consumer products; also the consumer cannot see exactly what

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54 he/she is purchasing; 3) travelers usually visit ne w destinations when they travel. According to Manfredo, Bright, and Haas (1992), due to the natu re of the tourist product, information seeking is expected to be quite extensive. Capella and Greco (1987) examined the inform ation search behavior of older travelers (over 60 years of age) and the influence of indi viduals socio-demogra phics (education, social class, gender, income, etc.) and psychographic characteristics (opinion le adership, wide horizons, community mindedness and others) on that behavior in relation to destination choice. When they examined the relationship among information sources, socio-demographic factors, and psychographics they found that ge nerally socio-demographics explained the role of information sources in vacation planning more compared to psychographics of older adults. Specifically, word of mouth (information passed on by family and friends) was found be the most influential information source among these older travelers. Past experience, magazines, and newspapers were also among the important sources. In contrast, radio and travel agents were least important. Credibility of sources was examined by Kerstett er and Cho (2004) who studied the relationships among prior knowledge, credibility of sources and information search. However, their results showed no significant relationship between prior knowledge and the information search process (amount of time spent searching and number of sources), which may be contrary to some scholars propositions. MacKay and Fesenmaier (1997) examined the influence of promotional visuals on the destination image of a National Park in Manitoba, Canada. Results from their study showed that familiarity levels affected perceptions of respondents along the four image dimensions: activity, familiarity, holiday, and atmosphere. Those who were more familiar with the park viewed the visuals as casting a familiar image (p. 558). Individuals with higher familiarity with the

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55 park had an image of the destination as being fam ily-oriented, full of activ ity and excitement. In addition, those more familiar with the park had affective evaluations of the visuals, whereas, those who were less familiar tende d to hold cognitive evaluations. Vogt, Stewart, and Fesenmaier (1998) focuse d on the search behavior of individuals who have not been to an individually named destinatio n in the U.S. Midwest. Their research showed a positive relationship between self-rated fam iliarity and the likeli hood of using certain information sources such as own tr avel files, listening to radio, ma gazine articles and others. In addition, they investigated the relationship betwee n use of information sources and intent to visit that destination. About 40% said that they were somewhat likely to visit in the next two years and 12% were extremely likely. In terms of th e relationship between intent and the use of sources of travel information, the highest posi tive correlation was betwee n intent and the how likely the individual was to use th eir own travel files, followed by magazine advertisement, then newspaper advertisements, te levision and others. Kim and Richardson (2003) used an experiment al design to study the influence of a motion picture on images and familiarity with a destination. The authors emphasized that movies can serve as a tool to familiarize audiences with plac es. Their results showed that cognitive images in particular differed among those who had watc hed the movie about Vienna, Austria compared with those who did not. They also found that those who watched the movie showed a higher interest in visiting Vienna compared to the control group. However, contrary to the authors expectations, level of familiarity was not significantly different between the two groups. The authors suggested that perhaps a short movie about a place may not be enough to create higher levels of familiarity with that destination. Nonetheless, their study made an important contribution to the understanding of destination image and factors that might shape image such

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56 as autonomous agents like movies, since there ha s been limited empirical work on the influence of motion pictures upon image and on the decision making process as a whole. To summarize, information sources are an im portant element of the destination decision making process. Various information sources supply knowledge about destinations, which in turn shapes familiarity and images of places. As such information sources may be influential in creating intent and an initial purchase. Destination Image According to Baloglu and McCleary (1999a) im ag e is an important component in choosing a destination and studies of image have aided sc holars in the study of t ourism behavior. With increasing opportunities offered to travelers, in dividuals are faced with choosing among vacation destinations in an increasingly complex and comp etitive marketplace. Destination marketers, therefore, need to position thei r destination in the travelers minds (Echtner & Ritchie, 1991). Key to this process is creating and communicating a favorable imag e to the potential tourist in his/her home country (Gooda ll & Ashworth, 1988). A significant amount of literature in the field has examined the concept of image, including its formation (Gartner, 1993; Echtner & Ritc hie, 1991; Fakeye & Crompton, 1991; Jenkins, 1999; Stern & Krakover, 1993), c onceptualization (Echtner & Ritchie, 1991) and methodology and measurement of image (Echtner & Ritchi e, 1991, 1993; Jenkins, 1999), and influence of image on destination choice (Gartner 1993, 1996; G oodall, 1991; Hunt, 1975). Other researchers have focused on familiarity and image associated with previous visit to the location (Milman & Pizam, 1995; Fakeye & Crompton, 1991). Gallarza, Gil, and Caldern (2 002) conceptualized and explored measurement of image. They proposed a theoretical model of image, which included four components. The first one is that image has a complex nature and at the same time it has an analytical dimension. The second is that image has a multidimensional nature,

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57 including an action (dynam ic) component. The third characteristic of image is that the construct is relativistic in that it is associated with s ubjectivity. Due to this characteristic, destination image can be used as a strategic tool in te rms of positioning and segmentation. The fourth characteristic is that image is dynamic; image changes across time and space. In this sense, destination image is a tactical variable. Kotler, Haider a nd Rein (1993) suggested image marketing as one of four strategies in marketing a community. In addition, an image should be valid and communicated through various channels. Destination Image Definitions Tuan (1975), a leading geographer who was one of the first to extensively delve into concepts su ch as image and sense of place, defined image in a variety of ways. He explained that image can be thought of as an artificial portrayal of an ob ject, a perception as a result of sensory input, a picture in ones mind from memor y, or the result of indirect information about a place. Lawson and Baud-Bovy (1977) defined image as the expression of knowledge, impressions, prejudice, imagination and emotiona l thoughts an individual holds of a place. Crompton (1979a), defined image as the sum of beliefs, ideas and impressions that a person has of a destination (p.18). Perception acco rding to Whynne-Hammond (1985) influences a variety of human behaviors social, political and economic. He defined perception of the environment referring to what a person thinks the environment is like. Perception in this sense is represented by image, which is an appro ach Baloglu (1997) adopted. Whynne-Hammond pointed out perceptions of foreign countries and their inha bitants may be wildly inaccurate (p. 9). These perceptions or images depend on th e value judgments and at titudes of individuals, which are shaped by personality characteristics, culture, temperament, experiences, and prejudice. Therefore, in this study images a nd perceptions were used interchangeably as the

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58 literature has used them in this way. Further in vestigations may draw u pon existing literature in tourism and other disciplines to better define and distinguish those terms. Moutinho (1987) presented image as total thoughts about a product/destination accumulated after processing of information and consisting of negative, positive or neutral thoughts. According to Goodall and Ashworth (1988) mental images are the basis of the evaluation or selection process (p. 3). Thus, image has been defined in different ways, however, the consensus tends to be that image is a multidimensional construct. In the present study destination image using Cromptons (1979a) and Moutinhos (1987) definitions is defined as the beliefs, ideas and impressions that an individual has of a destination, including overarching thoughts about it. Image Components Gunn (1972) was one of the first tourism scholars to conceptualize image. He described two types of images: organic and induced. Th e organic image is formed as a result of communication sources not disseminated by the destination through reports such as news, newspaper articles, geography and history courses, books of fiction and nonfiction, and the like. Induced image, on the other hand, is the resu lt of conscious promotional efforts by the destination and formed by adve rtising, promotion, and publicity. Similar to Gunn, Relph (1976) and Goodrich (1978) presented two types of images Relph, for example, distinguished between individual and mass image, where the indivi dual image is shaped by memory, experiences, emotions, and imagination. The mass images are obtained through the mass media and other secondary sources. Goodrichs two types of imag es were primary (resulting from visit to the destination) and secondary (as a result of information obtained from external to the individual resources). Fakeye and Crom pton (1991) added a third image complex, which results from visiting the destination.

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59 Echtner and Ritchie (1991) pr oposed a three-dimensional model of image components. In one dimension were the attribute and holistic co mponents. These components are comprised of tangible or functional characterist ics, and intangible or psychol ogical characteristics creating the second dimension. The third dimension, on the one hand, consists of common traits, which are functional or psychological, and on the other, unique events, attracti ons, or feelings. Image, they suggested, is not only based on des tination attributes, but also on intangible features such as the atmosphere of a place. In addition, they noted the neglect of the common and unique dimensions in past studies, thus, Echtner a nd Ritchies conceptualization also allows for capturing the unique and specific features of each destination. Stern and Krakover (1993) have suggested that the composite or global image is formed by th e two components desi gnative (cognitive) and appraisive (affective) components. Gartner (1993) examined in detail the components of imag e formation in relation to destination choice process. He concluded that once an individual has decided to take a vacation image becomes an important component in the decision making process as to which destination to select. The three components presented are: cognitive, affectiv e and conative. The cognitive component is represented by the attitudes and beli efs about a product or object forming a picture of its attributes. External stim uli are most important in formi ng the cognitive image. Since the tourism product is not tangible, images stem from perceptions rather than reality according to Gartner. The affective component is mani fested through the emotional evaluations of destinations and is related to the motivations a nd to the benefits desired by the traveler from a destination. Finally, the conative image is equivalent to the action/behavioral element. The conative component is represented by choosing one travel destination after information is processed and evaluations from alternatives are made.

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60 Milman and Pizam (1995) also examined three components of image of tourist destinations: 1) the product (e.g. attractions, pr ice, category of users); 2) the attitude and behavior of employees interacting with visito rs; and 3) the environm ent (weather, landscape, quality of facilities). Attribut es of the destination related to the above categories can then form the cognitive and affective images and ultimately th e traveler will select one destination. More recently, Baloglu and McCleary (1999a) discussed the perceptual/cognitive evaluations resulting from knowledge about a destinations attributes and the affective evalua tions associated with feelings toward the destination. They suggested that the overall image is formed as a result of both the perceptual/cognitive and the affective images of a place. Using path analysis they showed that perceptual/cognitive evaluations in fluenced the affective evaluations on three factors: quality of experien ce, attractions and value/envi ronment. In addition, the perceptual/cognitive evaluations significantly influenced overall image. Affective evaluation also significantly influenced overall image. Image Formation Gunn (1972) focused on the influence of push and pull com ponents of image formation. Internal stimuli such as motivatio ns, beliefs, and percepti ons comprise the push factors and the external stimuli (destination attribut es, costs, etc.) are related to the pull factors (Crompton, 1979a; Gartner, 1993; Goodall, 1991; Snmez & Sirakaya, 2002). Gartner described the image formation process as a continuum of ei ght agents and when combined they form the unique image each traveler holds of a destination. The first agent is what he calls Overt Induced I and is comprised of intentional promotional efforts of a destinati on via television, radio, brochures, and others and directed towards i nducing a specific image. This element is characterized by low credibility. Individuals re ceive many advertising messages throughout their lifetime. They also may realize that these me ssages may portray destinations in a certain way

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61 and the created image does not necessarily corr espond to reality. Therefore, such forms of destination advertising may have low credibility. The second image creating agent is called Overt Induced II. This group is comprised of information produced and received by tour operators, wholesale operators, and so on. The role of these agencies is to create favorable images of destinations for which they offer t ours (Lapage & Cormier, 1977). The next agent is called Covert Induced I and involves the use of a celebrity spokesperson and is used to counteract the low credibility stemming from promotions of the Overt Induced I agent. The fourth element, Covert Induced II is comprised of articles, news and other reports about a place that have been influenced by the destination mark eters, however, the visito r is not likely to be aware of this. The fifth element is comprise d of the Autonomous image agents such as independent movies, reports, arti cles, and documentaries. The ma rketers of a destination have no control over these autonomous agents. Gart ner explained that news reports are generally considered unbiased, and therefore, have substa ntial influence on image formation. Due to the power of image formation of autonomous agents th ey may be useful in changing an image in a relatively short period of time. The sixth elem ent, Unsolicited Organic agents consists of information received that has not been requested by the individual. Due to the fact that this information has not been sought, the retention level is low. However, according to Crotts (1999), information obtained from friends and relativ es has great influence on travelers. In other words, word of mouth is an important opinion fo rming source; therefore, this agent can be an important image formation source. Indeed, the seve nth group of agents is the Solicited Organic, which is represented by information provided by friends or relatives who have visited the destination; however, the difference between the Overt Induced II (such as tour operators) and the Solicited Organic source is th at the latter is not vested in the outcome of the decision.

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62 Finally, the eighth group of agents is the Organic, which consists of personal experience from a visit to the destination. Gartner (1993) criticized the research on image as piecemeal and lacking a theoretical basis and as a result noted that the efforts in the destination formation process have been limited. Studies have shown the importance of destinatio n image in the travel decision making process. Image has shown to be a determining factor whet her a destination should be considered further or eliminated as an alternative by a potential visito r. Just as the right ma rketing mix of the four elements (product, price, place, and promotion) is important in the marketing of products and services, he suggested the right mix of image agents is critical to the form ation and change of the desired image. Gartner provided some guidan ce regarding which image forming agents the destinations should use. However, the ch anging of an image begins with a thorough understanding of the current image in the minds of potential travelers. The present study attempts to gain an understa nding of the current image of Bulgaria and compare it to the image formed as a result of showing a travel DVD falling into the category of a Covert Induced II agent. Gartner could not have been more dire ct in expressing the importance of implementing an image development strate gy: Destination promoters without an image formation strategy will find it increasingly difficult to maintain, increase, or develop their unique share of the tourism market (p. 209). Gart ner also provided a link between awareness and image, when he stated that the presence of awaren ess of a destination means that an image of that place exists in the minds eye of the traveler. Image and Awareness Millm an and Pizam (1995) focused on the role of awareness in the process of consumer buying behavior. According to the authors awar eness is essential to forming an image. Therefore, they argued that awareness of a de stination must precede a positive image if that

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63 destination is to be successf ul. Likewise, Fakeye and Crom pton (1991) showed that image differed on every dimension for non-visitors to th e Rio Grande Valley in Texas compared to the first-time and repeat visitors who were already familiar with the destination. Image and Sociodemographics More recently, Baloglu and McCleary (1999a) proposed a model of im age formation developed from relevant literature in different fields and they tested their model using path analysis. Working from an extensive review of literature, they found that image is influenced by two major groups of factors: personal factors (including mo tivations, perceptions, sociodemographics, etc.) and stimulus factors relate d to the tourism product, information about the product, and personal experience (Baloglu & McCleary, 1999a; G oodall, 1991; Goodall & Ashworth, 1988). These two major groups corres pond to the supply and demand factors critical to tourism development and destination image formation described by several authors (Goodall & Ashworth, 1988; Gunn, 1972). According to Husbands (1989), education is the most important variable related to difference in perception of tourism. He expl ored perception of tour ism among the resident population of a town in Zambia in terms of its importance to the residents and related to their employment in tourism or outside of the tourism industry. He also explored the influence of age, monthly income and profession, but these demographics did not infl uence perception. Javalgi et al. (1992) found that level of education did not in fluence travel behavior although higher income played a role in the selection of a European destination by U.S. outbound travelers. Age also appeared to be influential in th e four studied European destina tions in that the destinations tended to attract those over 45 years old, whereas, Southern Eur ope showed the highest appeal among the other destinations for younger adults. Stern and Krakover (1993) similarly concluded that level of education was one of the most important variable s in shaping a composite urban

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64 image as a result of the interrel ationships between cognitive and affective components. Baloglu (1997) investigated the images of the U.S.A. held by West German visitors. He found no significant differences in terms of gender, income and education, although age, marital status, and occupation did account for significant differences in image. Chen and Kerstetter (1999) studied differences in rural tourism images among international students in the U.S. due to socio-demographic fact ors and travel behavior. Their results revealed differences in image dimensions in four of si x socio-demographic variab les gender, household status (living with children and/or relatives), home country, and class standing. Men and women differed significantly on two image dimens ions tourism infrastructure dimension and natural amenity dimension. Women were more likely to agree with th e items in these two factors. Chen and Kerstetter found that more pos itive and images that were neutral or negative emerged in terms of rural tourism in Pennsylva nia. Therefore, they suggested that the promotional materials should emphasize the positive elements. More recently, Beerli and Martn (2004) found significant but more moderate gender differences for first-time tour ists and cognitive image compon ents of general and tourist infrastructure and natural and cultural resources in Lanzarote, Spain. Repeat women visitors significantly differed on the sun and sand component. First-time women vi sitors significantly differed on the affective image by having a more favorable image toward the destination compared to men. Significant differences in image by age were apparent for the social setting/environment component for both first-timers and repeat visitors. Older tourists viewed the destination generally in a more positive way on this dimension. In terms of education, the affective image was lower when education levels were higher. Results showed that first-time tourists had a negative association with th e cognitive image dimensi on of natura l/cultural

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65 resources. Furthermore, respondents with higher social class rated the de stination lower on this dimension. Significant differences for first-timers and repeaters in three out of five cognitive image categories as well as for the affective dimension were also apparent by country of origin. Deslandes (2006) found that there were gender diffe rences in destination image among visitors to St. Lucia. Women tended to rate St. Lucia mo re favorably on all image attributes than men. Thus, overall there does not seem to be a lot of c onsensus in the literature regarding the influence of socio-demographics on destination image. Intent to travel A num ber of factors have been found to influence the decision making process when selecting a destination. Those components are aw areness, image, perceptions and beliefs, and information sources (Stern & Krakover, 1993). Intent is a component directly preceding destination choice in Woodside and Lysonskis model (1989). Definition of Intention Inten t or intention was defined by Howard and Sheth (1969) as a cognitive state that reflects the buyers plan to buy units of a particular brand in some specified time period (p.132). The literature specifies that intention should be examined in terms of a specific time frame in which the purchase should occur. The decisi on making process can be conceptualized as a continuum: information can lead to awareness, generate interest, create desire, and result in action (refer to the AIDA sequence discussed in chapter 1); therefore, information influences preference and choice of destin ation (Court & Lupton, 1997). As a result, the image of a destination may also change due to information sources. Relationships of Intention, Destination Familiarity, Awareness, and Image Woodside and Lysonskis (1989) m odel of tr aveler choice consists of the following components: marketing variables (advertising, product design and others); traveler variables

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66 (socio-demographics, lifestyle, and prior dest ination experience); destination awareness (categorization process); affective associati ons (positive or negative feelings); traveler destination preferences, intentions to visit; situational variable s; and choice. Their discussion focused on several of the model components. Affective associati ons and categorization influence individual preferences fo r a destination. Affective asso ciations that are positive, for example, would be toward destinations an individual is considering visiting and negative toward destinations that he/she will not visit. Woods ide and Lysonski argued that the categorization process occurring in travelers mi nds by dividing the destinations of which the traveler is aware into several categories: consideration set, unavailab le/aware set, inert set, and inept set. When examining the image of Turkey among Americ ans Snmez and Sirakaya (2002) assumed that travelers had ambiguous or unknown images toward Turkey. Therefore, one reason why tourism in Turkey had not reached its potential may be due to the unclear image of the destination among U.S. travelers. In other words, those negativ e images may be due to insufficient knowledge about the destination. Moreover, Hunt (1975) ex pressed the importance of image to the point: Although a region may contain a wide spectrum and high quality of touristrecreation resources, a distorted image may detract from realizing potential use or optimum economic development (p. 1). On the other hand, a destination that has positive images is a destination about which travelers have sufficient information to determine th at the destination will be able to meet their needs. Kotler et al. (1993), for example, emphasized that places can have images that are positive, weak, negative, mixed, contradictory or overly at tractive, which may ultimately influence intent to visit and a choice of a destinati on. The consideration set consists of those destinations that the traveler is considering visiting. The unavailable/aware se t consists of destin ations of which the

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67 consumer is aware but for one re ason or another (cost, distance ) they are unavailable. These categorizations are influenced by informati on received (advertising), product design and variables related to the traveler (age, lifestyle, and ot hers). In Woodside and Lysonskis model after a destination is categorize d, affective associations form to ward that destination. Woodside and Lysonski continued to explain how travelers construct preferences desc ribed as rankings of destinations from least to most liked. Such pr eferences are influenced by the awareness of the destination, affective associations and traveler variables. The next stage in their model is intent to visit, which is dependent on the formed pref erences for a destination. Finally, choice of a destination is shown to be predicted by intent and situational variables. Results from their exploratory study showed that destinations in the consideration sets had positive associations compared to the associations for destinations in the other sets. Results also showed that destinations that were mentioned first had highe r preferences. The hypothe sis that intention to visit a destination is positively influenced by the preferences toward that destination was partially confirmed. Woodside a nd Lysonskis study has both importa nt practical and theoretical implications to the study of the destinati on choice process. Bign, Snchez, and Snchez (2001) examined the influence of destination image on behavior intentions of visitors after their visit and on image and their evaluation of the stay and concluded that image is a necessary preceding fact or in the intention to return and to recommend the destination to others. Thus, it appears that image may play an important role in the initial intent to visit. A number of studies have focu sed on the influence of im age on the selection of a destination (Crompton & Ankomah, 1993; Goodall, 1991). Intent is associated with preferences of the traveler (Woodside & Carr, 1988; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). Woodside and Lysonskis model of destination awareness a nd choice included preferences, which can be

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68 described as rankings by the consumer of destina tions he/she most likes to those he/she likes least. They found that awareness was strongly associated with pr eference toward destinations. Consumer research studies have shown that topof-mind-awareness is a pr edictor of preference for brands and purchase (Axelrod, 1968) or intent to visit a de stination (Woodside & Sherrell, 1977). Woodside and Sherrell reported higher scores of intent to vi sit destinations in the evoked set as a result of unaided awareness. Howeve r, according to Woodside and Sherrell since the number of destinations that an individual may c onsider can be quite larg e (awareness set), the individual will likely consider a more limited numbe r of destinations for an extensive evaluation. Thus, the evoked set is a smaller set within the la rger awareness set. When he and his colleagues examined events and how they are affected by ev ent media, Chalip et al. (2003) found that event media did not influence directly the intent to visit the destin ation. The effect was through destination image acting as an intervening variable The influence of image on intent to visit the Gold Coast of Australia was significant; however there were differences in the significance of image dimensions between U.S. travelers and Ne w Zealanders. In contrast, Deslandes (2006) found that the impact of destin ation image on the intent to return to St. Lucia was minimal. Intention and Socio-demographics Inten t to visit a destination has not been ex amined extensively in the tourism literature. Some studies have examined the relationship between intention to revisit and past visits (Court & Lupton, 1997; George & George, 2004). Court and L upton concluded from their study that when a destination has a more favorable image, responden ts were more likely to visit the destination. Also, an individual was more likely to visit a destination due to se veral variables: distance to the destination, higher income, smaller household si ze, and prior visitation, among others. The authors also emphasized the importance of travel information. Results showed that travelers were likely to visit or revisit New Mexico if they were exposed to travel information and/or have

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69 visited the destination. Travel in formation shapes travelers preferences, images, contributes to greater awareness and may lead to greater levels of intent to vis it and eventually to revisit the location. Recently, Deslandes (2006) in his study of im age, satisfaction, and behavioral intention among visitors to St. Lucia found that there were gender differences in terms of behavioral intent measured as intent to return. Males reported higher behavioral intentions to return than females. Lam and Hsus (2006) study examin ed behavioral intention to visit a destination and the influence of attitude, perceived behavioral control, a nd past behavior by a pplying the theory of planned behavior. Their results showed that past behavior, perceived behavioral control and subjective norm had a direct influence on inten tion. Intention was measured as selecting Hong Kong as a travel destination by potential Taiwan ese travelers. Attitude, however, did not influence intention. The study recognized that previous literature has noted differences in behavior of Western and Easter n tourists. Thus, the literatu re suggests that there are no consistencies as to the influence of socio-de mographics on intent to visit a destination. Prior Travel Experience Prior travel experience is an im portant component influencing tourist behavior, participation in activities at a de stination, likelihood to visit a destination, a nd information search behavior (Lehto, Kim, & Morrison, 2006; Leht o, OLeary, & Morrison, 2004; Milman & Pizam, 1995; Snmez & Graefe, 1998; Weaver, Weber, & McCleary, 2007). In addition, the images and familiarity with places are influenced by travelers prior travel experiences (Baloglu, 2001; Fakeye & Crompton, 1991; Milman & Pizam; 1995). Mazursky (1989), for example, suggested that personal travel experi ences may be more critical in the travel decisi on making process than information obtained from external sources such as travel brochures, mag azines, television, and others. In relation to destination image

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70 Fakeye and Crompton (1991) found that images of a destination in Texas held by non visitors (people who have not visited a destination) differed from the images of first-time or repeat visitors. As a result, marketing and promotional efforts of destinations will be affected by such findings. In terms of likelihood to visit Milman a nd Pizam (1995) found that those who were familiar with (have visited) Central Florida were more inclined to visit that destination again. The authors propensity to travel index consisting of number of trip s taken in the past five years, destinations location, and length of time spent at that destination did not reveal any significant differences among the three groups of travelers: not aware (never he ard of Central FloridaCF); aware (never visited CF); and familiar (have visite d CF). The authors explanation for this result was that Central Florida may not be suitable as a destination for travelers with limited travel experience. Similarly, Snmez and Graefe ( 1998)found support for their first hypothesis that prior travel to a region in creases the likelihood that an individual will travel in the future to that region as part of his/her next in ternational vacation. Risk and safety were also found to influence future travel intentions. Their results also show ed that individuals who ha ve previously traveled to risky regions (e.g. Africa, Middle East and others) were not as li kely to avoid travel to those places compared to travelers with no travel experience to the same regions. In a study of tourist roles (using Cohens [ 1972] four types), international travel and perceived risk among college students Lepp a nd Gibson (2003) found that organized mass tourists who had traveled most internationally had a higher perception of cultural barriers in terms of risk compared to travel ers who have traveled less (i.e. le ss experience). This was also true for drifters. This seemed an unlikely finding, which the authors explained may have been the result of the following hypothesis that greater contact with different cultures may lead to

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71 travelers being more cautious. This was not true in the case of explorers and independent mass tourists, though. However, it can also be concluded based on the previous discussion of familiarity and awareness that more experience contribu tes to greater awareness of such risks. In terms of activity particip ation at a destination, Lehto, OLeary, and Morrison (2004) found that prior experience influenced activity pa rticipation negatively. The more experience UK travelers to the U.S. had, the less they partic ipated in activities a nd the less they visited various places during their vacat ion. In another study Lehto, Kim and Morrison. (2006) found that prior experience with a destination significan tly affected the degree of internet search (i.e. hours of internet use for trip pla nning and length of trip planning such as days, weeks, etc.). Travelers with no previous experience to the de stination engaged in a more extensive internet search, which was expected by the researchers. Weaver, Weber, and McCleary (2007) found that prior travel experi ence (i.e. the more countries they have visited) had a positive asso ciation with service quality of Hong Kong as a destination. However, there was a negative co rrelation between previous travel experience (number of countries visited) and th e likelihood of visiting Hong Kong. Tourist Roles The literature on tourist behavior an d roles travelers assume when they travel can shed light on why tourists assume such roles. In othe r words, researchers have examined factors such as socio-demographics, the environment in wh ich an individual was brought up, motivations, preferences, needs, past travel experience and others that can he lp tourism marketers and tourism sociologists understand why travelers identify with one type of touris t role rather th an another. The discussion that follows will examine the concept of tourist role preference. International tourists can be classified into several types according to the degree of familiarity and novelty they seek (Cohen, 1972). Cohen introduced the familiarity novelty

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72 continuum and he proposed four types of interna tional tourists that differed in the degree of familiarity they sought while traveling: the or ganized mass tourist (OMT ), the individual mass tourist (IMT), the explorer (EXP ), and the drifter (DTR). Th e organized mass tourist prefers most familiarity, goes on guided tours and prefers to stay in his/her environmental bubble of the familiar environments. The organized mass tourist is comfortable in destinations similar to his/her own or destinations that can provide comfortable accommodations and are safe. Such tourists may not be likely to explore the des tination on their own. The individual mass tourist on the other hand prefers to travel independently; however, he/she prefers familiarity. This type of tourist is more inclined than the previous type to have a more flexible schedule and he/she is not tied to a group tour. Theref ore, he/she may explore the host country by visiting certain attractions, but his/her trip has been arranged by a trav el agent. The explorer, on the other hand, prefers even more independence, arranges his/ her own trip, seeks a good degree of novelty, and immerses more in the local environment. Th e explorer, according to Cohen, ventures off the beaten track. He or she may, ther efore, visit remote natural and cultural areas. However, he/she may still choose comfortable accommodations. Finall y, the drifter has no time schedule, he/she tries to fully immerse in the local culture a nd even work to support himself/herself while traveling. The drifter interacts w ith locals so perhaps the language barrier may not be considered as critical. In addition, novelty is at its highest for the drifter. Such a tourist may enjoy undeveloped and remote areas of interest to him/he r that are far away from the established tourist areas. Tourism research in recent decades has empha sized the importance of image, destination awareness, and tourist roles among other factors in the des tination choice process (Lee & Crompton, 1992; Stabler, 1988; Goodall, 1991; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). In addition,

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73 studies show that as tourists differ in types of vacations they choose according to their needs, motivations, preferences, and novelty tolerance travelers may differ by the level of prior knowledge they have about them, by the way they perceive destinations, and therefore, their familiarity, awareness with and images of those places may differ as well (Crompton, 1979a; Lepp & Gibson, 2003; Plog, 1974, 2001). For example, Mayo and Jarvis (1981) emphasized the influence of psychological factors such as pe rception, learning, and mo tivation on individuals attitudes and, therefore his/her be havior. In other words, these psychological factors may affect the type of destination he/she chooses. However, other studies do not support the view that socio-demographics may determine to a large extent what type of vaca tion he/she will choose and the type of role he/she will play as a tourist (Graburn, 1977). Graburn, for example, indirectly supported the position that income may not be as influential as many think it is in determining the likelihood that individuals will travel. He suggested education may be a more powerful predictor. Graburn explained that education is linked to cultural self-confidence and as such influences what type of vacations individuals take, in particularly Americans (Graburn, 1983). Cultu ral self-confidence refers to the extent to which a traveler is inclined to explore the unexpected a nd unknown and ready to get out of his/her environmental bubb le as Cohen put it (1972). Lack of such confidence also relates to Plogs (1974, 2001, 2004) tourist types based on psychographics (study of individuals personality characteristics) a nd in particular matches the psychocentrics (dependables) category, which is discussed in more detail later. Gra burn argued that cultural se lf-confidence related to travel is influenced more by education rather than income. Based on Graburns work one might conclude that an individuals environment and upbringing and pa rticularly his/her educational background influences the type of vacations he/she takes, including the roles he/she assumes as a

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74 traveler. As a consequence to Graburns wor k, which emphasized the significance of cultural self-confidence, social class and other factors, such as an individuals familiarity, awareness and images of a destination are expected to be different. Campbell (1978) cited by Graburn described the American affluent working class as one lacking self -cultural confidence to travel outside of their environmental bubble and as a c onsequence not readily willing to try different accommodations, speak different languages, etc. According to Campbell, the educational background of many working class people does not instill in them the confidence to explore cultures that are different than their own. Plog (2001) also questioned the explanatory power of demographic segmentation used by so many in the tourism industry. Plog (1974) proposed a model of personality travel types based on psychographics in relation to a destinations life cycle. His continuum ranges from psychocentrics whom later he called dependables on one end to allocentrics or venturers on the other. The majority of travelers fall in the middle section of the model as mid-centrics Plogs dependables prefer well-known product brands, are not after new ideas and experiences, and have low activity levels, for example. They can be compared to those who are most comfortable in their environmental bubble (Cohen, 1972) and those lacking cu ltural self-confidence (Graburn, 1983). Venturers, on the other hand are curious in tellectually, self-confident, and relatively active, for example. Smith (1977) is also credited with presenting se ven tourist roles: expl orer, elite, off-beat, unusual, incipient mass, mass, and charter. The expl orers purpose for travel is that of discovery. The elite travelers have their trips arranged by a travel agent and purch ase expensive trips to experience a unique South American Indian way of lif e, for example. The off-beat tourist either travels to get away from the crowds or do so mething unconventional. The unusual traveler is

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75 likely to take a chartered tour and feels safer if eating the food he/she is used to, even though he/she wants to have a glimpse of the host cu lture. The incipient mass tourist may travel individually or in groups and looks for Western travel comforts. The mass tourist is seen in great numbers and tends to come from Northern Europe, for example seeking warm vacation destinations such as Spain and the Mediterra nean (although this is beginning to change as individuals from the Asia-Pacific countries are beginning to travel more). Charter tourists belong to tour groups with highl y structured itineraries. Sm iths typology supports the ideas, which were put forward by Cohen (1972) and Plog (1974), that tour ists differ in their tolerance for novelty. As an anthropologist her main concer n in differentiating thes e tourist types was the impact that the mass tourists had on the destinations they visited. Pearce (1985) built upon Cohen (1974), Smith (1977) and others and identified fifteen tourist roles based on fuzzy-set theory: tourist, traveler, holidaymaker, jet-setter, businessman, migrant, conservationist, explorer, missionary, overseas student, an thropologist, hippie, international athlete, overseas j ournalist, and religious pilgrim. His categories were based upon behaviors a traveler exhibits ca tegorized along twenty behavioral dimensions (whether he/she takes photos, buys souvenirs, etc.). Pearce us ed multidimensional scaling to examine how the roles are interrelated and as a result five cluste rs emerged: spiritual consisting of religious pilgrim, hippie and missionary; environmental consisting of anthropologist, conservationist and explorer; high contact consisting of trav eler, overseas student a nd overseas journalist; pleasure first made up of tourist, holidaymaker and the final cluste r exploitative consisting of businessman, where jet-setter overlaps into the last two categories. The migrant and international athlete types did not fit into any of the five clusters; however, he explained that their location on the grid in relation to the other clusters is broad ly consistent (p.36).

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76 Following both Cohen (1972) and Pearce ( 1985), Yiannakis and Gi bson (1992), further delineated Pearces fifteen travel er roles and focused on leisure-based tourist roles. Beginning in 1986, Yiannakis identified eight t ourist roles and in subseque nt work with Gibson, they developed the tourist role pref erence scale that measures thir teen tourist roles (Gibson, 1989, 1994; Yiannakis & Gibson, 1992). Using multidimensional scaling they identified three dimensions underlying each of the roles (Yiannakis & Gibson, 1992) (two a dditional roles were added by Gibson, 1994). These were: stimulatio n-tranquility, familiarity-strangeness, and structure-independence. The firs t dimension reflects the level of tranquility that one seeks in a vacation versus the stimulation of activities, sights, etc. The second axis represents the continuum of a familiar environment versus the novel and less known environments and experiences. The last dimension represents how st ructured ones vacation is and the level of preplanning and rigidity involved. The authors proposed that while Psychological needs (which serve as push factors) motivate individuals to select and enact tourist roles in destinations that are perceived to provide an optimal balance of stim ulation-tranquility, familiarity-strangeness, and structure-independence (p. 300), socio-cultural vari ables such as gender, life stage, and social class shaped the choice of tourist role (Gibson, 1989, 1994; Yiannakis & Gibson, 1988; 1992) In the same vein as Yiannakis and Gibson s work, Mo, Howard, and Havitz (1993) and Mo, Havitz, and Howard (1994) developed a twen ty-item scale to operationalize Cohens (1972) tourist roles. The resulting Inte rnational Tourism Role Scale (ITR) was used to identify different types of tourists on the three travel dimensi ons and demographics: de stination-orientation dimension (DOD); travel services dimension (TSD ); and social contact dimension (SCD). The authors identified four types of tourist, the High Novelty Seekers (HNS), the High Familiarity Seekers (HFS), Destination Novelty Seekers (DNS ), and Social Contact Seekers (SCS). High

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77 Novelty Seekers (HNS) corresponded most closely to Cohens drifter and e xplorer types. Next, the DNS type corresponded most closely to the Organized Mass Tourist. The SCS corresponded to Cohens types of Independent Mass Tourist and Explorer. The HFS referred to those tourists who seek security in their experience and who prefer familiar destinations. Mo et al. found that the differe nt tourist types differed by mar ital status, age and education. They also found that SCS cluster was comprised primarily of college students, most of whom were young and single. Fifty-seve n percent of the DNS travelers were alumni who were older, half of whom were married and more than ha lf had a college degree. In terms of past international travel experience, t ourist types were also significan tly different. For example, the High Novelty Seekers had higher scores on statem ents related to novelty experiences on their latest trip, which were not present in the U.S. and had more contact with locals. HNS tourists tended to be in their 40s, college educated and single. In addition, HNS and DNS tourists had traveled more frequently internationally comp ared to the SCS and HFS tourists. Similarly, Gibson and Yiannakis (2002) found that tourists classified by their fifteen tourist roles tended to vary by age or life stage and gender. For example, they found preference for some roles such as the Action Seeker, Drifter an d Thrill Seeker tended to decline with age, whereas, others such as the Organized Mass Tour ist increased with age. There were also differences by gender, for example, younger women preferred culturally-orie nted types of roles such as the Anthropologist compared to their ma le counterparts who showed more interest in thrill seeking in their 20s. Thus, in the tourist ro le literature there seem to be some consistencies especially as they relate to Cohe ns (1974) argument that there is not just one type of tourist but many types. Specifically, for this study it appears that some tourists were attracted to novel destinations that they know little about whereas others preferred more familiar destinations.

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78 Moreover, is also appears that these preferences might be furthe r explained by gender, life stage, income and level of education. Lepp and Gibson (2003) used Cohens (1972) tourist role typology to understand how different types of tourists perceive the level of familiarity and difference associated with various destinations. They found that familiarity seekers, i.e. organized and independent mass tourists were more likely to perceive more risk associated with destinations th ey perceived as more different or less familiar than the U.S. Thus, images held of a destination were linked to different types of tourist role. Specifically, Lepp and Gibson found th at preference of tourists for novelty is associated with percei ved travel risk. In other word s, a tourists psychological and personal characteristics, culture, and environment may help determine what type of vacations he/she will be seeking. This in turn may determin e what type of travel information the traveler will seek, which may likely influence knowledge a nd awareness of travel destinations around the world. The position that a certain level of awareness as a result of the information sources used may form specific images of destinations has been supported by Gunn (1972) and others (Beerli & Martn, 2004; Chalip et al., 2003; Gartner, 1993). In summary, prior travel expe rience as a dimension of prio r knowledge (Kerstetter & Cho, 2004) influences the vacation deci sion making process. It may also influence the individuals travel behavior and tourist role he/she assumes as well as the level of awareness and images he/she has of a destination, and the likelihood of visiting that destination. Summary Tourism destination choice studies have focu sed both on psychological variables such as motivations, perceptions, beliefs and attitudes on one hand and on non-psychological variables such as cost of travel, time, attr ibutes of the destination, traveler characteristics, etc. on the other that influence travelers selection of a destination (Goodall, 1991; Snmez & Sirakaya, 2002).

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79 The present studys focus was to examine the interrelationships among destination familiarity, awareness, image, and intent to travel to a specific destination the less known country of Bulgaria by U.S. college students. This study builds upon Woodside and Lysonskis (1989) work by including familiarity and prior knowledge as important variables to the destination choice model. In addition, the various tourist roles an individual assumes, his/her prior travel experience and sociodemographic characteristics have been shown to influence an individuals travel beha vior and choice of destinations as a result of trav eler images and awareness. Destination familiarity, awareness, image, a nd intent are important variables influencing tourist behavior and many studies have exam ined the complex relationships among them (Chalip, et al., 2003; Kim & Pennington-Gray, 2004; Kim & Richardson, 2003; Milman & Pizam, 1995; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). Moreover, socio-demographic factors, prior travel experiences and tourist role pref erences have been shown to influence the level of awareness, image and intent to travel (Ahmed, 1991; Beer li & Martn, 2004; Boo & Busser, 2005; Chen & Kerstetter, 1999; Deslandes, 2006; Milman & Pizam, 1995; Pike, 2002). Tourists choosing specific tourist roles may look for destinations that will fit those roles influenced by the degree of familiarity and novelty they seek in a destination. The theoretical framework consisting of three theories: the theory of reasoned action, the theory of planned behavior, and theories linking awareness and purchase beha vior can be used to predict intention to visi t and actual behavior with the latter being beyond the scope of this study. It is important for marketers of emerging tourist destinations to understand the level of awareness, images, and attitudes their destinations evoke in the tourists minds, which in turn

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80 will aid in the targeted design of promotional materials, the effective market segmentation and branding and positioning of the destination.

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81 CHAPTER 3 METHODS The purpose of the study was to investigate the familiarity, awareness, image, and intent to visit Bulgaria among a sample of U.S. colle ge students. This chapter explains the instrumentation, procedures used to collect data and the statistical analys es used to answer the research questions. According to the statistical procedures performed destination awareness, familiarity, image, and intent to visit Bulgaria were used as dependent variables. Gender, tourist role preference, and previous international tr avel experience were i ndependent variables. Data Collection The study used a one group pre-test post-test pr e-experim ental design. Participation in the study was voluntary and participants were assu red of confidentiality at the beginning of the study. Participants were asked th ree screening questions before th e instrument was administered. The first question asked participants if they were a U.S. citizen born in the United States. The next question inquired whether they had ever visited Bulgaria. Th e last question asked if they had accessed travel-related information about Bulg aria, such as searching the Internet, seen advertising about the country, trav el brochures and others. Only participants who were U.S. citizens born in the U.S. were surveyed. The last two questions contro lled for the forming of complex image and induced images, in other words if individuals answered yes (i.e. they did visit) they were not included in the study. Studies show that the image of destination is influenced by a visit to the destination (F akeye & Crompton, 1991; Milman & Pizam, 1995). In addition, the stimulus was a source for the formation of induced images about Bulgaria. For the pre-test participants were asked to fill out the first part of the questionnaire. When they had completed this task, a geographical map of Bulgaria was shown to the students prior to the showing of the video. They were also told that Bulgaria is located in Eastern Europe on the

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82 Balkan Peninsula and which countries shared a bor der with Bulgaria. Students then viewed a DVD with two presentations about Bulgaria. The first one showed excerpts of Surprising Bulgaria by Rick Steves Eastern Europe (2000-2007) presenting various aspects of Bulgaria including cultural attracti ons, exploring of towns and rural areas, and others. The second showed excerpts of a promotional video Bulgaria by the Bulgarian State Tourism Agency. The DVDs can be categorized according to Gartners (1993) image agents as a combination of Covert Induced II (which along with articles, news reports and other sources constitutes an important information source influencing travel behavior) and Autonomous image agents and as such, along with the map the DVDs served as the interv ention for the study. The video by Rick Steves was chosen as it represented Bulgaria well in a popular format. Rick Steves is known to many Americans with his travel shows about places near and far. This video focused on the fact that Bulgaria is now a democracy, adapting to cater to the needs to the foreign traveler, even though slowly at times, however also offering unique opportunity for experiencing primarily cultural and religious sights. It also showcased the ag ricultural roots of the country, friendliness and hospitality of Bulgarians, its cu isine, and ethnic diversity. Th e second video complemented the Rick Steves video by showcasing Bulgaria as a sun and sea and winter destination, resort entertainment, whitewater rafting, cold and warm mineral water springs, Bulgarian wine, and its rich cultural and archaeological he ritage. Both videos (together with the questionnaire) were first pilot-tested with undergra duate students in the summer of 2007. Due to their comments the excerpts from the two videos were modified to cr eate the length and content finally used in the study. Following the intervention in the summer and fall of 2007, the participants were asked to complete the remainder of the questionnaire.

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83 Instrument The questionnaire consisted of thirteen part s (Appendix). The firs t part contained one question asking participants if they had heard of the country Bulgaria. P art two consisted of three open-ended questions to gain an understanding of what images first came to the mind of the travelers when thinking about vacationing in Bulgar ia, what unique tourist attractions and others associations they had with the country, and at mosphere they would e xpect to experience in Bulgaria. These questions were developed from Echtner and Ritchie (1993, p.5) who used openended questions to measure the holistic and unique elements of image and also Prentice and Andersen (2000, p. 504) for their contribution to association elicitation. Such free elicitation of image according to Prentice and Andersen allows participants to describe the destination using their own words. The third part of the quest ionnaire consisted of th ree questions regarding familiarity, whether participants had taken e ducational classes that have covered some information about Bulgaria and finally, their past use of resources to le arn about Bulgaria. Operationalization of Variables The f irst question measuring familiarity was operationalized not as a previous visit but as a self-rated response to the question: How familia r/knowledgeable do you consider yourself to be with Bulgaria?, where the responses were measur ed on a five point Likert -type scale (1=not at all familiar, 2=slightly familiar, 3=fairly fam iliar, 4=quite familiar, 5=very familiar) based on Snmez and Sirakaya (2002, p. 189). The second question measured whether students have taken any history, geography or othe r classes in which they learne d about Bulgaria with a yes no response. The third question measured what type of information sources the students have used to learn about Bulgaria including movies, friends/relatives and others.

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84 Part four included seventeen statements m easuring the participan ts level of knowledge about Bulgaria. This scale and questions were developed from prior studies (Kim & PenningtonGray, 2004). Three response categories True, False and Dont know were available. Part five consisted of 36 image items meas uring the image of Bulgaria as a tourist destination on a five point Likert -type scale (1 = Strongly disagr ee, 2 = Disagree, 3 = Somewhat agree, 4 = Agree, 5 = Strongly agree) with an added 9 = Dont know category due to the anticipated low familiarity/knowledge about Bulg aria. These items were developed by using Beerli and Martns (2004, p. 659) and Echtner and Ritchie s (1993, p. 6 and p.9) lists of dimensions and items. In addition, several travel brochures by the Bulgarian State Agency for Tourism were reviewed while items were compile d. In addition, another question measured the overall image of Bulgaria. These questions cons tituted the pre-test questionnaire. The post-test sections start at the sixth part of the questionn aire and consisted of one question about the selfrated familiarity level of participants after watching the videos. Part seven measured their knowledge about Bulgaria with the seventeen st atements discussed prev iously. Part eight consisted of one open-ended question asking what characteristics came to mind when thinking about going on vacation to Bulgaria Part nine consisted of the 36 image items measuring the image of Bulgaria among U.S. college students discussed above. These items were followed by a question asking about the ove rall image of Bulgaria. Part ten consisted of six questions measuring past travel experiences and future travel intentions, which were followed by five questions measuring the perceived behavioral control in terms of travel to Bulgaria. The first question in part ten measured pa st international travel experience by asking the students ho w many times they have traveled internationally. They were also asked to list, which countries they have vi sited. Similar questions asked participants about

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85 travel to Europe. The third question asked a bout the likelihood of c hoosing Bulgaria as the respondents next vacation destination. The fourth question measured intent to travel to Bulgaria within the next five years. The fifth and sixt h questions asked about in tended travel abroad and to Europe in the next five years. The scale used was a Likert-type fi ve point scale (1=very unlikely, 2=unlikely, 3=somewhat likely, 4=likel y, 5=very likely) measuring intent. These questions were developed by using Snmez a nd Sirakayas scale (2002, pp. 188-189) and from the literature on intent to travel. Such ques tions include a specific time frame within which travel to occur, which is considered a necessary component of measurement of behavioral intent. Question seven was in the form of a statement: I f I wanted I could easily visit Bulgaria within the next five years where the responses ranged fro m strongly disagree =1 to strongly agree =5. The next statement measured how possible=5 or impossible=1 would it be for the respondent to visit Bulgaria. Question nine was a statement me asuring whether the respondent believed he/she has the resources to visit Bulgaria in the next fi ve years. The tenth statement measured whether visiting Bulgaria is expensive. Question eleven was a statement measuring whether the cost to travel to Bulgaria would influence the respondent s decision to visit Bulg aria. The last three questions used a Likert-type scal e (1 = Strongly disagree, 2 = Disa gree, 3 = Somewhat agree, 4 = Agree, 5 = Strongly agree). These questions were developed by using Ajzens scale (Ajzen, 2002, rev. 2006). Part eleven consisted of one question using a fixed ch oice format asking the type of information resources respondents typica lly use to plan their travel. Part twelve contained four statements developed by Lepp and Gibson (2003) describing the behaviors associated with Cohens (1972) four tourist types the organized mass tourist (OMT), the independent mass tourist (IMT), the explorer (EXP), and the drifte r (DTR). Participants chose one statement that described their travel patterns best. Part thirteen contained questions related

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86 to the participants gender, marital status, age, annual family income, class standing, and racial background. The questions were presented in a fixed choice format, except for the question about the age of the participants, which aske d them to write the year they were born. Participants The face and content v alidity of the instrume nt were established using an undergraduate research methods class during Summer A 2007. Changes in the wording and general usability of the questionnaire were made. The students also previewed the DVDs and made suggestions on the intervention that were subse quently incorporated into the data collection protocol. The sample used was a convenient sample. Th e participants were co llege students ages 18 years and over at a large Southeastern Universi ty. The sample size was 82 college students. These were students enrolled in two Summer B classes 2007 and two Fall 2007 classes. Participants were asked the following pre-sc reening questions: 1) Are you a U.S. citizen born in the United States? 2) Have you ever been to Bulgaria? and 2) Have you accessed any travel brochures or come in contact with other tourist advertising information of Bulgaria? When a respondent answered no to question on e he/she was thanked and the participant was precluded from taking part in the study as se veral students were foreign-born. No students responded that they saw promotional material of Bulgaria or that visi ted the country. These questions allowed the researcher to control for familiarity from personal experience and for the formation of an induced image from promotional ma terials prior to this study. A prior visit to the destination has been argued that influences and modifies an indivi duals image of that destination (Fakeye & Crompton, 1991; Millman & Pizam, 1995). Of the 82 participants 15 were males (18.3%) and 67 females (81.7%). Demographics and tourist role experiences are presented in Table 3-1 at the end of the chapter. As expected 64.7% of the students were between the ages of 18 and 21, 31.7% were between 22 and 24 and 3.6%

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87 were between 25 and 33 years old. In terms of family income (including their parents) 14.6% reported that their family income was be low $25,000 a year, 8.5% reported it was between $25,001 and $50,000, 11% reported $50,001 and $75,000, 22% reported $75,001 and $100,000, 8.5% between $100,001 and $125,000, 6.1% between $125,001 and $150,000 and 25.6% reported family income over $125,001. Only one st udent reported that he/she was married or partnered and the rest were single. The racial breakdown of the sample was as follows: 68.3% were white of non-Hispanic or igin, 13.4% were Hispanic; 8.5% black, 4.9% other (including multi-racial), 3.7% were Asian or Pacific Islande r, and 1.2% Native American. In terms of the students class standing senior s constituted the largest group 67.1%, followed by juniors 19.5%, freshman 7.3%, graduate student s 4.9% and 1.2% sophomores. In terms of travel experience 25.6% (n = 21) ha ve never traveled inte rnationally, 41.5 % (n = 34) traveled one to two times, 19.5% (n = 16) ha ve traveled three to four times and 13.44% n = 11) have traveled five or more times. In term s of travel to Europe 63.4% (n = 52) have never traveled to Europe, 26.8% (n = 22) have been on e-two times, 7.3% (n = 6) have been three to four times and 2.4% (n = 2) have been five or mo re times. In terms of students tourist roles those who were classified as explorers ha d the highest percentage 42.7%, followed by the independent mass tourist 30.5%, th e organized mass tourist 19.5% and finally the drifter 4.9%. Data Analysis Participants Demographics, Travel Experi ences, and Tourist Roles and Information Sources Descriptive statistics were used on all of the variables to gain an overall picture of the data. Data were analyzed usi ng the Statistical P ackage for Soci al Sciences (SPSS) version 15.

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88 Analysis of the Research Questions The following statistics were used: Cronbachs alpha, independent sa m ples t-test, paired difference t-test, cross-tabulation, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), a nd multiple regression. Cronbachs alpha was used to determine the intern al consistency of the image items and scale. Pre-test Research Question 1 1a. W hat is the level of awaren ess of Bulgaria as a tourist destination among U.S. college students? Descriptive statistics and frequenc ies were reported on awareness of Bulgaria as a destination. 1b. Does the level of awareness vary by previous international travel experience? Cross-tabulation was used to analyze differen ces in awareness in terms of (i) previous international travel experience and ( ii) previous travel to Europe. 1c. Does the level of awareness vary by tourist ro le preference? Crosstabulation was used to assess differences in awareness according to tourist role preference. 1d. Does level of awareness vary by gender? Crosstabulation was used to determine diffe rences in awareness according to gender. Pre-test Research Question 2 2a. W hat is the level of familiarity with Bulgaria among U.S. college students? Descriptive statistics were used to attain the familiarity level of students. Familiarity was operationalized in two ways: (i) examin ing the response to the question How familiar/knowledgeable do you consider yourself to be with Bulgaria?; and (ii) in terms of the responses to the 17 knowledge items related to knowledge about Bulgaria. The students who answered correctly to a know ledge statement were assigned one point, those who answered incorrectly were assigned zero and those who did not know the an swer were counted as missing.

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89 A sum score was calculated with a possible rang e between 0 and 17. A higher score would mean the student has a higher level of familia rity based on knowledge of Bulgaria. 2b. Does familiarity vary by previous international tr avel experience? Frequencies were reported on familiarity and past travel experience both international and specifically to Europe. Independent samples t-te sts were used to examine the influence of (i) past international travel experience on self-rated fa miliarity and (ii) influence of previous travel to Europe on self-rated familiarity. In a ddition, non-parametric Mann-Whitney tests were performed to further examine these influences. Independent samples t-tests were also used to examine (i) the influence of prior international tr avel experience and (ii) travel to Europe on the total familiarity/knowledge score based on the 17 knowledge items. Mann-Whitney tests wee also used. 2c. Does familiarity vary by tourist role preference? Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to eval uate the relationship be tween (i) tourist role preference and self-rated familia rity and (ii) sum knowledge score. A non-parametric test Kruskal-Wallis test, equivalent to ANOVA, was also used to examine the relationship. 2d. Does familiarity differ by gender? Independent t-tests were used to examine the effect of gender on (i) self-rated familiarity and (ii) knowledge sum scores. Mann-Whitney tests were us ed due to violation of some assumptions. Post-test Research Question 2 2e. Followin g the intervention, what is the particip ants level of familiarity and is it different from familiarity before the intervention? Descriptives were reported on self-rated familiarity and familiarity based on the 17 knowledge items after the intervention. In addition, paired t-tests were used to measure differences on both the self-rated familiarity and familiarity based on the knowledge items pre-test and post-test.

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90 2f. What influence does previous international experience have on the level of familiarity following the intervention? Independent samples t-tests were used to examine the influence of (i) previous international travel experience and (ii) previous travel to Europe on the self-rated familiarity. Non-parametric Mann-Whitney tests were used also. Independe nt samples t-tests were used to examine differences in familiarity based on the knowledge items according to (i) prior international travel experience and (ii) prior travel to Europe. Again, Mann-Whitney tests were used. 2g. What influence does tourist role preference have on the level of familiarity following the intervention? ANOVA was used to examine (i) differences in se lf-rated familiarity among the four tourist roles and again to examine (ii) differences in the sum knowledge score among th ese tourist roles. A Kruskal-Wallis test was used to examine differences. 2h. What influence does gender have on the leve l of familiarity following the intervention? Independent samples t-tests were used to examine the effect of gender on (i) self-rated familiarity and (ii) sum knowledge score. Mann-Whitney test s were used to further examine the effect of gender on familiarity. Pre-test Research Question 3 3a. W hat organic images of Bulgar ia do U.S. college students hold? Descriptive statistics were generated for the 36 image items and overall image of Bulgaria. Factor analysis of the items a nd Cronbachs alpha (a measure of the internal consistency of the items and the scale) were not used as the data contained missing values due to the use of dont know category. Instead, five imag e categories were created based on the literature Descriptive statistics of the categories were reported. 3b. Does the overall organic image vary by previous international travel experience?

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91 Independent samples t-tests were used to examine the influence of previous international travel experience and travel to Europe on the overall image. In addition, Mann-Whitney tests were used. 3c. Does the overall organic image vary by tourist role preference? ANOVA was used to examine the influence of tourist role preference on the overall organic image. A Kruskal-Wallis test was also used due to a violation of the normality assumption. 3d. Does the overall organic image vary by gender? An independent samples t-test was used to examine gender differences organic image. In addition, a Mann-Whitney test was used. Post-test Research Question 3 3e. Following the intervention, do the induced and overall im ages held by U.S. college students vary from their organic images? Cronbachs alpha was used to evaluate the intern al consistency of the image scale and the five image categories. Paired t-tests were used to test differences in the 36 image items, the five image categories, and the overall imag e before and after intervention. 3f. Does the induced overall image vary by previous international travel experience? Independent samples t-tests were used to examine (i) differences in the overall image according to prior international travel expe rience and (ii) prior travel to Europe. Mann-Whitney tests were used due to violation of the normality assumption. 3g. Does the induced overall image vary by tourist role preference? ANOVA was used to examine the difference in ov erall image among the four tourist roles. A Kruskal-Wallis test followed due to the normality assumption violation. 3h. Does the induced overall image vary by gender?

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92 An independent samples t-test was used to examine difference in the overall image between males and females. A Mann-Whitney test was also used. Research Question 4 4a. W hat are the travel intentions of U.S. college students towards Bulgaria as a vacation destination after the intervention? Frequencies and descriptives were reported to answer this question. 4b. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria in the next five y ears vary by previous international travel experience? Independent samples t-tests were used to examine differences in intentions to visit according to (i) prior international travel experience and (ii) prior travel to Europe. Mann-Whitney tests were used. 4c. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria in the next five year s vary by tourist role preference? ANOVA was used to exam ine differences in intent to visit Bulgaria in the next five years according to tourist role preference. A Kruskal-Wallis test were also used to examine differences. 4d. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgar ia in the next five years vary by gender? An independent samples t-test was used to exam ine differences in inte nt to visit among males and females. A Mann-Whitney test was used also. Research Question 5 Following the intervention, what is the rela tionship am ong the overall induced image of Bulgaria among U.S. college students, their fam iliarity levels (both self-rated and knowledgebased) and intent to travel in the next five years?

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93 Standard multiple regression was used to examine this relationship and predict intent to travel to Bulgaria. Predictors in the analysis were ove rall image, self-rated familiarity and knowledgebased familiarity, where intent to visit was predicted. The following chapter reports the results of this analysis.

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94 Table 3-1. Participants dem ographic characteristics and t ourist role preference (N=82) Characteristic n % Age 18-21 53 64.7 22-24 26 31.7 25-33 3 3.6 Class Standing Freshman 6 7.3 Sophomore 1 1.2 Junior 16 19.5 Senior 55 67.1 Graduate student 4 4.9 Gender Female 67 81.7 Male 15 18.3 Annual family income ($) 25,000 or less 12 15.2 25,001-50,000 7 8.9 50,001-75,000 9 11.4 75,001-100,000 18 22.8 100,001-125,000 7 8.9 125,001-150,000 5 6.3 150,001 or more 21 26.6 Racial background Asian or Pacific Islander 3 3.7 Black non-Hispanic 7 8.5 White non-Hispanic 56 68.3 Hispanic 11 13.4 Native American/ American Indian 1 1.2 Tourist role preference Organized mass tourist 16 19.5 Independent mass tourist 25 30.5 Explorer 35 42.7 Drifter 4 4.9 Note Percentages may not equal to 100 due to missing data.

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95 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS This chapter presents the results of th e st udy and is organized according to each of the research questions. The findings before and af ter exposure to the stimulus pertaining to 1) awareness of Bulgaria as a tourist destination; 2) familiarity with Bulgaria; 3) image of Bulgaria; and 4) intent to travel to Bulgaria are presented. Awareness Pre-test Research Question 1 1a. What is the level of awareness of Bulgaria as a tourist destination among U.S. college students? Respondents were asked if they had heard of Bulgaria and those who had were considered as being aw are of the country. Out of a total sa mple of 82 students, 89% (n = 73) had heard of Bulgaria and 11% (n = 9) had not When asked what types of re sources they had used to learn about Bulgaria, 52.4% (n = 43) re ported that they had not used any resources, followed by 15.9% (n = 13) who had taken a related history or ge ography class, 12.2% (n = 10) reported movies, and 11% (n = 9) of students reported their source as news programs. 1b. Does the level of awareness vary by previous interna tional travel experience? In terms of previous internat ional travel experience 25.6% (n = 21) reported they have never been abroad, 41.5% (n = 34) have traveled one-two times, 19.5% (n = 16) have traveled three-four times and 13.4% (n = 11) have traveled five or more times. Cross-tabulation was used to analyze such differences in awareness. Due to small expected counts when all responses for previous international travel expe rience were considered from never traveled to traveled five or mo re times, the respondents were grouped in two categories: never traveled internationally (n = 21) and traveled internationally one or more times (n = 61). Frequencies were examined to compare percentages of thos e who have heard of

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96 Bulgaria and their international travel experien ce. Out of those who have heard of Bulgaria 72.6% (n = 53) had traveled in ternationally one or more tim es and 27.4% (n = 20) had not traveled internationally. Out of those who had not heard of Bulgaria, 88.9% (n = 8) had traveled abroad and 11.1% (n = 1) had not. In other wo rds, it was more likely for those who have traveled internationally to have heard of Bulgaria but also it was more likely for such a person to not have heard of Bulgaria. Therefore, it can be concluded that prio r international travel somewhat influenced an indivi duals level of awareness. The chi-square test of significance for th ese participants was invalid due to the occurrence of an expected value of less than five in one of the ce lls of the 2x2 table. Instead, the use of Fishers exact test is suggested by several authors (Morgan, Leec h, Gloeckner, & Barrett, 2004; Sirkin, 1999). The Fishers test yielded p = .44 for a two-sided test. The cut-off significance level for this test was p .05 so it can be concluded that the observed distribution of awareness and international travel experience cannot be sa id to be significantly different from a distribution obtained by chance (Garson, n.d.a). In terms of prior travel to Europe, 63.4% (n = 52) of the students reported they have never been to Europe, 26.8% (n = 22) have trav eled one-two times, 7.3% (n = 6) have been three-four times and 2.4% (n = 2) have traveled fi ve or more times. Crosstabulation was used to examine differences in awareness according to pr ior travel to Europe. Results indicated that 36.6% (n = 30) have traveled one or more times to Europe and 63.4% (n = 52) have not. Out of those who have heard of Bulgaria 60.3% (n = 44) had not traveled to Europe previously and 39.7% (n = 29) have traveled to Europe one or more times. In a ddition, out of those not aware of Bulgaria a high percentage 88.9% (n = 8) have not traveled to Europe and only 11.1% (n = 1) reported they have traveled to Europe. Therefore, these percentages reveal that travel to Europe

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97 did not influence the level of awareness of st udents with Bulgaria. Due to low expected frequencies, the Fishers exact te st is reported, p = .15 for a two-si ded test. Thus, it could not be established that travel to Europe had a significant influence on aw areness. However, as shown in Table 4-1 the results show that a higher per centage of respondents who were not aware of Bulgaria have never been to Europe compared to those who have traveled to Europe. To examine this relationship further the odds ratio was calculated (Field, 20 05; Howell, 2002). The odds ratio is calculated by divi ding the odds of those who have traveled to Europe and have heard of Bulgaria by the odds that those who have never traveled to Europe have not heard of Bulgaria (Table 4-2). The resulting odds ratio of 5.3 suggests that if so meone had visited Europe he/she was 5.3 times more likely to ha ve heard (or were aware)of Bulgaria. 1c. Does the level of awareness vary by tourist role preference? The distribution of the four tourist roles across the sam ple was: 42.7% (n = 35) of the respondents classified themselves as explorer s (EXP), 30.5% (n = 25) were independent mass tourists (IMT), 19.5% (n = 16) were organized mass tourists (OMT) and 4.9% (n = 4) were drifters (DTR) (Table 3-1). Th is distribution is consistent wi th the one found by Qi (2005) and Lepp and Gibson (2003) using the same ques tionnaire item with similar samples of undergraduates from the same university. Crosst abulation was used to examine differences in awareness according to tourist role preference (four roles) in a 2x4 table. Due to the low expected frequencies (less than 5) in several cells chi-square wa s not valid. When examining the statistics in Table 4-3 the following can be observed. The per centage of those who have heard of Bulgaria within each role decreased as the travel ers desire for familiarity increased, where the highest level of awareness was among the OM T 93.8% (n = 15), followed by the IMT 92% (n = 23), the EXP 85.7% (n = 30) and the lowest was am ong the DTR 75% (n = 3). A similar pattern was observed among those who have not heard of the country within the roles in an ascending

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98 pattern. Out of those who have not heard of th e country 6.3% (n = 1) were OMT, 8% (n = 2) were IMT, 14.3% (n = 5) were EXP and 25% (n= 1) were DTR. According to Morgan et al. (2004), the coeffici ent Phi (for 2x2 tables) or Cramers V (for larger tables) are appropriate measures of associ ation between the two cate gorical variables. In larger tables and in this case in a 2x4 table Phi and Cramers V are the same, ( = 0.15, p = 0.63) (Table 4-3). However, due to the small expected values in the table, in terpretation of Phi should be used with caution. In this case the strength of the association and therefore, the effect size is about 15%, which is small according to Cohe n (1977) (over 10% and up to 30% constitutes a small effect size). This can be interpreted that the type of tourist role had little effect on whether individuals were awar e of Bulgaria. 1d. Does level of awareness differ by gender? Crosstabulation was used to exam ine di fference in awareness by gender. When percentages of whether an indivi dual had heard of Bulgaria or not were compared within each gender category a higher percent of males had heard of the country 93.3% (n = 14) compared to females 88.1% (n = 59). In addition, a higher per cent of females 11.9% (n = 8) had not heard of the country compared to males 6.7% (n = 1). A look at the odds ratio represents well the relationship between awareness and gender. Th e odds of a male being aware were 14 and the odds of a female being aware were 7.38. This gives a resulting odds ratio of 14 to 7.38, which equals to 1.9. This means that males were 1.9 tim es more likely to have heard (or were aware)of Bulgaria. After running the analysis due to the occu rrence of an expected count of less than five it was determined that chi-square was invalid. The Fishers exact test yielded p = 1, which does not provide useful information about th e relationship between the variables.

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99 Familiarity Pre-test Research Question 2 2a. What is the level of familiarity with Bulgar ia among U.S. college students? Level of familiarity with Bulgaria was meas ured in two ways. First, respondents were asked to rate their level of familiarity with Bulgar ia on a five-point Likert-type scale (1=not at all familiar, 2=slightly familiar, 3=fairly familiar, 4=quite familiar, 5=very familiar). Before the intervention out of the total samp le of 82 students 87.8% (n = 72) reported they were not at all familiar with Bulgaria, 9.8% (n=8) responded they were slightly familiar, and 1.2% (n = 1) reported they were fairly familiar and 1.2% (n = 1) also reported they were very familiar with the destination (Table 4-4). Second, familiarity with Bulgaria was m easured using 17 knowledge items (Kim & Pennington-Gray, 2004). Knowledge of Bulgaria was expressed by the sum of responses to the 17 knowledge items. Respondents received one point for each correctly given answer. They received zero points for inco rrect answers or answering Dont know. Those who had an incorrect answer or did not know the answer were counted as missing, which comprised 28% (n = 23) of respondents. No student responded corr ectly to all 17 statements. The range of responses was between 0 and 14 (M = 4.68, SD = 3.46). Only 1.2% (n = 1) of the respondents scored 14 and 3.7% (n = 3) scored zero points. 2b. Does familiarity vary by previous international travel experience? Independent sam ples t-tests were used to exam ine the effects of prior international travel and travel to Europe on self-rated familiarity and the familiarity sum score based on the 17 knowledge items. First, an independent samples ttest tested the effect of prior international travel experience on self-rated familiarity. The eq uality of variance assumption was not violated, however, the two sample sizes were unequal (n = 21 never traveled internationally and n = 61

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100 traveled internationally), and the normality assumption was violated. Those who had traveled internationally were not more familiar with Bulgaria (M = 1.16, SD = 0.52) compared to those with no international travel experience (M = 1.14, SD = 0.36). The test was not significant t(80) = -0.17, p = .86, thus previous international tr avel experience had no effect on self-rated familiarity (Table 4-5). According to Cohen (1977) moderate violations of the parametric tests assumptions have minor influence on Type I ( -level, probability of having effect in the population, when actually there is no effect) and Type II error ( probability of not having an effect when actually there is an eff ect). However, due to the violation of normality a nonparametric Mann-Whitney test was perfor med, which also showed no significance U = 625.50, p = .78. An independent-samples t-test was used to exam ine the influence of prior travel to Europe on self-rated familiarity level. The groups were of unequal sizes and equality of variances and normality assumptions were violated. Those who have never been to Europe had a slightly higher familiarity level (M = 1.21, SD = 0.57) compar ed to those who have traveled to Europe one or more times (M = 1.07, SD = 0.25), however, those differences were not large enough to be significant t(76.15) = 1.58, p = 0.12 (Table 4-6). In addition, a Mann-Whitney test was used, which resulted in a non-significant outcome, U = 710.00, p = .24. Independent samples t-tests were used to examine the effect of international travel and travel to Europe on the total familiarity/knowledge score based on the 17 knowledge items. In terms of international travel thos e who have previously traveled had a slightly higher knowledge score (M = 4.83, SD = 3.67) compared to those w ho have not traveled internationally (M = 4.00, SD = 2.32). However, the difference was not la rge enough to be significant, t(57) = -0.72, p = .48 (Table 4-5). The sample sizes were different and the normality assumption was violated for

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101 those who have traveled abroad more than once, however, the equality of variances assumption was not violated. A Mann-Whitney test wa s also performed U = 245.00, p = .71, however, no significance of previous international travel on the familiarity score was observed. When an independent t-test was performed to examine the influence of travel to Europe on the sum familiarity score the normality assumption was violated for those who have been to Europe, however, equality of variances was not vi olated. Those who have traveled to Europe had a slightly higher knowledge score (M = 4.77, SD = 3.66) compared to those who have never been to Europe (M = 4.62, SD =3.39). Results showed no significant difference of previous travel to Europe on the familiarity score t(57 ) = -0.16, p = .87 (Table 4-6). A Mann-Whitney test was performed, which also indica ted no significance, U = 399.50, p = .91. Therefore, it appears that self-rated familiarity and fam iliarity based on the knowledge score did not significantly differ according to prio r international travel experience or previous travel to Europe. 2c. Does familiarity vary by touris t role preference? An Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to evaluate the relationship between tourist role preference and self-rated familiarity. The independent variable tourist role had four categories: OMT, IMT, EXP and DTR. The dependent variable was self-rated familiarity. The normality assumption was violated in addition to the une qual sample sizes, however, the homogeneity of variances assumption was not violated. The ANOVA did not indicate significant differences in self-rated familiarity across the f our tourist roles, F(3, 76) = 0.53, p = .66 (Table 4-7). Due to the deviation from the normal distribution of fam iliarity among the four roles a non-parametric alternative to ANOVA the Kruskal-Wallis test wa s used. Results showed that familiarity was not significantly affected by the type of tourist role H(3) = 1.26, p = .74.

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102 Familiarity differences among the four roles we re also examined in terms of the sum of the 17 knowledge items. Normality of the sum score was assessed among the four groups with the Shapiro-Wilk statistic, which indicated violation of the assumption for the explorer role, however, for the drifter due to the small sample (n = 3) the normality statistic was deemed not reliable. The homogeneity of variances assu mption was not violated and ANOVA indicated no significant difference at the p .05 level among the four roles in the familiarity score, F(3, 54) = 2.29, p = .09 (Table 4-7). In addition, the Kruska l-Wallis test was performed. Results showed that familiarity based on the knowledge items was not significantly influe nced by the preference for the four roles, H(3) = 5.38, p = .15. 2d. Does familiarity differ by gender? First, an independent-samples ttest was used to test the effect of gender on self-rated familiarity. The equality of variance assumpti on was not violated, although the two groups were of unequal sizes and the normality assumption was vi olated. The familiarity level of females (M = 1.16, SD = 0.51) was similar to that of the male s (M = 1.13, SD = 0.35). Results indicated that males and females were not significantly different on self-rated familiarity, t(80) = -0.22, p = .83. A Mann-Whitney test was also conducted, indicating no significant influe nce of gender on selfrated familiarity, U = 497.50, p = .92. In terms of gender differences in the su m of knowledge items the result of the independent t-test showed that males and female s did not differ significantly in their knowledge score, t(57) = 0.17, p = .86. However, males on average had a slightly higher knowledge score (M = 4.88, SD = 3.48) compared to females (M = 4.65, SD = 3.49). It should be noted that the normality assumption was violated for males only. Both groups were of unequal sizes, however, there was equality of variances. A Mann-Whitney test was also conducted and resulted in a non significant statistic U = 192.00, p = .79.

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103 Post-test Research Question 2 2e. Following the intervention, what is the par ticipants level of familiarity and is it different from familiarity before the intervention? In terms of self-rated familiarity 46.3 % (n = 38) of the respondents were slightly familiar with Bulgaria, 39% (n = 32) were fairly familiar, 13.4 (n = 11) were quite familiar and 1.2% (n = 1) were very familiar. When compared with fam iliarity levels before the intervention when 87.8% (n = 72) considered themselves not at all familiar, after the intervention 85.3% (n = 70) considered themselves slightly or fairly familiar (Table 4-4). In terms of familiarity based on the sum of the 17 knowledge items, the students res ponses ranged from 5 to 14 (indicating correct) answers (M = 9.00, SD = 2.22). Familiarity levels before and after the interven tion were examined using paired t-tests. First, a paired t-test was used to measure difference in the pre and post self-rated familiarity levels. Results showed that familiarity leve ls after stimulus exposure (M = 2.70, SD = 0.75) were significantly higher than familiarity before the intervention (M = 1.16, SD = 0.48), t(81) = 16.12, p < .001 (Table 4-8). The effect size d was calculated as follows: d = M/SD and equaled to -1.78. According to Green and Salkind (2003) a value of d above 0.8 regardless of sign is considered a large effect size. The effect size in this case indica tes the degree to which the mean of the difference scores veers from zero in standard deviation units. In other words, there was a great variance in the sum score befo re and after the intervention. A paired difference t-test was used to examine difference in knowledge-based sum familiarity scores preand post-test. Out of the 82 respondents 59 responses were used in the analysis (all those who answered dont know we re counted as missing da ta). Results showed that the mean sum score of the post-test familia rity (M = 9.0, SD = 2.22) was significantly higher than the pre-test score (M = 4.68, SD = 3.46), t(58) = -10.20, p<.001 (Table 4-8). The effect size

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104 index d = -1.33, indicating a large effect attesting to the large difference in the mean scores before and after the intervention. Therefore, self-rated familiarity and familiarity based on the knowledge score were significantly higher after exposure to the stimulus. 2f. What influence does previous international experience have on th e level of familiarity follow ing the intervention? An independent samples t-test was used to evaluate whether there were significant differences in the post-test self-rated familiari ty levels among those who have never traveled internationally and those who have. The normality assumption was violated and the two samples were unequal, however, variances we re equal. Results indicated that those who have traveled internationally were on average slightly more familiar with Bulgaria (M = 2.72, SD = 0.78) compared to those who have not traveled in ternationally (M = 2.62, SD = 0.67), however, the difference was not significant t(80) = -0.54, p = 59 (Table 4-9). A Mann-Whitney test was used due to the violation of the normality assumption. This test also resulted in non-significant influence of international travel on self-rated familiarity, U = 606.50, p = .69. An independent samples t-test was used to examine differences in self-rated familiarity among those who have traveled to Europe and those who have not. The test statistic was calculated similarly to th at outlined above in regards to meet ing of the assumptions. Those who have not traveled to Europe were slightly more familiar with Bulgaria (M = 2.73, SD = 0.77) compared to those who have traveled to Europe (M = 2.63, SD = 0.72). The difference; however, was not significant t(80) = 0.57, p = .57 (T able 4-10). A Mann-Whitney test was also used resulting in non-significant differences among those who have and have not been to Europe, U = 731.00, p = .61. Similar analyses were used to examine how familiarity based on the 17 knowledge items was influenced by both international travel and travel to Europe. For both, the normality

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105 assumption was violated and the sample sizes were unequal, however, the va riances were equal. Results from the independent samples t-test ex amining differences according to international travel indicated that those who have traveled internationally had a slightly higher knowledge score (M = 8.87, SD = 2.32) compared to those w ith no international travel experience (M = 8.29, SD = 1.87). No significance was observed t(80 ) = -1.04, p = .30 (Table 4-9). A MannWhitney test was used due to the violation of the normality assumption. No significant difference was observed among those who have tr aveled and those who have not traveled internationally, U = 544.50, p = .30. In terms of travel to Europe the average know ledge score of those who have traveled to Europe was slightly higher (M = 8.83, SD = 2.45) than the score of those who have not been to Europe (M = 8.65, SD = 2.09). However, the difference between the two groups was not significant, t(80) = -0.35, p = .73 (Table 4-10) The Mann-Whitney test also showed no significance, U = 762.50, p = .87. Overall, there were no differences in the self-rated familiarity and familiarity based on the knowledge score among the groups of students based on their prior international travel experience a nd specifically travel to Europe. 2g. What influence does tourist role preference have on the level of familiarity follow ing the intervention? ANOVA was used to examine the relationship betw een the tourist roles and familiarity. In terms of self-rated familiarity, the sample sizes were unequal and the normality assumption was violated; however, the homogeneity of va riances was not violat ed. ANOVA indicated no significant differences among the four tourist roles in self-rated familiarity following the intervention, F(3,76) = 0.35, p = .79 (Table 4-11). Due to violation of the normality assumption the Kruskal-Wallis a non-parametric test was conducted; however, the influence of the four roles on self-rated familiarity was non-significant, H(3) = 1.2, p = .75.

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106 In terms of familiarity based on the sum of the knowledge items, homogeneity of variances assumption was violated and the normali ty assumption was violated for the EXP. The normality test for the DTR was also violated; howe ver, this result is not reliable because of the small sample (n = 4). When variances are not homogenous Field (2005) suggested that researchers report the Welch Fratio, which indicated a significant difference among the four roles on the familiarity sum score afte r the intervention, F(3, 27.69) = 19.40, p < .001, = .20, where is the effect size used as an accurate measure of the effect. In this case this is a large effect according to Cohen, 1977) (Table 4-12). A Games-Howell post-hoc test, appropriate when there is a violation of homogeneity of variances (Field, 2005), revealed the differences among the four tourist roles. The drifter di ffered significantly from the other three groups: OMT, IMT, and EXP, p < .001. A look at the means confirms that the means for OMT, IMT and EXP are very similar and different from the DTR mean (Table 4-13). In addition, the KruskalWallis test was performed, however, the significan ce was at a higher level of Type I error p = 0.1, H(3) = 6.46, p = .09. Overall, there were differe nces in familiarity with Bulgaria among the respondents classifying themselves as drifters. They tended to know more about Bulgaria as assessed by the knowledge score. However, there were no differences among respondents classifying themselves according to the four tour ist roles and their self-rated familiarity with Bulgaria following the intervention. 2h. What influence does gender have on the le vel of familiarity follo w ing the intervention? An independent sample t-test was used to examine the effect of gender on self-rated familiarity after the intervention. The group si zes for males and females were unequal and the normality assumption was violated, although equality of variances was achieved. Familiarity was slightly higher among females (M = 2.76, SD = 0.76) compared to males (M = 2.40, SD =

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107 0.63), however, no significant differences were found t(80) = -1.71, p = .09 at = .05. Results from the Mann-Whitney test were also not significant, U = 369.00, p = .80. An independent-samples t-test was used to examine differences between males and females on the familiarity sum score after the intervention. The normality assumption was violated for the females only and equality of va riances assumption was not violated. After the intervention females reported a slightly higher familiarity level (M = 8.76, SD = 2.24) than the males (M = 8.53, SD = 2.17) where t(80) = -0.36, p = .72 was not significant. In addition, results from the Mann-Whitney test showed no significance among males and females on the familiarity sum score, U = 471.50, p = .71. Image Pre-test Research Question 3 3a. What organic and overall images of Bu lgaria do U.S. college students hold? Thirty-six item s were used to examine the organic images of Bulgaria among the participants. Due to substantial missing data, th e internal consistency of the scale could not be established with Cronbachs alpha (valid listwise n = 7). Th e mean scores and frequencies for each image item pre and post intervention are displayed in Table 4-14. Before the intervention the five items associated with the most positive image of Bulgaria were items related to culture: offers good opportunity to increase my knowledge about a different culture (M = 4.35, SD = 0.64), has rich cultural herita ge (M = 4.27, SD = 0.59), ornate c hurches and monasteries (M = 4.24, SD = 0.50) and so on. The least positive images were associated with has good beaches (M = 2.57, SD = 1.04) and has quality roads and airports (M = 2.57, SD = 0.94). Before the intervention the overall image of Bu lgaria was not very positive (M = 3.34, SD = 0.78).

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108 Factor analysis could not performed due to the large number of missing values, where missing data were items students did not give a response to or items they answered as dont know. Therefore, for further analysis five c onceptual image categorie s were created. The selection of items in each category was agreed upon by two researchers to achieve inter-rater reliability. The placement of each item was base d on Beerli and Martns (2004) dimensions and is a conceptual grouping rather than one based on statistics due to the limitation with data already discussed. A similar process was used by Lepp and Gibson (2003) to conceptually group risk related images. The following categories were created: Culture, Histor y and Art (M = 4.10, SD = 0.29); Tourist Attributes (M = 3.38, 0.55); A tmosphere (M = 3.38, 0.42); Natural Resources and Environment (M = 3.25, SD = 0.54); and Infrastru cture (M = 3.11, SD = 0.77) (Table 4-14). Missing data before the interventi on also precluded the use of Cronb achs alpha with each of the conceptual image categories. 3b. Does the overall organic image vary by previous international travel experience? Independent sam ples t-tests were used to exam ine the influence of previous international travel and previous travel to Eu rope on the overall image of Bulgar ia before the intervention. In terms of international travel experience, sub-sa mple sizes were unequal, normality was violated, however, the equality of vari ances assumption was met. The overall image was similar among those who have traveled internationally (M = 3.33, SD = 0.85) and those who have not (M = 3.29, SD = 0.61) and t-test revealed non-significant difference, t(58) = -0.17, p = .87 (Table 415). In addition, a Mann-Whitney test was also used and resulted in non significance, U = 318.50, p = .95. An independent samples t-test was used to examine the effect of previous travel to Europe on overall image. Results were similar to the re sults for international travel and the meeting of assumptions was similar. The overall image among those who have traveled to Europe was very

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109 similar (M= 3.35, SD = 0.83) to the image of thos e who have not been to Europe, (M = 3.30, SD = 0.78) and the t-test confirmed this non-significant difference, t(58) = -0.24, p = .81 (Table 416). A Mann-Whitney test was also used, resu lting in a not significant outcome, U = 414.50, p = .86. 3c. Does the overall organic imag e vary by tourist ro le preference? The relationship between tourist role preferen ce (four tourist roles) and overall organic image was examined using ANOVA. The sample sizes were unequal, however, the homogeneity of variances assumption was met. In terms of the normality assumption, the Shapiro-Wilk test statistic indicated no violation only for the orga nized mass tourist, however, the size of this group was small (n = 5), therefor e this result is not reliable. ANOVA resulte d in no significant differences among the four tourist roles with regards to overall image, F(3, 54) = 1.20, p = .32 (Table 4-17). Overall image was least positive among the organized mass tourist and it became more positive with each role and it was highest am ong the drifter. Due to the violation of the normality assumption, a Kruskal-Wallis test was us ed to test for differences among the four groups and resulted in no significance, H(3) = 3.87, p = .28. 3d. Does the overall organic image vary by gender? To test the influence of gender on the overall organic im age an independent samples t-test was used. In this case sample sizes were unequal, the normality assumption was violated, however, the equality of variances was met. Males had a slightly more positive image of Bulgaria (M = 3.50, SD = 0.54) compared to fe males (M = 3.29, SD = 0.83), however, this was not a significant difference, t(58) = 0.70, p= .49. Due to the violation of the normality assumption a Mann-Whitney test was conducte d achieving a non-significant result, U = 172.00, p = .40.

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110 Post-test Research Question 3 3e. Following the intervention, do the induced and overall induced images held by U.S. college stud ents vary from their organic images? Paired difference t-tests were used for all 36 im age items and five image categories to compare the change of the images held of Bulgaria before and after exposure to the s timulus (Table 4-14). After the intervention, re liability analysis was used and Cr onbach alpha was used to test the internal consistency of the items in each cat egory and the scale: Cu lture, History and Art category ( = .83, M = 4.40, SD = 0.39); In frastructure category ( = .78, M = 3.72, SD = 0.61); Tourist Attributions category ( = .77, M = 4.14, SD = 0.42); Natural Resources and Environment category ( = .60, M = 4.08; SD = 0.46); and Atmosphere category ( = .53, M = 3.90, SD = 0.34) (Field, 2005; Green & Salkind, 2003). No reliability coefficient for the categories was below .5, which was deemed accep table (Baumgartner & Jackson, 1999). The overall measure of reliability for all five categories was = .82. This reliability analysis was possible after the interv ention as the number of respondents who used the dont know category diminished significantly. Results from the paired t-test on the 36 ite ms showed that significant differences were evident for 28 items at p < .05 (Table 4-14). Significant differences were apparent on all items related to Culture, History and Art. Differences were not evident in the following: national parks/wilderness, offers good value for money has overcrowded areas and others. Paired difference t-tests were also used to examine differences preand post-test in the five image categories (Table 4-14). Significant differences were found fo r all clusters: Natural Resources and Environment t(11) = -7.29, p < .001; Culture, History and Art Cluster t(6) = -3.45, p = .014; Tourist Attributes Cluster t(6) = 3.96, p = .007; Atmosphere Cl uster t(9) = -3.40, p = .008; Infrastructure Cluster t(9) = -3.44, p = .007.

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111 In addition, a paired difference t-test was used to compare the overall image before exposure to the stimulus and after exposure (Tab le 4-18). Participants overall had a more positive image of Bulgaria after exposure to the stimulus (M = 4.17, SD = 0.75) compared to their image before exposure (M = 3.34, SD = 0.78). The differe nce was significant t(58) = -8.06, p <.001, d = -1.05 with a large effect. In other words, after the interv ention the overall image was significantly more positive than the overall image held before the intervention. 3f. Does the induced overall image vary by p revious intern ational travel experience? Independent samples t-tests were used to ex amine the effects of pr evious international travel and previous travel to Europe on the ove rall induced image after the intervention (Table 419). In terms of international travel, those who have never traveled internationally had a slightly more positive image of Bulgaria (M = 4.33, SD = 0.58) compared to those who have traveled abroad (M = 4.15, SD = 0.72). In this case the samples were unequal and the normality assumption was violated, however, the equality of variances assumption was met. The test statistic t(78) = 1.04, p = .30 indicate d no significant influence of previous international travel on overall image. Due to violation of the normality assumption a Mann-Whitney test was conducted with non-significant results, U = 543.50, p = .34. In terms of previous travel to Europe, th e meeting of assumptions was similar as the assumptions for international travel (Table 4-20 ). Those who have traveled to Europe had a slightly more positive image of Bulgaria (M = 4.32, SD = 0.55) compared to those who have not been to Europe (M = 4.13, SD = 0.74). Thes e differences were not large enough to be significant, t(78) = -1.17, p = .25. Due to the normality violation a Mann-Whitney test was conducted also resulting in a non-significant effect, U = 642.00, p = .32.

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112 3g. Does the induced overall image var y by tourist role p reference? ANOVA was used to evaluate th e relationship between the four tourist role groups and the induced overall image. The differences am ong the means were slight and non-significant, F(3,74) = 1.15, p= .34 (Table 4-21 and Table 422) where the homogeneity of variances assumption was met, however, sample sizes were unequal among the four tourist roles and the normality assumption was violated. Due to the violation of the normality assumption, a KruskalWallis procedure was performed, H(3) = 3.87, p = .28, indicating that there were no significant differences among the tourist role groups and participants induced overall image. 3h. Does the induced overall image vary by gender? An independent sam ples t-test was used to te st the influence of gender on induced overall image after exposure to the stimulus. The norma lity assumption was violated, the samples were unequal, however, the equality of variance was me t. Males had a slightly more positive image of Bulgaria overall (M = 4.43, SD = 0.51) compared to females (M = 4.15, SD = 0.71), however, the difference was not significant, t(78) = 1.39, p = .17. In addition, a Mann-Whitney test was completed showing no significant differences, U = 369.00, p = .18. Overall, gender, tourist role and previous international travel and tr avel to Europe had no significant influence on overall induced image befo re and after the interv ention. Overall image, however, differed before and after stimulus exposur e. Additionally, 28 image items were rated significantly more positively after the interventio n. All five image categor ies showed significant improvement post-test when means before and after intervention were compared.

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113 Intent Research Question 4 4a. What are the travel intentions of U.S. college students tow ards Bulgaria as a vacation destination after the intervention? In terms of students likelihood to travel to Bulgaria they were as ked two questions after exposure to the stimulus: 1) How likely are you to choose Bulgaria as you r next international vacation destination? and 2) Do you plan to travel to Bulgaria in the next five years for vacation purposes? The responses to both questions ranged fr om very unlikely = 1 to very likely = 5. To be able to compare these results with their travel plans students were also asked 3) Do you plan to travel abroad in the ne xt five years for vacation purposes ? And 4) Do you plan to travel to Europe in the next five years for vacation purposes? Reponses were based on the same Likerttype scale. Respondents they were unlikely" to choose Bulg aria as their next vacation destination (M = 2.26, SD = 0.87). They were a little less likely to visit Bulgaria in the next five years (M = 2.17, SD = 0.99). Students were more lik ely to travel abroad during the next five years (M = 3.90, SD = 1.18) and studen ts were also more likely to tr avel to Europe in the next five years (M = 3.80, SD = 1.19) (Table 4-23). Thirty-nine percent (n = 32) of respondents said they were un likely to choose Bulgaria as their next vacation destination, followed by 3.97% (n = 27) who responde d slightly likely. None of the respondents reported they were very likely to choose Bulgaria as their next international vacation destination. In terms of travel to Bulgar ia in the next five years the distribution was as follows: 42.7% (n = 35) were unlikely, followed by 26.8% (n = 22) very unlikely. Only 1.2% (n = 1) respond ed he/she is very likely to tr avel to Bulgaria within five years (Table 4-23).

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114 Respondents were, however, more likely to trav el abroad and to Europe in the next five years. For example, 64.7% (n = 52) indicated th ey were very likely or likely to travel abroad, whereas, 59.8% (n =49) were very likely or likely to travel to Europe (Table 4-23). 4b. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria in the next five years vary by previous international travel ex perience? Independent samples t-tests were used to examine the effect of international travel and travel to Europe on respondents likelihood to travel to Bulgaria in the next five years. In terms of international travel, sample sizes were unequal, the normality assumption was violated, however, the equality of variance assumption was met. T hose who have not traveled internationally had similar intent to travel to Bulgaria (M = 2.19, SD = 0.98) compared to those who have traveled internationally (M = 2.16, SD = 1.00) (Table 4-24). There were no significant differences between the two groups, t(80) = 0.11, p = .82. In addition, a Mann-Whitney test was performed, which was also non-significant, U = 628.50, p = .89. An independent samples t-test was used to examine the influence of prior travel to Europe on the intent to visit Bulgaria in the next five years. The meeting of the assumptions was similar. The difference between the likelihood to visit Bulgaria in the next five years was minimally higher but non-significant among those w ho have traveled to Europe (M = 2.20, SD = 1.03) compared to those who have not trav eled (M = 2.15, SD = 0.98), t(80) = -0.20, p = 0.37 (Table 4-25). Results from a Mann-Whitney test showed no significance of travel to Europe on intent, U = 758.50, p = .83. 4c. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria vary by tourist ro le preference? ANOVA was used to examine the relationship between intentions and tourist role preference. Sample sizes were unequal, norma lity was violated for all except DTR, however, due to the low number of respondents in that category (n = 4) the nor mality test cannot be

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115 considered reliable. In addition, the homoge neity of variances assumption was violated, therefore the Welchs F is reported, F(3, 12.91) = 1.42, p = .28 (Table 4-26). The resulting F statistic indicates no significant di fference in intent to travel am ong the four tourist roles. In addition, the Kruskal-Wallis test was perfor med, H(3) = 4.27, p = .23 also indicating no significant differences. 4d. Do these travel intentions to visit Bulgaria vary by gender? An independent sam ples t-test was used to examine the effect of gender on intent. The distribution of intention was not normal and the sample sizes were unequal, however, the variances were equal. Females were more likely to travel to Bulgaria in th e next five years (M = 2.22, SD = 0.98) compared to their male coun terparts (M = 1.93, SD = 1.03), however, the differences were not significant, t(80) = -1.03, p = .86. In addition, a Mann-Whitney test confirmed the non-significant difference, U = 408.00, p = .23. Overall, differences in past international trav el, travel to Europe, t ourist role preference, and gender did not significantly infl uence the intent of respondents to visit Bulgaria in the next five years. Research Question 5 5a. Following the intervention, what is the relationship among overall induced image of Bulgaria among U.S. college students, thei r familiarity levels (both self-rated an d knowledge-based) and intent to tr avel in the next five years? Standard multiple regression analysis was used to predict intent to travel to Bulgaria for vacation purposes in the next five years. The pr edictors used were overall induced image, posttest self-rated familiarity, and knowledge-based familiarity (from 17 items obtained after the intervention). Other possible i ndependent variables such as gende r, prior international travel experience and tourist role were considerations for the model, however, the intent pre-test questions revealed no significant influence of these variables on intent, therefore, these variables

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116 were not included in the model. In addition, their measurement le vel differed, i.e. nominal level and further transformation of the vari ables would have been necessary. All three predictors were entered simultaneou sly, as studies have not concluded the order of image and familiaritys influence on intent. No multicollinearity was detected, which means that there was no interdependence of the predictors (Garson, n.d). On e influential case was obtained after case diagnos tics were assessed and it was determined that since there was only one case its influence was not investigated further. The assumption that the regression errors are independent has been met as the Durbin-Watson statistic equals to 1.88, which is close to 2 (Field, 2005). The three predictors overall imag e, self-rated familiarity and the familiarity sum score did not explain a sizeable portion of the variance, R2 = .08, adjusted R2 = .04, F(3,76) = 2.08, p = .11 (Table 4-27). In fact, overall imag e and the two types of familiarity account for only 8% of variation in intent to travel to Bulgaria. This model did not improve the ability to predict intent to visit Bulgaria. In terms of i ndividual relationships betw een intent to visit and overall image, for example, when the ot her two variables are held constant ( = 0.19, p < .1) image had a non-significant positive relationship w ith intent. Self-rated familiarity level had a non-significant positive relationshi p with intent to travel ( = 0.12, p = .28). Familiarity level based on the sum knowledge score also had nonsi gnificant positive relationship with intent to visit Bulgaria ( = 0.12, p = .28). Results indicated no si gnificant relationship between intent and all three independent variab les. It can be concluded th at other variables have more pronounced influence on the intent to travel to Bulgaria and should be added to this model in future research. Summary This study s ought to investigate the relationshi ps between familiarity, awareness, image, and intent to travel and other i ndependent variables (prior internat ional travel experience, tourist

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117 role preference, and gender) in relation to Bulgaria. Some results were contrary to the researchers expectations and others were confirmed. Most notable were the statistically significant increases in self-rated familiarity, knowledge-based familiarity, and overall image and the change of image in the five categories after exposure to the stimulus. Interpretation of the results follows.

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118 Table 4-1. International and European prior tr avel experience and awareness of Bulgaria Heard of Bulgaria (% within heard of Bulgaria) Traveled Yes No Internationally % (n) % (n) Never traveled* 24.70% (20) 11.10% (1) Traveled 1 or more times* 72.60% (53) 88.90% (8) Traveled to Europe Never traveled to Europe** 60.30% (44) 88.90% (8) Traveled to Europe 1 or more times** 39.70% (29) 11.10% (1) *Fishers exact test, p = 0.44 **Fishers exact test, p = 0.15 Table 4-2. Odds ratio of an i ndividual who was aware of Bulg aria and who has traveled to Europe Odds traveled to Europe and aware = number that were aware & traveled/number that were aware & not traveled = 29/44= .66 Odds traveled to Europe and unaware = number that were unaware & tr aveled/number that were unaware & not traveled = 1/8= .13 Odds ratio = odds traveled to Europe & aware/odds traveled to Europe & unaware = 0.659/0.125 = 5.27 Note Calculations of odds and odds ratio obtained from Field, A. (2005). Discovering statistics using SPSS London: Sage Publications Ltd.

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119 Table 4-3. Percentage of stude nts who were aware of Bulgaria according to tourist role preference Heard of Bulgaria % within role (n) Tourist role Yes No preference OMT 93.8% (15) 6.3% (1) IMT 92% (23) 8% (2) EXP 85.7% (30) 14.3% (5) DTR 75% (3) 25% (1) = 0.15, p = 0.63 Table 4-4. Self-rated familiarity level before and after intervention Familiarity N M SD Not at all familiar Slightly familiar Fairly familiar Quite familiar Very familiar Pre-test 82 1.16 0.48 87.8% 9.8% 1.2% 1.2% Post-test 82 2.70 0.75 46.3% 39.0% 13.4% 1.2% Note. Dash is reported when no responses were obtained. Percentages may not equal to 100 due to rounding error. Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Not at all familiar, 5 = Very familiar. Table 4-5. Familiarity differences and previous travel experience before the intervention Familiarity Never traveled internationally Traveled internationally 1 or more times M SD M SD df t p Self-rateda 1.14 0.36 1.16 0.52 80 -0.17 .86 Knowledge-based score on 17 itemsb 4.00 2.32 4.83 3.67 57 -0.72 .48 aMeasured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Not at all familiar, 5 = Very familiar. bKnowledge score calculated as sum ranging from 0-14, where 14 = most knowledge.

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120 Table 4-6. Familiarity and previous European travel experience before the intervention Familiarity Never traveled to Europe Traveled to Europe 1 or more times M SD M SD df t p Self-rateda 1.21 0.57 1.07 0.25 76.15 1.58 .12 Knowledge-based score on 17 itemsb 4.62 3.39 4.77 3.66 57 -0.16 .87 aMeasured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Not at all familiar, 5 =Very familiar. bKnowledge score calculated as sum ranging from 0-14, where 14 = most knowledge. Table 4-7. One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist role on familiarity levels before intervention Variable and source df SS MS F p Self-rated familiarity Between groups 3 0.39 0.13 0.53 0.66 Within groups 76 18.50 0.24 Knowledge-based score on 17 items Between groups 3 75.12 25.04 2.29 0.09 Within groups 54 590.94 10.94 Table 4-8. Differences in familiarity levels before and after intervention Before intervention After intervention Familiarity level M SD M SD df t p Self-rateda 1.16 0.48 2.7 0.75 81 -16.12 .000 Knowledge-based score on 17 itemsb 4.68 3.46 9 2.22 58 -10.2 .000 aMeasured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Not at all familiar, 5 = Very familiar. bKnowledge score calculated as sum ranging from 0-14, where 14 = most knowledge.

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121 Table 4-9. Familiarity levels and previous international travel experience after intervention Familiarity Never traveled internationally Traveled internationally 1 or more times M SD M SD df t p Self-rateda 2.62 0.67 2.72 0.78 80 -0.54 .59 Knowledgebased score on 17 itemsb 8.29 1.87 8.87 2.32 80 -1.04 .30 aMeasured on a Likert-type scale wher e 1 = Not at all familiar, 5 = Very familiar. bKnowledge score calculated as sum ranging from 0-14, where 14 = most knowledge. Table 4-10. Familiarity levels and pr evious European travel experience Familiarity level Never traveled to Europe Traveled to Europe 1 or more times M SD M SD df t p Self-rateda 2.73 0.77 2.63 0.72 80 0.57 .57 Knowledgebased score on 17 itemsb 8.65 2.09 8.83 2.45 80 -0.35 .73 aMeasured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Not at all familiar, 5 = Very familiar. bKnowledge score calculated as sum ranging from 0-14, where 14 = most knowledge. Table 4-11. One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist role on selfrated familiarity levels after intervention Variable and source df SS MS F p Self-rated familiarity Between groups 3 0.390.130.530.66 Within groups 76 18.500.24

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122 Table 4-12. One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist role on knowledge-based familiarity levels after intervention Variable and source df F p Knowledge-based score on 17 items Between groups 3 19.40a .000 Within groups 27.69 aDue to violation of homogeneity of variances Welch's F is reported. Table 4-13. Comparisons of tourist role by familiarity level Tourist role M SD Organized Mass Tourist 8.13a 1.75 Independent Mass Tourist 8.76a 2.18 Explorer 8.69a 2.46 Drifter 11.25b 0.5 Note Significant differences were found using Games-Howell post-hoc, b > a. The knowledge mean score had range 0-14.

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123 Table 4-14. Destination images of Bu lgaria before and after intervention Pre-test Post-test Paired t-tests Image categories paired and items M SD M SD df t-value p Natural resources and environment 3.25 0.29 4.08 0.46 11 -7.29 .001* Pleasant climate 3.20 0.76 4.17 0.75 34 -5.84 .000* Good beaches 2.57 1.04 4.04 0.83 22 -5.28 .000* Natl parks/wilderness 3.78 0.75 4.11 0.85 26 -1.52 .142 Beautiful scenery and Nature 4.08 0.55 4.75 0.44 35 -5.92 .000* Clean country 2.89 0.96 3.56 0.71 17 -3.69 .002** Tourist Attributes 3.38 0.55 4.14 0.42 6 -3.96 .007** Many tourist attractions 3.19 0.97 4.16 0.81 31 -4.66 .000* Good value for money 3.82 0.80 3.73 0.94 21 0.49 .628 Good shopping facilities 3.05 1.05 4.09 0.68 21 -4.69 .000* Opportunities for hiking/ Mountaineering 4.00 0.48 4.56 0.51 26 -4.14 .000* Open-air markets 4.08 0.64 4.32 0.56 24 -2.30 .031** Good skiing 3.68 0.72 4.50 0.67 21 -3.65 .002** Good quality of service 3.25 0.86 4.00 0.82 15 -2.32 .035** Variety of recreation activities 3.73 0.60 4.38 0.57 25 -4.47 .000* Nightlife/entertainment 3.42 0.90 4.00 0.43 11 -1.87 .089 Atmosphere 3.38 0.42 3.90 0.34 9 -3.40 .008** Safe place to visit 3.04 1.25 4.23 0.59 25 -5.37 .000* Overcrowded areas 3.67 0.91 3.44 0.71 17 1.07 .298 Place for relaxation 3.20 0.91 4.20 0.76 24 -5.48 .000* Friendly local people 3.68 0.75 4.52 0.59 24 -4.94 .000* Family-oriented 3.30 0.97 3.91 0.85 22 -3.28 .003** Different language is a barrier 3.97 0.62 4.03 0.86 57 -0.59 .560 Fun and enjoyable 3.58 0.88 4.25 0.53 23 -4.29 .000* Lacks commercialization 3.57 1.08 3.29 0.96 20 1.19 .249 Culture, History, Art 4.10 0.29 4.40 0.39 6 -3.45 .014** Churches & monasteries 4.24 0.50 4.65 0.49 33 -4.31 .000* Historical sites/museums 4.15 0.53 4.65 0.48 39 -5.28 .000* Traditional handicraft 4.06 0.62 4.44 0.50 31 -3.00 .005** Rich cultural heritage 4.27 0.59 4.71 0.51 40 -3.97 .000* Archaeological treasures 3.57 0.81 4.24 0.70 20 -3.84 .001* Tasty cuisine 3.57 1.03 4.38 0.74 20 -3.18 .005**

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124 Table 4-14. (continued) Pre-test Post-test Paired t-tests Image categories paired and items M SD M SD df t-value p Good wine 4.10 0.54 4.33 0.48 20 -1.75 .096 Rich in folk dance/song 4.12 0.67 4.60 0.58 24 -2.92 .008** Offers to increase my cultural knowledge 4.35 0.64 4.63 0.49 47 -3.27 .002** Infrastructure 3.11 0.77 3.72 0.61 9 -3.44 .007** Convenient transport 3.35 0.99 3.85 0.88 19 -2.364 .029** Quality roads/airports 2.57 0.94 3.36 1.15 13 -2.62 .021** Easily get around the country 3.13 0.83 3.73 0.96 14 -1.79 .095 Quality accommodations 3.11 1.08 4.06 0.94 17 -3.45 .003** Tourist information 3.81 0.63 4.17 0.66 41 -3.34 .002** Note. The p values were calculated for a two-tailed test. *p < .05. ** p < .001. Measur ed on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Strongly Disagree, 5 = Strongly Agree.

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125 Table 4-15. Overall image of Bulgaria and previous international travel experience before intervention Image Never traveled internationally Traveled internationally 1 or more times M SD M SD df t p Overal image 3.29 0.61 3.33 0.85 58 -0.17 .87 Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = Strongly agree. Table 4-16. Overall image of Bulgaria and pr evious European travel experience before intervention Image Never traveled to Europe Traveled to Europe 1 or more times M SD M SD df t p Overall image 3.34 0.78 3.35 0.83 58 -0.24 0.81 Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = Strongly agree. Table 4-17. One-way analysis of vari ance for effects of tourist role on overall image before intervention Variable and source df SS MS F p Overall image Between groups 3 2.28 0.76 1.2 .32 Within groups 54 34.13 0.63

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126 Table 4-18. Overall image differenc es before and after intervention Image Pre-test Post-test M SD M SD df t p Overall image 3.34 0.78 4.17 0.75 58 -8.06 0.000 Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = Strongly agree. Table 4-19. Overall image and previous in ternational travel experience after intervention Image Never traveled internationally Traveled internationally 1 or more times M SD M SD df t p Overall image 4.33 0.58 4.15 0.72 78 1.04 .30 Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = Strongly agree. Table 4-20. Overall image and previous European travel experience after intervention Image Never traveled to Europe Traveled to Europe 1 or more times M SD M SD df t p Overall image 4.13 0.74 4.32 0.55 78 -1.17 .25 Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = Strongly agree. Table 4-21. One-way analysis of vari ance for effects of a tourist role on overall image after intervention Variable and source df SS MS F p Overall image Between groups 3 1.58 0.53 1.15 .34 Within groups 74 33.91 0.46

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127 Table 4-22. Overall image among the four tourist roles after intervention Overall image Tourist role N M SD Organized Mass Tourist 16 4.31 0.48 Independent Mass Tourist 24 4.25 0.53 Explorer 34 4.03 0.83 Drifter 4 4.50 0.58 Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Strongly disagree, 5 = Strongly agree. Table 4-23. Intent to tr avel after intervention Intent item N M SD Very unlikely/Unlikely Somewhat likely Very likely/Likely Likely to choose BG as next international destination 82 2.26 0.87 59.70% 32.90% 7.30% Plan to vacation in BG in the next 5 years 82 2.17 0.99 69.50% 18.30% 12.20% Plan to vacation abroad in the next 5 years 82 3.90 1.18 12.20% 23.20% 64.70% Plan to vacation in Europe in the next 5 years 81 3.80 1.19 13.40% 25.60% 59.80% Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale where 1 = Very unlikely, 5 = Very likely. Percentages may not equal to 100 due to missing data or rounding error.

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128 Table 4-24. Travel intentions and previous internationa l travel experience after intervention Intent Never traveled internationally Traveled internationally 1 or more times M SD M SD df t p Likelihood to travel to Bulgaria in the next 5 years 2.19 0.98 2.16 1 80 0.11 .82 Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale wher e 1 = Very unlikely, 5 =Very likely. Table 4-25. Travel intenti ons and previous European travel experience after intervention Intent Never traveled to Europe Traveled to Europe 1 or more times M SD M SD df t p Likelihood to travel to Bulgaria in the next 5 years 2.15 0.98 2.2 1.03 80 -0.2 .37 Note. Measured on a Likert-type scale wher e 1 = Very unlikely, 5 =Very likely. Table 4-26. One-way analysis of variance for effects of tourist role on intent to travel after intervention Variable and source df F p Intent to travel to Bulgaria in the next 5 years Between groups 3 1.42 .28 Within groups 12.91 Due to violation of homogeneity of variances Welch's F is reported.

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129 Table 4-27. Summary of regres sion analysis for variable predicting intent to visit Bu lgaria in the next 5 years (N = 80) Variable B SE B Constant 0.17 0.83 Self-rated familiarity 0.16 0.15 0.12 Knowledge-based familiarity 0.05 0.05 0.12 Overall image 0.27 0.16 0.19 Note. R2 = .08 p < .11.

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130 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONLCUSION This study explored several tourist-related variables related to Bulgaria as a destination. The researcher specifically exam ined the U.S. co llege students awareness of Bulgaria and their familiarity with and images before exposure to a stimulus. Following the intervention the students intent to visit Bulgaria was examined in addition to their familiarity and images of Bulgaria. Gender, prior travel experience, and tourist roles were examined in light of the variables above. Some results we re contrary to the researchers expectations and are discussed further in this chapter. This chapter draws upon the literature review a nd theoretical framework to explain the results of the study and draw conclu sions. Implications of the results and future research directions are also discussed. Familiarity Fa miliarity may be measured in different ways Two ways were used in this study. Based on Baloglu (2001) and Prentices (2004) work one wa y is to measure self-rated familiarity. Prior to exposure to the stimulus most of the students were unfamiliar with Bulgaria. The other way of measuring familiarity is based on the sum of corr ect answers to knowledge statements associated with Bulgaria (Kim & Pennington-Gray, 2004). Many of the students did not know the answers and most had low familiarity levels with Bulgaria. Bulgaria is not a well known country to the Western traveler. For about 40 years it was a comm unist country and to a great degree closed to the Western world. Since the early 1990s, Bulgar ia has increasingly been oriented toward the West and has increased its presence in the medi a as the country started its development as a democracy. Bulgaria became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004 and since January 2007 it is a member of the European Union. Over the last ten years it developed even more as a tourist destination attr acting many international visitors, not just those

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131 from the traditional Eastern European countries. However, U.S. visitors have been few, therefore, there is a potential fo r attracting more American tourists. The Bulgarian State Agency for Tourism (BSAT) launched advertisements on CNN in 2007. The agency also launched four 30-second advertisements for Russian national TV during February 2008. Twenty Russian cities are targeted in this campaign, and clips will be shown again in May. In addition, similar campaigns on CNN channels, Euronews and Euros port will be launched (Sofia News Agency, 2008). McKay and Fesenmaier (1997) postulated that a higher level of familiarity may make a destination more appealing to th e traveler. However, based on th is butterfly curve (based on Hebb, 1966) after a certain level of familiarity ha s been reached a destination may not be as attractive, after which an unfamiliar destination may be considered more attractive. This is one theory that could help explain attraction of a destination based on familiarity levels. One of the main findings of this study was that students we re not familiar with Bulgaria initially. After stimulus exposure their familiarity increased, howeve r, they were still not very familiar with the country. The video, therefore, was not enough to cr eate a higher level of familiarity with the country, however, it served to dispel certain imag es and create new ones. This may be compared to the result of Kim and Rich ardson (2003) who found no significant differences in the level of familiarity with Vienna among t hose who viewed the movie about Vienna and the control group, which was contrary to their expectations. Thei r reasoning was that the movie may not have been enough to significantly alter an in dividuals images of a destina tion. The videos used in the current study were even shorte r, and therefore, similar to Kim and Richardsons study the intervention may not have been suffi cient to stimulate an interest in visiting and making it a more attractive destination.

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132 In this study gender and other personal factors such as pr evious international travel experience and tourist role preference did not a ffect the level of self-rated familiarity and the familiarity sum score before and after the intervention. The only significant differences were found among the four tourist roles after stimulus exposure on the sum familiarity score, which is further explained. The largest group in the sample considered th emselves explorers, followed by independent mass tourists, organized mass tourists and drif ters, which was confirmed by Qi (2005). Gibson and Yiannakis (2002) reported th at young individuals in their 20 s are likely to assume the traveler roles of EXP and DTR as they are characterized as trav elers drawn to novel experiences to a certain extent, are likely to be single with no family respons ibilities which enables them to visit more rustic places and forego certai n necessities unlike the OMT and IMT (Cohen, 1972, 1973). There were no significant differences be fore the intervention, even though the DTRs mean was higher than the mean scor e of the other three ro les. One explanation might be that the drifter may have a greater intern ational travel experien ce, which coupled with the information in the presentation about Bulgaria le d to a higher level of retention of the information and displayed knowledge. Individuals have vari ed levels of retention of information based on a variety of factors internal and external to the individual such as relevance or salience (Mayo & Jarvis, 1981). It may be that with a larger sample, a significant result may be obtained before the intervention. Another explanation may be due the nature of the intervention. Different tourist types may use and prefer different types of information sources. For example, Kerstetter and Cho (2004) made an important conclusion afte r examining the relationships between prior knowledge (which consisted of past experien ce and familiarity/expertise) and the source credibility. The authors stressed the importance of the information sources, which are used to

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133 inform, educate, and entice individuals to visit or revisit. Internal search (own past experiences) turned out to be the most importa nt variable in relati on to prior knowledge. It may be that more experienced travelers and those w ho belong to the explorer and dr ifter categories may rely more on internal sources compared to the other traveler groups. In addition, research has shown that individuals who are less familiar with a destina tion tend to rely more on external information sources (Snepenger, Meged, Snelling, & Worra ll, 1990; Vogt, Stewart, & Fesenmaier, 1998), which was not confirmed by Kerstetter and Cho (2004). According to Kerstetter and Cho level of involvement in the decision making process may be the explanation. Personal experiences may have been enough for highly familiar individua ls who saw no need to use other external resources. There were significant differences in familiarity among the tourist roles after the intervention. A post-hoc test revealed the drif ters significantly higher level of knowledge based on the 17 knowledge items after th e intervention than individuals categorizing themselves as one of the other three roles. In th e case of the current study this external information source led to a higher knowledge level of the DTR. The combinati on of the videos and hi s/her prior experiences may explain the higher level of knowledge compared to the other roles. This may be explained by a comparison of the prior international travel experiences of student s among the four tourist roles. Even though that DTR was a small group a ll of the students in that group had traveled internationally and they were followed by th e EXP which made up the next largest group. Organized mass tourists had the least internationa l travel experience. In terms of travel to Europe, a little different patte rn was observed where the IMT was the largest group which had traveled to Europe, followed by the EXP, a nd finally, the DTR and OTM with the same percentages. Therefore, a highe r overall level of international travel experience of the DTR may explain why they had a higher know ledge level of Bulgaria.

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134 In terms of demographics Baloglu (2001) di d not find significant effects on familiarity. Graburn (1983) pointed out that education may determine to a large extent what types of vacations individuals seek. The sample in this study consisted of colle ge students and did not allow for any comparison among groups with various education levels in awareness, familiarity, image of Bulgaria and intent to travel. Further studies should consider examining such differences. This sample consisted of student s who are middle and upper-middle class, college educated and, therefore, with th eoretically a higher le vel of cultural self-confidence (Graburn, 1983). Graburn stressed the importance of cultura l self-confidence and how it might affect an individuals travel destination ch oice. He claimed that such self -confidence is determined more by an individuals social class and educational and other experiences rather than income. Therefore, individuals such as the EXP and DTR who are more culturally selfconfident may be more likely to travel more internationally and to visit novel and less known destinations with the former partially confirmed by this study. Some similarities of the pres ent study can be found with the research of Sirakaya et al. (2001), which focused on the images of Turkey. Turkey is a well known destination in Europe and other parts of the world but little known in the U.S. where th eir sample of college students was based. Indeed, they found that most of the students surveyed i ndicated they were not at all familiar with Turkey. They also found that famili arity did not affect intent to travel to Turkey and three out of eight image factor s influenced intent. The implic ation here is that familiarity may have an indirect influence on intent to travel by first influe ncing individuals perceptions of a destination. Similarly, Snmez and Sirakaya (2002) found that more than half of the participants who have either travel ed internationally or were interest ed in such travel were not at

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135 all or slightly familiar with Turkey. Thus, prev ious international travel experience in this case does not seem to influence familiarity with a country not visited previously. Kim and Richardson (2003) examined the e ffects of a motion pict ure on undergraduate students perceptions of Vienna and the movies effects on familiarity. As movies familiarize audiences with places their hypothes is was that viewing a movie about a destination can lead to a higher familiarity with that destination, however, this hypothesis was disproved when the control group was compared to those who saw the movie. Thus, movies based in destinations may not be as influential in raising familiarity levels with a destination as ma ny in the tourism industry may think (Riley, Baker, & Van Doren, 1998). In contrast to Kim and Richardsons experi mental design, the current study did not use a control group instead a one group pre-test post-te st design with an intervention was used, which is an innovative technique in tourism rese arch. Although, a future study employing a true experimental design may provide the ability to isolate the eff ect of the intervention more accurately. Nonetheless, significant differences were found in self-rate d familiarity and the familiarity sum score when the mean scores before and after the intervention were compared using paired t-tests. Therefore, a video presen tation tailored by the tourism industry appears to be influential in increasing students familiarity of a little known destination such as Bulgaria. To understand further their familiarity levels, studen ts were asked to list the European countries they had visited, however, this study did not look into which students were more familiar before and after the intervention with Bulgaria based on which specific counties they have visited. Several students indicated they had been to Cent ral and Eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, for example. Would students who have been to Eastern Europe have higher knowledge and familiarity and different images than those who have not

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136 been to this part of the world? This and sim ilar questions may form a further investigation into familiarity with, and images of Bulgaria. According to McQueen and Miller (1985) firsttime visitors to a destination need to be enticed and persuaded the most to visit the destination. Perhap s as Kim and Richardson (2003) suggested potential visitors may need to have an increased exposure to a variety of sources, rather than the more general images shown in m ovies to influence images, intent to visit and make destinations more popular (Kim & Richar dson, 2003; Riley et al., 1998; Tooke & Baker, 1996). The exposure effect from advertising (Z ajonc, 1968) also comes into play in such situations, according to which as an individual is exposed more and more to a product or brand he/she will start to like that same product increasingly. The construct of familiarity in a tourism context has not been given much attention compared to the fields of marketing and consumer behavior. However, important findings have been reported by Baloglu (2001), Kerstetter and Cho (2004), Kim and Richardson (2003), McKay and Fesenmaier (1997), and Prentice (2004) among others. Nevertheless, further studies are needed to examine what differences exist be tween various travel segments based on different socio-demographics and othe r personal variables such as prior tr avel experience and tourist roles. How would familiarity interact with intent to vi sit when constraints to travel are considered? Answers to this and other questions may provide a greater understanding and may contribute to more targeted marketing efforts of destinati on managers by effectively channeling different campaigns to familiar and not familiar travelers whose travel and information needs may be different. Goodall (1988, 1991), Mathieson and Wall (1982), Mayo and Ja rvis (1981), Moutinho (1978), Stabler (1988), Woodside and Lysonski (1989) provided an important framework to further the understandin g of the travel decision making pro cess and the importance of tourist

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137 images and the interplay of ot her factors including, awareness, personal characteristics and marketing factors. Familiarity should be consid ered as an important component of such models even though it has not received as much attentio n as destination image about which a large body of knowledge has amassed over the last 35 years (Taschi & Gartner, 2007). Awareness Past travel experien ce, gender and tourist role preference di d not influence the level of awareness of Bulgaria. The researchers expect ation was that those with more international travel experience and those who preferred more novel forms of tourism would exhibit a higher level of awareness of Bulgaria. Unfortunately, a more in-depth analysis of these variables on awareness was hindered by the lack of adequa te numbers in each of the cells for the crosstabulations. Thus, for future studies a larg er more diverse sample is recommended. Nearly 90% of the students had heard of Bulgaria, however more than half reported they had not used any information sources to learn about the coun try. The most common source was a history or geography class that students have taken to learn about the count ry. In terms of differences among those who have taken a history/geography class to learn about Bulgaria within each gender category a higher percentage of males have taken such a class compared to females. This was also so for movies as a source, however, more females reported thei r source of knowledge as news programs. Also, more females compared to males reported they have not used any sources to learn about Bulgaria. This lack of familiarity of the country (and other countries) is linked to the limited geographical education U.S. st udents receive from early childhood to the high school years. Later, while in college students may elect course s in geography, history or political science that may focus on Eastern Europe, however, such cl asses are selected and not required for all students regardless of major. In this study, a higher percentage among those who were not aware

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138 of Bulgaria had traveled one or more times internationally compar ed to those who were aware of Bulgaria. This seems a surprising finding, which ma y have other causes. The result may be due to the travel destinations that students have visited. For example, a majority of students who have traveled internationally reported visiting ne arby destinations in the Western Hemisphere Caribbean, Canada, and South Amer ica. Many also reported visi ting Asia and Western Europe. Only a few students had visited Central and Eastern European c ountries, including Russia. The most visited destinations were in closer proximity to the U.S. su ch as the Caribbean, Canada or Mexico. One can only speculate that students may have visited Mexico and the Caribbean, for example, while on a cruise. On the other hand, even though the University offers study abroad programs, including to Europe very few if any may have taken advantage of that. Eastern Europe and perhaps certain parts of it such as countries in the Balkans unfortunately have not been perceived as attractive dest inations for a variety of reasons, including political instability and war in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s and into the 21st century, lower economic conditions of the population, limited servic es and facilities there comp ared to Western European destinations and even the more Western count erpartssuch as the Czech Republic (Ooi, Kristensen, & Pedersen, 2004), Poland, Hungary, Slove nia, and Slovakia. In addition, Bulgaria has traditionally been a sun, sand and sea destin ation for travelers from the Eastern Bloc and other Western European countries. For American s such destinations can be found in a much closer proximity at home in Florida, Georgi a, the Carolinas, Mexico or the Caribbean, for example, which are for many Americans just a couple of hours away driving or by airplane. In terms of linking awareness and familiarity Milman and Pizam (1995) reported that almost half of those who had heard of Central Fl orida as a destination had visited (were familiar with) the area. In this study none of the participants had visited Bulgaria, which was part of the

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139 criteria to participate. Milman and Pizam also investigated the relationship between awareness, familiarity and images of the destination. They found that the images of those who were not aware or were aware of the destination were less positive than the images of those who were familiar (i.e. have visited) with the destinati on. Moreover, participants who were aware of Central Florida did not have more positive images than those who were not aware. The two authors also found that awareness did not influence in tent to travel. In fact those with low levels of awareness were more likely to visit the dest ination. In linking familiarity and awareness in the current study, it is interesting that three students were not awar e of Bulgaria and at the same time in the pre-test they reported a sum familiari ty score of seven and nine. One explanation may be that at first they thought they have ne ver heard of the country, but once presented with some statements related to Bulgarias history, geography and other information from their memory surfaced. Awareness is an important construct that li nks familiarity, use of information sources, preferences for destinations, images and ultimately intent to travel. Acco rding to several authors the place of a destination in the awareness set may determin e preferences and ultimately influence the choice of travel to that des tination (Crompton, 1992; Na rayana & Markin, 1975; Um & Crompton, 1990; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989; Woodside & Wilson, 1985). Bulgaria clearly is not in the evoked set of destinations for the U.S. college students in this sample. The Bulgarian State Agency for Tourism and other destination management and marketing entities may need to engage in more targeted efforts in their promotions that will be informational in nature and at the same time spark an interest in travelers to entice them to make a first visit. Opening a North-American or United States Regiona l BSAT office that will be charged with the marketing and promotion of Bulgaria to the region is recommended. Extensive contacts and

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140 reach through the media newspapers, television, magazines and other media is also recommended. Image Previous in ternational travel e xperience, tourist role preferen ce, and gender did not affect overall image of Bulgaria held by students befo re and after the intervention contrary to the researchers expectations. The image items pr esented to the students dealt with destination attributes and as such were c ognitive. Five conceptual image categories were created with the Culture, History and Art images rated as most po sitive. This may be explained in that some students assumed that since Bulgaria is in Europe it will have a different cultural heritage than their own and a long history and traditions. The least positive images were attributed to items related to its beaches and quali ty of roads and airports befo re the intervention. Many U.S. travelers, including these students ma y not be aware of the fact that Bulgarias border to the East is the Black Sea, which is a popular beach destin ation not only for Bulgarians and travelers from Central and Eastern Europe, but increasingly from Western Europe and beyond. However, the participants of this study did not associate Bulg aria with good beaches. To these students the good beaches are in a closer proximity from one and a half hours drive to a couple of hours by plane to reach popular Florida, Cari bbean or Mexican destinations. This may be true for the U.S. traveler in general as well. Echtner and Ritc hie (1993) emphasized the importance of the types of images, which they conceived as belonging to three continua: attr ibute-holistic, commonunique and functional characterist ics-psychological characteristics. Therefore, modeled after Echtner and Ritchies three open-ended questions were used to gain insight into the more holistic, unique and psychological images of the destination held by the st udents. Some of the results here were surprising. For example, st udents responses on these open-ended questions about the image of Bulgaria poin ted to the fact that many do not know much about Bulgaria and

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141 have inaccurate information in terms of climate and its location on the map. Sirakaya et al. (2001) also found that college students had low levels of familiarity with Turkey. They also reported that students images of Turkey showed significant differences from a neutral 3.5 score on seven out of eight factors: c ognitive evaluati on of attractiveness, socio-economic and cultural similarity, tourist services and attractions, cultural attr action, reassuring/safe/calming, comforting/relaxing, and the perceived cost of vacation factor All of these with the exception of cultural similarity reflected positive images. In Sirakaya et al.s study Turkey was perceived as having different cultural and soci al conditions. However, the authors emphasized that these results did not necessarily translate into a nega tive image. In reality, they suggested some travelers are attracted to novel destinations, which according to Cohen s (1972) tourist role typology would be exemplified in the explorer and dr ifter. In addition, those more familiar with Turkey had more positive images on three out of all eight factors. This relationship, however, was not included as a research question in this study. One can only speculate that cultural and possibly other categories may have been percei ved in a more positive light among those with higher levels of familiarity and as such can be addressed in future analysis of the data. Snmez and Sirakaya (2002) similarly examined the images of, familiarity with, and intent to travel to Turkey among potential travelers. Overall, in terms of the cognitive and affective images Turkey was not perceived in a very posi tive way, which is similar to the way Bulgaria was perceived before the intervention. After the pre-test students were shown a map of Bulgaria showing its location as part of the Balkan Penins ula, after which they were shown two videos. Results from the post-test showed that 28 out of 36 image items means differed significantly from the pre-test. Paired t-tests showed signifi cant improvement in all five image categories. The overall image also improved significantly. The information source classified by Gartner

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142 (1993) as Covert Induced II in combination with Overt Induced I did impr ove the familiarity of participants, their knowledge of Bu lgaria and one can speculate th at as a result their images became more positive. However, post-test the overall image again did not significantly differ according to international travel experience, tourist role preference or gender. When examining gender, males had a more positive overall image of Bulgaria than females preand post-test. Males also had a slightly higher knowledge scor e before the intervention, which showed higher accuracy in terms of facts relate d to Bulgaria and hence higher familiarity. This may have contributed to the more positive image of Bulgaria. Females had a higher self-rated familiarity and familiarity sum score after the intervention. This possibly may be explained in that females have a different learning style th an their male counterparts and they were able to retain the information in the video that translated into a higher sum familiarity/knowledge score. In contrast, Chen and Kerstetter ( 1999) found that females held mo re positive images of rural Pennsylvania on some factors than males. Th e non-significant differences between males and females in the overall image of Bulgaria in th is study may be explained by the fact that the students were U.S. born citizens, whereas Chen and Kerstetter studys respondents were international students. The samples of both st udies were homogenous in terms of education as they were students at two larg e universities. However, upbringing, past education, popular culture and media, and other experiences of the students may have lead to such differences in gender based familiarity levels among U.S. a nd foreign students. When Baloglu (2001) examined the interaction between demogra phics and images he only found significant relationship between age and percep tions of attractions. Therefore, studies are not consistent in terms of whether being a male or female may lead to different images of destinations. Various other factors may contribute to image variations between male and females. Therefore, further

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143 analysis, which is beyond the scope of this study considering variables such as difference of international travel experience or information s ources used to learn abou t the destination across gender may shed more light on gender image differences. MacKay and Fesenmaier (1997) found th at two image dimensions: atmosphere and holiday were influenced by gender. Also, familiarit y played a role as an intervening variable in all four image dimensions of the destination (park in Canada). They also confirmed Echtner and Ritchies (1993) theory that im age has three dimensions: psychological-functional, attributeholistic and common-unique, which were also utili zed in the current study. Individuals more familiar (majority off park users were repeat visito rs) with the park perceived the destination in a way that was more psychological, holistic, and unique and those not familiar related to the functional, attribute, and common aspects of th e destination image. Those unfamiliar evaluated the pictorial elements based on cognitive criteria in contrast to the familiar visitors who evaluated the images based on affective elemen ts. Personal experience with the destination, which is another component of familiarity, influences an individuals perceptions of that destination. This parallels Fakeye and Cr omptons (1991) proposition that a complex image forms as a result of a visit to the destinat ion. MacKay and Fesenmaiers (1997) study had important implications. Travelers with higher levels of familiarity relate to those destination characteristics that are salient to them and pe rceive the destination in more psychological, holistic, and unique ways compared to those less familiar. In the current study before the intervention students had very l ittle knowledge of the country, some basic images and in some cases inaccurate perceptions of Bulgaria. After exposure to information sources as part of the intervention, their knowledge increased and images changed, thus creating induced images. In addition, students were asked unprompted to

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144 list characteristics and images of Bulgaria that came to mind after the intervention and such responses were influenced by their personal charact eristics, preferences, and salient destination attributes where some responses mentioned sk iing, mountains, cultural attractions, welcoming atmosphere and others. Such influences on im age formation have been confirmed by much research (Crompton, 1979a; Goodall, 1988, 1991; Mayo & Jarvis, 1981, Moutinho, 1987; Stabler, 1988; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989 among others). It may be that those more familiar held more affective images and psychological, holistic, and unique ra ther than functional, attribute and common that may be in the minds of less familiar respondents. Such investigation was not a part of this study. Therefore, a furt her study of the images, sa tisfaction and intent to revisit Bulgaria may shed additional light on how well the needs of the visitors were met and how their modified complex images differed from the organic or induced images. Such investigation will aid destination marketers w ith the branding, positioning and competitiveness of the country on the world tourism arena. Chalip et al. (2003) found that the advertisement of Australia s Gold Coast significantly influenced five out of nine image factors, wher e four factors were posit ively influenced (value, safety, climate, and family environment) a nd one, sightseeing opportuni ties, was negatively perceived. Furthermore, the advertisement for the Honda Indy 300 race event lead to a decreased perception of the na tural environment but enhanced the perception of novelty and safety. A telecast of the r ace improved environment, climate and novelty image dimensions. The current studys results are consis tent with those of Chalip et al. In this st udy participants were exposed to two 10-minute videos. After the intervention the images of Bulgaria improved. This may have been related to their increased leve ls of familiarity with Bulgaria. At the studys onset the level of familiarity based on the sum knowledge score was significantly lower than the

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145 level after the interventio n. This is where the use of a contro l group may be able to isolate more accurately the effects of the interven tion in future studies. Kim and Richardson (2003) found that the m ovie about Vienna influenced positively the cognitive image of the destination on two factors: cultural/natural at tractions and community characteristics/infrastructure a nd affected negatively the basic needs/comfort image dimension. Only one (relaxing-distressing) of the four affective image dimensions was rated significantly in a more favorable way. The other three arousing-sleepy, exciti ng-gloomy, and pleasantunpleasant dimensions did not differ among those who saw and did not see the movie. Similarly, the intervention in this study led to more pos itive images in all five image categories. A recent study (Hughes & Allen, 2008) investig ated the holistic images through qualitative analysis of 15 Central and Ea stern European (CEE) countries among British visitors and nonvisitors to these countries, includ ing Bulgaria. Non-visitors were those who have not been to any of the 15 destinations. Non-vis itor studies have been lacking compared to visitors studies, including those of Eastern Eur opean destinations. Understand ing the images of less known countries is even more imperative and necessa ry as these countries design and implement tourism development strategies. Their images can se rve as an invaluable tool in the in the design of marketing and promotional campaigns (S nmez & Sirakaya, 2002). Hughes and Allen found that non-visitors considered poverty as a prev alent characteristic among all CEE countries. Some counties were considered underdeveloped by visitors and Bulgaria and Romania were viewed as more of the grimmer type (p. 32). Similarly, the participan ts in the current study viewed the mood of the CEE countries negative ly. The CEE was perceived in general as a cultural destination, where an individual woul d go for sightseeing, rather than for the sun, however, non-visitors mentioned Bulgaria as a de stination of the latter category more than the

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146 visitors. Comparable to the current research, non-visitors in Hughes and Allens study found it difficult to point out unique feat ures and attractions of CEE count ries. This sample of U.S. college students showed little knowledge and familiarity with Bulgaria, its features, characteristics, and therefore both cognitive and holistic images. Bulgarian wine was the only unique attribute mentioned for that country by Hughes and Allens respondents, which was mentioned by one participant in the current study. Of the 34 interviewees only two had traveled to Bulgaria and in contrast former Czechoslo vakia (the Czech Republic and Slovakia) was the country most visited with nine respondents. War and political instability was an image associated with the Eastern parts of the area (exYugoslavia, including Macedonia, Albania and ot hers) and culture was associated with the Western countries (Hungary, Czech Republic, and Pola nd). It is unfortunate that political and ethnic conflicts have cast a negati ve image on the region as a whole, which is likely affecting the image of Bulgaria as well. This is what is known as a generalization e ffect (Enders, Sandler & Parise, 1992). It is interesting that none of the respondents in either of the studies mentioned any cultural or archaeological treasures and attractions in Bulgaria, including the more than centuries-old churches and sites which are a pa rt of the UNESCOs World Heritage List, for example. In the current study, af ter the intervention, culture was one of the predominant themes mentioned by students in additional to mountains, natural landscapes and friendliness of locals. The newly redesigned website of the BSAT also prominently features on its front page cultural heritage tourism sights and towns in Bulgaria. Before the intervention, many negative images existed, including the mood and atmosphere. Ma ny students said they did not know of any unique attractions and features or images of Bulg aria. Others pointed ou t, similarly to Hughes and Allen (2008) images of poverty, gloomy atmo sphere, and underdevelopment. Interestingly,

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147 in response to the open-ended que stion after the intervention asking par ticipants to identify images first coming to mind Bulgaria was described in a positive way. Once again the power of visual media to shape images is demonstrated (Chalip et al., 2003; Kim & Richardson, 2003) and is a significant findi ng of the current study. Several conclusions can be made based on this discussion. First, an intervention that involv es showcasing elements of a destination, whether a movie or a travel show appears to significantly influence the image of the destination among those exposed to that fo rm of media. Gart ner emphasized their importance as the two Covert Induced II and Autonomous image agents as having more impact on image formation and being more credible co mpared to the Overt Induced I form, which includes advertisements by the des tination through various media. This confirms the importance of information sources as tools th at can be used by destinations to change or influence the image of that place. Second, more research needs to don e that explores the infl uence of different types of source on the familiarity and images of destinations. Certainly, individuals with different familiarity levels seem to evaluate promotiona l materials differently, therefore, the elements different groups use in evaluation of those source s, which eventually form their images of the destination, need to be incorporated in mark eting materials (MacKay & Fesenmaier, 1997). Intent Intent to travel has been expl ored as a com ponent of the t ourist decision making process. Mayo and Jarvis (1981) based th eir model on Fishbeins Theory of Reasoned Action (Fishbein, 1967; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1980; Fishbein & Manfre do, 1992). Mayo and Jarvis linked factors like attitudes, information sources, social factors, feelings and others. Attitudes in turn may determine an individuals preferences and intent to travel. A similar model was proposed by Woodside and Lysonski (1989) in which they linked intent and subsequently choice of a

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148 destination with awareness, preferences, affective associations, traveler a nd marketing variables, and situational factors. In the current study the relationships among in tent to travel to Bulgaria for vacation purposes in the next five years, international travel experience, tourist role preference, and gender were examined separately. Intent was not influenced by these variables, which was contrary to the researchers e xpectations. These results, however, are consistent with some studies and contradict othe rs as it is seen from the discussion to follow. Thirty-nine percent of the respondents said they were unlikely to choose Bulgaria as th eir next vacation destination and almost 43% were unlikely to travel to the country in the next five years. Similar results were obtained by Sirakaya in studies of Turkeys image, familiarity and intent to travel where more than half of the respondents were not at all or no t very likely to visit th e country (Sirakaya et al., 2001; Snmez & Sirakaya, 2002). Pa st international experience in Snmez and Sirakayas study had a negative relationship with in tent to visit, which may seem to be a surprising result. The authors did not provide information that could have helped to furthe r explain this result such as the types of countries the particip ants had visited previously and th e type of tourists they were. Based on Cohen (1972) one might only speculate that a more adventurous and culturallyoriented traveler may be the type interest ed and more likely to travel to Turkey. The low levels of intent in this study may be explained by the fact that Bulgaria is a little known country among U.S. college students, and perh aps in general among U.S. travelers. Even though most students were aware of Bulgaria, they were not familiar with the country and many did not have a desire to visit an unfamiliar destin ation. This is consistent with the theoretical foundation of this study and the marketing models such as AIDA linking Awareness Interest Desire Action (Ehrenberg, 1974; Lavidge & Stei ner, 1961; Strong, 1925). According to

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149 the model a certain level of awareness and, one may argue, familiarity with a destination, are necessary to spark an interest in visiting and finally lead to a deci sion and an act of travel to the destination. This parallels MacK ay and Fesenmaiers (1997) propos ition that when a destination is more familiar it becomes more appealing. It can be argued that the tw o 10-minute videos were not enough to make individuals familiar with a de stination they had minimal knowledge about so that intent may be influenced. This shows the importance of a longterm and consistent promotional strategy for brand and image development or modification. From the following discussion one can see how the results from this study compare to others. According to Bojanic (1991) advertising can be an important tool for improving a destinations image and increasing the likelihood of travelers to vis it that country. For example, Court and Lupton (1997) found that the more the image of New Mexico was positive among individuals, the higher was the lik elihood of choosing it as a destination to visit. Their results were not confirmed by the current study whereby none to the variables (s elf-rated familiarity, knowledge based familiarity and overall image) su ccessfully predicted intent to visit Bulgaria, although the intervention did change images and fa miliarity (self-rated and knowledge-based). It might be that as the students were so unfamiliar w ith Bulgaria before the intervention, that even the positive gains in image and familiarity could not compete with other destinations that the students already had on their list of places to visit. Court and Lupton also found that gender was not significantly related to intent. Howeve r, other socio-demographic variables such as household size, income, and distance to the destin ation were found to be significantly related to intent. In addition, they found th at prior visit to the destinatio n and prior exposure to tourist information about the destination were significantly rela ted to intent. These variables were not included in this study, which are advisable to be considered in future research.

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150 One of the shortcomings of the current study is that it examined intent after students were exposed to the stimulus, and therefore, a comparison cannot be made with intent before the intervention, whether the promotional material improved the likelihood of visiting Bulgaria. However, one may speculate that intent was high er after viewing the video as the knowledge and awareness levels of Bulgaria before the intervention were so low. It would be also interesting to find if the four tourist roles differed based on results from the pre and post-test, and it may very well be that EXP and DTR would be more likely to visit Bulgaria as these tourist types enjoy higher levels of novelty associated with visiting less known destina tions and like to see off-thebeaten path attractions and sites. Certainly, George and George (2004) found that intent to visit two destinations in India was influenced by th e relationships between past purchase and place attachment and the relationship between place a ttachment and intention where both relationships were moderated by novelty seeking. As seen in chapter 2 the concept of novelty seeking is related to the four t ourist roles that were examined in this study (Cohen, 1972; Crompton, 1979a; Lepp & Gibson, 2003; Plog, 1974, 2001), however, in this study type of tourist role did not influence intent to travel to Bulgaria. Sirakaya et al. (2001) in thei r study of Turkey also found that most students did not intend to visit Turkey as their next vacation destination. Snmez and Sirakaya (2002) found that five affective and one cognitive image factor, previous international travel expe rience, social/personal sources of information, and overall appeal influen ced adults intent to tr avel to Turkey in a multiple regression model in which some relationships were positive and some negative. Further and more sophisticated analyses of Bulgaria as a destination are recomm ended that may include multiple regression, path analysis or structural equation modeling in which variables discussed above found from previous research to influence in tent to travel should be included.

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151 Other researchers have investigated the infl uence of promotional materials and a motion picture influence on intent to vi sit a destination (Chalip et al ., 2003; Kim & Richardson, 2003). Chalip and his colleagues examined the relationshi ps between intent to visit the Gold Coast of Australia. They found that for both the residents of New Zealand and the U.S. several image dimensions influenced intent to visit, howev er, the actual image categ ories predicting intent differed among residents of the two countries. In an experimental design they further investigated the influence of promotions on intent to visit the Gold Coast. The effect was not significant for residents of either country. The significant effect on intent to travel was achieved through the effect of advertising on the image for that destination. This is consistent with various tourism models (Moutinho, 1987; Stabler, 1988; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). The present study however, did not test for the intermediate effect of familiarity or image on intent. Although, image and familiarity were significantly more positive after the intervention. Further studies may focus on such interrelationships and mediating effects. Chalip et al. made an important conclusion. To gage the effect of de stination advertisements destination marketing entities should first test these advertisements w ith a sample of the targeted audience prior to launch of a campaign. Results of such pre-launch research may lead to further modification of the campaign that will more closely fit the needs, preferences, lifestyles, and travel patterns of potential travelers and even pers onalize such information sources with the assistance of available information technology. Kim and Richardson (2003) found the opposite wh en a movie about Vienna was shown to individuals. They concluded th at viewing of a motion picture a bout Vienna resulted in a higher interest in visiting the city wh en the researchers compared the two groups, i.e. those who viewed the movie and the control group. In other words, further analysis and studies may be needed to

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152 further investigate the relationships between familia rity with a destination, images of and intent to visit that destination. Differe nces in the findings of such studies are likely also due to the different methods and study designs. It would be interesting to compare the outcome of several studies with a similar design and the influence of promotional materials/TV commercials on intent to visit a destination. Intent to travel and variables thought to influe nce intention were expl ored by Qi (2005) in relation to travel to China and to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. In contrast to the present study, she found that previous international travel si gnificantly influenced the intent to travel to China in the next five years. Qi found differe nces among the four tourist roles where the DTR showed differences compared with OMT and IMT and the EXP showed differences compared to the IMT. In addition, the author concluded that whether an indi vidual was a male or female did not significantly influence their intent to travel, consistent w ith this studys results. The influence of international travel experience on intent to travel in Qis study and the conflicting result of this study may be explained by the fact that China may be considered more culturally and as a result more unique and more appealing to adventurous student travelers. Whereas, Bulgaria is in Europe with long history and trad itions, which may be a little more similar to the Western civilization and culture a nd as such less appealing. In f act, unprompted several students pointed out that Bulgaria may be similar to destinati ons such as Germany, Russia, England, and the Middle East. The multiple regression analysis produced a model that did not improve the ability to predict intent to visit Bulgaria from overall image, self-familiarity level, and the sum familiarity score. Certainly, a larger sample size would be needed if severa l variables are used in regression as predictors (Field, 2005). One explanation fo r the non-significant results might be that even

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153 though image and familiarity improved as the resu lt of video, the destination is not in the individuals evoked sets. It may be placed in the inert set, where according to Narayana and Markin (1975) are destinations about which an individual does not have enough information and he or she might feel neutral about. Also, the individual does not perc eive them [inert set products or destinations] as bett er than the brands in his evok ed set (p. 2). Awareness and familiarity (for the latter it can be argued to what extent) again are confirmed as necessary early components in the decision making process that ma y translate later into interest, desire and actual visit to the destination (Ehrenberg, 1974; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989). Individuals were more likely to visit Europe and even more likely to travel abroad in the next five years, however, the researcher did not ask the participants to list those destinations th at they would visit by unaided recall. One conclusion can be made th at it would take a great deal of persuasive advertising to entice individuals to visit Bulgaria in addition to a gradual increase in awareness. The respondents level of familiarity was low in the beginning and various forms of promotion can be used to increase their level of familiari ty and make individuals more comfortable with travel to Bulgaria. One of the main goals of adve rtising is to appeal to the needs of its target consumers and can be used to build an image of a place (Kotler, et al, 1993). In addition, those needs, lifestyles, and preferences vary across indi viduals, people of different race, religion, age, socio-economic status and their part icular needs at that moment when an individual starts to plan a trip. Word of mouth has been an important and influential source when it comes to travel planning (Capella & Greco, 1987; Gartner, 1993; Gitelson & Crom pton, 1983; Gitelson & Kerstetter, 1994; Vogt, et al., 1998 ). It is possible that adve rtising can include the personal testimonies of people of various ages and backgrounds. It might be in teresting to see if a campaign where referring a friend to book a specific tr ip to Bulgaria and will result in a discount

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154 to the person who provided the reference (e.g. half -off in hotel stay, a free excursion while in Bulgaria, etc.) will be effective. In addition, researchers have established a link between intent and perceived risk (Snmez & Graefe, 1998a, b). When asked what characteris tics first come to mind when thinking about going on vacation to Bulgaria about 15% of the respondents still thought a bout it as a communist country, underdeveloped, cold and unsafe. Severa l students said they ha ve never thought about vacationing in Bulgaria or that it is not a country they would like to visit. Others, did not know where Bulgaria was located geographically or res ponded that it has a hot clim ate and is a tropical country. It may be that those pe rceiving Bulgaria as a risky count ry to visit in terms of health risks, political stabil ity, and strange food may be the orga nized mass tourists as found by Lepp and Gibson (2003). Those risk factors in thei r study were higher among individuals who tend to seek familiarity rather than novelty. It may be that those individuals were also less likely to visit Bulgaria due to the perceptions of Bulgaria as an undeveloped and third world country. Lepp and Gibson also found that previous international travel experience influenced perception of risk associated with terrorism, health and food hazar ds. Those with more international experience perceived those risks to a lesse r degree. Although, in the curr ent study previous international travel experience did not influen ce intent, its importance as a valuable tourist variable is undisputed. Marketing professionals in Bulgaria would benefit in their advertising campaigns from such research linking intent and risk associat ed with a visit to Bulg aria. Results from the post-test showed no significant differences in in tent based on different international travel experience and travel to Europe. According to Crompton (1992) destination may not become a part of the consideration set for a variety of re asons, including the per ception of high risk, none

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155 of the travelers friends have b een to the destination, it is thought that dest ination is not meeting the persons motives, and others. Implications This study exam ined the relationship between awareness, familiarity, image and intent and personal variables such as past in ternational travel experience, tour ist role preferen ce and gender. The author is not aware of other studies that have examined all of these constructs together in regards to a destination. In this case the destination was Bulgaria an Eastern European country. Bulgaria is now a part of the European Union and will continue to receive funds to develop various areas, including tourism. For exam ple, money is designated for infrastructure enhancements, product development and marketi ng and promotions and others. Bulgaria recently received funding from the European Union to fund tourism. This study offers several implications re levant to destinati on marketing, branding, positioning and image of Bulgaria. First, awarene ss is a necessary but not sufficient element in the destination decision making process (Cro mpton, 1992; Ehrenberg, 1974; Milman & Pizam, 1995). The majority of students were aware of Bulgaria, however, the likelihood of them visiting in the next five years wa s relatively low. Second, marketers of Bulgaria need to focus on increasing the familiarity and knowledge of Bulgar ia among U.S. travelers. As Fishbein and Manfredo (1992) emphasized, behavior change ma y occur if underlying cognitive organization such as beliefs and attitudes ar e changed related to a destinati on. Third, the opening of a North American or U.S. BSAT office is recommended. Such an office could be responsible for promotions targeted specifically at the Nort h American market and creating a familiarization campaign that should include articles and coverage in travel and related magazines such as Cond Nast Traveler, Travel and Leisure, National Geographic and other publications and media. Such travel magazines and travel guides have more cr edibility among consumers (Crotts,

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156 1999, Gartner, 1993) due to their neutrality and are valuable tools to consumers and can be powerful tools in the hands of de stination marketers. Crotts (1999) emphasized the importance of neutral sources of information such as travel guides and travel agents. However, he and other researchers (Gartner, 1993) have stressed that perhaps the most important and influential source of information is that obtained from fr iends and relatives (personal sources). Crotts explained that according to where an individual is in the decision making process his/her travel information search behavior would vary. At earlier stages of the search process individuals begin by accessing information already acquired (interna l information) resulting from past experiences with this or ot her destinations, or long-term memory. Information may also be passively obtained through exte rnal sources when the traveler has low involvement levels. Active information search form external source s would include information obtained first from personal sources, neutral, pers onal experience and sources controlled by marketers (CVB web sites, etc.). Marketer sources have been found to have a relatively small influences on consumers (Crotts, 1999, Gartner, 1993), neve rtheless they are an important group of information sources that are usually used in combination with othe r sources (Gitelson & Crompton, 1983, Vogt et al., 1998). Crompton (1992) noted that various de cision making studies and models (Mountiho, 1986; Um & Crompton, 1990; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989) ultimately point to decrease of use of passively acquired information and an increas e of the actively obtained information as the decision making process progresses. It can be inferred that di fferent promotional strategies should be used by marketers that will reach travelers at each st age of the search and decision process. Crompton concluded that a sign of successful marketing of a destination is when the destination is placed in the initial and then th e late consideration se t by an individual. A destination is selected out of that late consideration set. If a destin ation is not a part of the initial

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157 set, destination marketers should engage in creativ e and targeted promotion and advertising. If a destination is placed in the inert set then, he suggested comparative advertising may be employed as an effective strategy. Bulgaria is not placed in the late consid eration set of most U.S. college students. It is doubtful if it is placed in the initial set. It appears th at it is in the inert of reject (inept) set. Therefore, appropr iate marketing strategies need to be employed to increase the likelihood of Bulgaria being shifted from these se ts to the consideration set where the ultimate goal is for the destination to be chosen. Recommendations for Future Research This study has m ade a contribution to the body of knowledge regarding destination image and related constructs such as awareness, fa miliarity, and intent a nd it draws upon work of prominent scholars in the field. However, resear ch designs such as long itudinal studies, which detect changes in attitudes and behavior, are r ecommended. For example, if the participants of this study were interviewed in five or ten year s from now, would any of them report they have traveled to Bulgaria? Could th at behavior have been contributed to sparking an interest in Bulgaria through the exposure to the intervention? Th ese and myriad other questions may be possible to investigate through longitudinal design. In term s of analysis, a future study may explore the interactions of the constructs and ca usality by using path analysis and include more variables, including sociodemographics and others such as motivation and constraints to visit the country. Another design would be to use stru ctural equation modeling, which is similar but more powerful than multiple regression (Gars on, n.d.). A future desi gn should incorporate a control group where internal validity will be increased. In other words, the changes in perceptions or intent to travel to Bulgaria might be attribut ed to a larger extent to the intervention. Such a design again will have fl aws, however, the goal of the researcher is to minimize the effects of other variables, including selection bias, equivalence of individuals who

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158 are assigned to control and experimental groups, and others (Mitchell & Jolley, 1988). A larger sample should be employed in future studies that undertake to study the imag es and intentions of potential tourists to Bulgaria. The current study examined non-vi sitors, i.e. students none of whom have been to the country. In addition, it may be interesting to study those who may be considered non-visitors who are not at all likely to visit th e country and compare them to individuals who intend to visit or have been to Bulgaria. Moreover, would people who are more familiar have better images of Bulgaria and have a higher likelihood of visiting the country? A further study of Bulgarias image may include assessment of the effectiveness of various types of advertising on travelers percepti ons and intent. Non-visitors are a category less studied in tourism and results from such research can be invaluable to tourism marketers. Another possible study may focus on those w ho have been to Bulgaria already and examine their intent to return and their satisfacti on. Studies have indicated that a destinations ability to continue to attract visitors largely depends on how we ll it has satisfied the needs of those visitors that may recommend the destinatio n to others or return. Further research may include variables such as prior travel experien ce, tourist role preference, socio-demographic variables, information sources, level of involvement in selecting a destination among others (which were not included in the model in this st udy) but were emphasized in previous research (Goodall, 1991; Manfredo et al., 1992; Mayo & Jarvis, 1981; Vogt, Stewart, & Fesenmaier, 1998; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989) mi ght also increase the ability to predict intent. Limitations Several drawbacks exist in the study. Firs t, the tim e commitment involved in the study may have caused participant fatigue due to the administration of a pre-test, exposure to the intervention stimulus and a post-test questionnai re. However, fatigue may have been minimal due to the showing of the video, which gave part icipants an opportunity to pause answering the

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159 questionnaire and divert their attention. A bigger problem may have been the participants limited familiarity with and awareness of Bulgaria as a destination at first, and therefore, it was difficult for them to depict images of the c ountry. Students were offered a choice of dont know in several questions relating to the familiarity/knowledge statements and image. It can be argued that this contributed to greatly increa sing of the missing values since dont know all responses were treated as missing values and some students use it to answer all or many questions. In addition, st udents involved in the p ilot-test of the study rev ealed that the voice of the narrator in the second vi deo was difficult to understand. The video was produced by the Bulgarian State Agency for tourism narrate d by a Bulgarian woman, who sometimes used uncommonly used U.K. English phrases. The promotional material was geared more toward the British market. A redesigned promotional materi al targeting the North American market may have been more appropriate. Delimitations Several delim itations are associated with this study. Due to the nature of the sampling procedure where students enrolled in summer B and fall 2007 classes participated and due to the small sample size the generalizab ility of findings may be limite d to populations with similar characteristics. Therefore, caution may need to be exercised when a pplying results from this study to other populations that have different characteristics such as education, age, and income. Studies using more a diverse sample in terms of age, education and income may ensure that results could be generalized to a wider populati on. Furthermore, different results may be obtained from non-U.S. born respondents as soci o-economic and cultural differences, different life and travel experiences have been found to influence dest ination image (Beerli & Martn, 2004; Chalip, et al., 2003; Pearce, 1982a; Ritchie & Smith, 1991), choice of destination, intent to travel and tourist styles (Basala & Klenosky, 2001; Berroll, 1981; Campbell, 1978; Chalip, et al.,

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160 2003; Cohen, 1972; Crompton, 1979a; Goodall, 1991, Gottlieb, 1982; Graburn, 1983; Moutinho, 1987; Pearce, 1982b; Plog, 1974, 2001; Woodside & Lysonski, 1989), awareness (Milman & Pizam, 1995; Richards, 1994; Ritchie & Smith, 1991), and familiarity (Cohen, 1974; Kerstetter & Cho, 2004; Kim & Richardson, 2003; MacKay & Fesenmaier, 1997). Conclusions This study answered m any important quest ions, even though they stemmed from unexpected results. For example, prior international travel experien ces bore no influence on awareness, familiarity, image, and intent. More over, it was perceived based on literature that different travel styles and tourist roles would a ffect the individuals level of familiarity, image, and intent to travel. More quest ions were raised as a result. Is the success of a destination proportionate to the success of a promotional ca mpaign? A similar question was raised by Lane (2007) about the effectiveness of Convention and Visitor Bureaus (CVBs) web sites. Due to 40 years of isolation during the communist era, Bulg arias small territory and other geopolitical and historical factors Bulgaria was not widely known as a travel destination beyond Europe, and especially not familiar to the North American traveler. The opening of its borders in 1989, the membership in the European Union and activ e participation on the world arena through international structures and organizations will lead to an increased awareness of the country and perhaps familiarity with its culture and people. This is where the role of organizations such as the Bulgarian State Agency for Tourism (BSAT), the Bulgarian Tourist Chamber (BTC), National Tourist Board (NTB), the Bulgaria C onvention and Visitors Bureau, Tourism Board, Bulgarian Association for Alternative Tourism (BAAT), Bulgarian Association for Rural and Ecological Tourism, (BARET), Local and Regional Tourist Organizations becomes important. The cooperation and coordination of activities of various st akeholders such as these organizations representing the government, priv ate, and non-profit sectors not only directly

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161 related to tourism but also sect ors such as transport and infras tructure, Ministry of Ecology and Water, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Regi onal Development, Ministry of the Economy and Energy, State Agency of Youth and Sport, National Institute for Statistics, Universities and other organizations is of utmost importance when it comes to creating tourist-related laws and regulations, tourism promotion, product development and diversification that is sustainable for generations to come. The website of the BSAT ( http://www.bulgariatravel.org ) was redesigned in 2006, and while being redesigned no web site was available to the potential vi sitor. During this process, a tem porary or the older version of the web site should have been available to the international and domestic travel community. It was as if Bulgaria disappeared from the international tourism arena. Another, drawback is that a web site is available in English; however, no such web site is available to the domestic traveler in Bulgarian. Consequently, well-thought of st rategies would need to be im plemented if Bulgaria is to take advantage of international tourist flows on a consistent basis and to encourage diversified tourist products and experiences. Woodside and Sherrell (1977) gave a number of recommendations to destinations in the unaware, in ept or reject sets. Th ey described accurately Bulgarias position as a destination in the comp etitive marketplace when they suggested that a lack of communication about the de stination may inhibit developmen t of tourism of destinations which are available to tourists but who are unaware of them. In this case most students were aware of a country called Bu lgaria, however, they have probably never thought about vacationing there. For inert de stinations the authors suggested inclusion of promotional campaigns including sales or special packages. Placement in the inept (reject) set may require the implementation of an overall effective produc t strategy if a shifting in the destinations position into the evoked set is the goal (Woodside & Sherrell, 1977). A destinations image is

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162 inevitably tied to such strategies. Dichter (1985) suggested that image is a most powerful influence in the way people perceive things, and should be a crucial concept in shaping our marketing, advertising, and communications efforts (p.75). He also emphasized the nature of image as being not static but constantly changing. This is an important message to be taken by destination marketers. The su ccess of a product largely depends on the culture in which it is marketed according to Dichter possibly as much as the qualities of the product. His words are good news for marketers in knowing that images can be altered eventually Moreover, now more than ever marketing professionals can be equipped with the necessary tools, visuals, and technologies to create promotions of destinations that can target even the smallest of market segments and attract them to a destination.

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163 APPENDIX SURVEY INSTRUMENT BULGARIA TRAVEL SURVEY Part I. This question asks you about your aw ar eness of the country of Bulgaria. Please circle the number that matches your response. 1. Have you ever heard of the country Bulgaria prior to today? 1.Yes 2..No Part II. Please answer the following quest ions by writing in the space provided. 2. What images or characteristics first come to mind when thinking about going on vacation to Bulgaria? Please describe in your own words. ___________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ 3. What distinctive or unique to urist attractions, areas, features, or associations with Bulgaria come to mind when you think of the country. This questionnaire asks you about your thoughts relating to travel to Bulgaria. When completing the questionnaire, it is important that you answer each question as thoughtfully and frankly as possible. There are no right or wrong answers. Please answer questions number 1 through number 61. Then you will watch a video about Bulgaria. After the video please answer the remaining questions. Please do not refer to your earlier responses. The whole process will take approximately 60 minutes. Your participation is comple tely voluntary and you have the right not to answer certain questions if you choose to do so. Th e information you provide will be grouped with other respondents information to protect your identity. If you have any questions please contact Kristina Ivanova Roberts at tel.: (352) 375-2423 or via e-mail: kirob@ufl.edu. Thank you for taking the time to participate in this study!

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164 4. How would you describe the atmosphere or m ood that you would expect to experience while visiting Bulgaria? Part III. The following questions ask you about your familiarity with and knowledge of Bulgaria. Please circle the num ber that matches your response. 5. How familiar/knowledgeable do you consider yourself to be with Bulgaria? Not at all familiar Slightly familiar Fairly familiar Quite familiar Very familiar 1 2 3 4 5 6. Have you taken any history, geography, political sc ience or other classes, which have covered information about Bulgaria? Please circ le the number matching your response. 1.Yes 2.No 7. What types of information sources prior to to day have you used to learn about Bulgaria? Please circle all numbers that apply. 1.Friends/relatives 8.Movies 2.Parents knowledge 9.News programs 3.Books 10Documentaries 4.Travel channel 11Programs in media 5.Classes in history/geography 12Newspaper articles 6.Other classes ____________________ 13None 7.Magazine articles 14Other __________________________ Part IV. The following statements reflect your knowledge about Bulgaria. Please use the scale below and circle the number that matches your response. Item True False Dont Know 8. Bulgaria has a temperate climate 1 2 3 9. Bulgaria is a peaceful nation 1 2 3 10. Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria 1 2 3 11. Bulgaria has several mountains 1 2 3 12. Bulgaria was founded in the 7th century 1 2 3 13. Bulgarias population is 7.9 million 1 2 3 14. Bulgaria is a small nation, approximately the size of North Carolina 1 2 3 15. Bulgaria is a communist country 1 2 3 16. Bulgarias landscape overall is relatively flat 1 2 3

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165 Item True False Dont Know 17. Bulgaria has interesting cultural attractions 1 2 3 18. Bulgaria is a Slavic nation 1 2 3 19. Bulgaria was under 500 years of Turkish rule until 1878 1 2 3 20. Saints Cyril and Methodius invented the Cyrillic alphabet 1 2 3 21. Yogurt originated in Bulgaria 1 2 3 22. Bulgarias dominant religion is Christianity 1 2 3 23. Bulgaria uses the Cyrillic alphabet 1 2 3 24. Bulgaria is not a member of the European Union 1 2 3 Part V. The following statements reflect you r perceptions/images of Bulgaria as a travel destination. Please use the scale below and circle the number that matches your response. As a tourist destination Bulgaria: Item Strongly Disagree DisagreeNeutral Agree Strongly Agree Dont Know 25. Has pleasant climate 1 2 3 4 5 9 26. Has good beaches 1 2 3 4 5 9 27. Has many tourist attractions 1 2 3 4 5 9 28. Has national parks/wilderness areas 1 2 3 4 5 9 29. Is a safe place to visit 1 2 3 4 5 9 30. Offers good value for the money 1 2 3 4 5 9 31. Has good shopping facilities 1 2 3 4 5 9 32. Has ornate churches and monasteries 1 2 3 4 5 9 33. Has many historical sites and museums 1 2 3 4 5 9 34. Has traditional handicraft 1 2 3 4 5 9 35. Has convenient public and private transport 1 2 3 4 5 9 36. Has good opportunities for hiking/mountaineering 1 2 3 4 5 9 37. Has beautiful scenery and nature 1 2 3 4 5 9 38. Has rich cultural heritage 1 2 3 4 5 9 39. Has overcrowded areas 1 2 3 4 5 9

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166 Item Strongly Disagree DisagreeNeutral Agree Strongly Agree Dont Know 40. Has quality roads and airports 1 2 3 4 5 9 41. Is rich in archaeological treasures 1 2 3 4 5 9 42. Is a place for relaxation 1 2 3 4 5 9 43. Has friendly local people 1 2 3 4 5 9 44. Offers an opportunity to easily get around the country 1 2 3 4 5 9 45. Has quality hotels/accommodations 1 2 3 4 5 9 46. Has tasty cuisine 1 2 3 4 5 9 47. Is a family-oriented destination 1 2 3 4 5 9 48. Has a different language, which presents a language barrier 1 2 3 4 5 9 49. Has tourist information available 1 2 3 4 5 9 50. Is fun and enjoyable 1 2 3 4 5 9 51. Has good wine 1 2 3 4 5 9 52. Has open air markets 1 2 3 4 5 9 53. Has good skiing opportunities 1 2 3 4 5 9 54. Is rich in folk dance and song 1 2 3 4 5 9 55. Has good quality of service 1 2 3 4 5 9 56. Offers a good opportunity to increase my knowledge about a different culture 1 2 3 4 5 9 57. Is a clean country 1 2 3 4 5 9 58. Lacks commercialization 1 2 3 4 5 9 59. Offers a variety of recreation activities 1 2 3 4 5 9 60. Has good nightlife and entertainment 1 2 3 4 5 9 61. My overall image of Bulgaria is positive. (P lease circle the number that best matches your response). Strongly Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Dont Disagree Agree Know 1 2 3 4 5 9

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167 Please stop filling out the questionnair e. Watch video, after which please finish the questionnair e. Please do not refer to your responses made before the video. Part VI. The following question asks you about your familiarity with Bulgaria. Please use the scale below and circle the num ber that matches your response. 62. Now that you have more information abou t Bulgaria, how familiar/knowledgeable do you consider yourself to be with the country? Not at all familiar Slightly familiar Fairly familiar Quite familiar Very familiar 1 2 3 4 5 Part VII. The following statements reflect yo ur knowledge about Bulgaria. Please use the scale below and circle the numb er that matches your response. Item True False Dont Know 63. Bulgaria has a temperate climate 1 2 3 64. Bulgaria is a peaceful nation 1 2 3 65. Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria 1 2 3 66. Bulgaria has several mountains 1 2 3 67. Bulgaria was founded in the 7th century 1 2 3 68. Bulgarias population is 7.9 million 1 2 3 69. Bulgaria is a small nation, approximately the size of North Carolina 1 2 3 70. Bulgaria is a communist country 1 2 3 71. Bulgarias landscape overall is relatively flat 1 2 3 72. Bulgaria has interesting cultural attractions 1 2 3 73. Bulgaria is a Slavic nation 1 2 3 74. Bulgaria was under 500 years of Turkish rule until 1878 1 2 3 75. Saints Cyril and Methodius invented the Cyrillic alphabet 1 2 3 76. Yogurt originated in Bulgaria 1 2 3 77. Bulgarias dominant religion is Christianity 1 2 3 78. Bulgaria uses the Cyrillic alphabet 1 2 3 79. Bulgaria is not a member of the European Union 1 2 3

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168 Part VIII. Please answer the following ques tions by writing in the space provided. 80. What images or characteristics first come to mind when thinking about going on vacation to Bulgaria? Please describe in your own words. Part IX. The following statements reflect your perceptions/images of Bulgaria as a travel destination. Please use the scale below and circle the number that matches your response. As a tourist destination Bulgaria: Item Strongly Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree Dont Know 81. Has pleasant climate 1 2 3 4 5 9 82. Has good beaches 1 2 3 4 5 9 83. Has many tourist attractions 1 2 3 4 5 9 84. Has national parks/wilderness areas 1 2 3 4 5 9 85. Is a safe place to visit 1 2 3 4 5 9 86. Offers good value for the money 1 2 3 4 5 9 87. Has good shopping facilities 1 2 3 4 5 9 88. Has ornate churches and monasteries 1 2 3 4 5 9 89. Has many historical sites and museums 1 2 3 4 5 9 90. Has traditional handicraft 1 2 3 4 5 9 91. Has convenient public and private transport 1 2 3 4 5 9 92. Has good opportunities for hiking/mountaineering 1 2 3 4 5 9 93. Has beautiful scenery and nature 1 2 3 4 5 9 94. Has rich cultural heritage 1 2 3 4 5 9

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169 Item Strongly Disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Agree Dont Know 95. Has overcrowded areas 1 2 3 4 5 9 96. Has quality roads and airports 1 2 3 4 5 9 97. Is rich in archaeological treasures 1 2 3 4 5 9 98. Is a place for relaxation 1 2 3 4 5 9 99. Has friendly local people 1 2 3 4 5 9 100. Offers an opportunity to easily get around the country 1 2 3 4 5 9 101. Has quality hotels/accommodations 1 2 3 4 5 9 102. Has tasty cuisine 1 2 3 4 5 9 103. Is a familyoriented destination 1 2 3 4 5 9 104. Has a different language, which presents a language barrier 1 2 3 4 5 9 105. Has tourist information available 1 2 3 4 5 9 106. Is fun and enjoyable 1 2 3 4 5 9 107. Has good wine 1 2 3 4 5 9 108. Has open air markets 1 2 3 4 5 9 109. Has good skiing opportunities 1 2 3 4 5 9 110. Is rich in folk dance and song 1 2 3 4 5 9 111. Has good quality of service 1 2 3 4 5 9 112. Offers a good opportunity to increase my knowledge about a different culture 1 2 3 4 5 9 113. Is a clean country 1 2 3 4 5 9 114. Lacks commercialization 1 2 3 4 5 9 115. Offers a variety of recreation activities 1 2 3 4 5 9 116. Has good nightlife and entertainment 1 2 3 4 5 9

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170 117. My overall image of Bulgaria is positive. (P lease circle the number that best matches your response). Strongly Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly Dont Disagree Agree Know 1 2 3 4 5 9 Part X. The following questions relate to your past travel experien ces and future intended travel. Please circle the number that mo st closely fits your experience or intent. 118. Have you ever traveled internationally? Never 1-2 times 3-4 times 5 or more times 1 2 3 4 What countries have you visited? __________________________________________________ 119. How many times have you traveled to Europe? Never 1-2 times 3-4 times 5 or more times 1 2 3 4 Which European countries have you visited? _________________________________________ 120. How likely are you to choose Bulgaria as yo ur next international vacation destination? Very unlikely Unlikely So mewhat likely Likely Very likely 1 2 3 4 5 121. Do you plan to travel to Bulgaria in the next 5 years for vacation purposes? Very unlikely Unlikely So mewhat likely Likely Very likely 1 2 3 4 5 122. Do you plan to travel abroad in the next 5 years for vacation purposes? Very unlikely Unlikely So mewhat likely Likely Very likely 1 2 3 4 5 123. Do you plan to travel to Europe in the next 5 years for vacation purposes? Very unlikely Unlikely So mewhat likely Likely Very likely 1 2 3 4 5 124. If I wanted I could easily visit Bu lgaria within the next 5 years. Strongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree 1 2 3 4 5 125. For me to visit Bulgaria in the next 5 years would be Impossible _______ ______ _______ Possible 1 2 3 4 5

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171 126. I believe I have the resour ces to travel to Bulgaria within the next 5 years. Strongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree 1 2 3 4 5 127. Visiting Bulgaria is expensive. Strongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree 1 2 3 4 5 128. The cost of travel to Bulgaria w ould influence my visiting decision. Strongly disagree Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly agree 1 2 3 4 5 Part XI. Information sources 129. What types of information sources do you typi cally use when planning a vacation? Please circle all numbers that apply. 1.Travel guide/tour books 6.Friends/relatives 2.Own travel files 7.Official web site of destination 3.Travel agent 8.Internet 4.Travel magazines 9.Newspaper 5.Travel club 10Other _________________________ Part XII. Tourist Roles 130. From the following four descriptions please choose the one that describes your travel characteristics best when you typically travel. ____ I enjoy packaged tours with pre-planned itineraries. I enj oy traveling with a knowledgeable guide along with a group of friends, fa mily or other Americans. Comfort is very important. ____ I travel independently of a tour but I appreciate the services of a travel agent who can plan parts of my trip. I enjoy traveli ng with friends and family, and together we visit the famous sites. Comfort is important. ____ I enjoy arranging the trip myse lf and traveling alone or with a few close friends. Meeting local people is important and I pr efer to get off the beaten path; however, comfort and reliable transportation are important. ____ I enjoy engaging completely in a host countrys culture. I enjoy the freedom of having no travel itinerary, timetable, or well-defined travel goals. I shun the beaten path. I will forgo comfort for economy and even work along the way to fund my travels.

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172 Part XIII. Now a few questions to help us interpret your response. (Please circle one response.) 131. Are you: 1. Male 2..Female? 132. What is your curr ent marital status? 1Single, never married 2M arried/Partnered 3Widowed 4Separated/Divorced 133. In what year were you born? ________ Year 134. Which statement best describes your TOTA L 2006 annual family (including your parents) income? (Please circle one response.) 1.$25,000 or less 5.$100,001 $125,000 2.$25,001 $50,000 6.$125,001 $150,000 3.$50,001 $75,000 7.$150,001 or more 4.$75,001 $100,000 135. What will your class standing be in fall 2007? (Please circle one) 1.Freshman 4.Senior 2.Sophomore 5.Graduate student 3.Junior 136. What is your racial or ethnic background? 1.Black, not of Hispanic origin 4.Hispanic 2.Asian or Pacific Islander 5.Nativ e American or American Indian 3.White, not of Hispanic origin 6.Pacific Islander 7.Other ________________________ Thank you for your participation in this study!

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186 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Kristina Ivanova Roberts was born in Poland. However, she is Bulgarian, and now an Am erican citizen. She grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria and has also lived in Prague, Czech Republic. She completed two years of her studies in geogra phy at Sofia University, then completed a year in Business at the Anglo-American College in Pra gue. Eventually she transferred as a student to the University of Florida, Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism (now Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management). She gradua ted with honors in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in tourism. After grad uation with a Master of Science degree in recreation, parks, and tourism she plans to work in tourism marketing.