TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2017, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (4): 462-472.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.002969

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Perception and Reacting Strategies to Chinese Outbound Tourist Image: Taking Thailand Public Media as an Example

WIRUN PHICHAIWONGPHAKDEE1,3,WU Yuefang2,XU Honggang1   

  1. [ 1.Sun Yat-sen University, School of Tourism,Guangzhou 518000,China;2.Department of Finance and Management,Foshan Polytechnic,Foshan 528137,China;3.Suratthani Rajabhat University(?????????????????????????????),Thailand 84100 ]
  • Online:2017-07-05 Published:2017-07-05

Abstract: By conducting content analysis of public media materials in Thailand, this research investigates into the construction, understandings and comments of the Chinese outbound tourists’ images in the host country’s society. The interactions between public media, tourist behavior and tourist image were examined, while the dynamics between micro tourist image and macro country image were investigated. 146 pieces of news and 10 articles of comments from the website of Thairath.com were scrutinized, which were then classified and coded in accordance with the content analysis methodology. The analytic structure of cognition-affection image was employed in the classification. The research finds that, understandings of Chinese tourist image from Thailand society are composed of cognitive and affective ones, where for the former the three dimensions of behavioral image, cultural image and economic/purchasing power image of the Chinese outbound tourist are emphasized. The behavior image is demonstrated through trip characteristic and code of conduct of the tourists. And the cultural image is centered by cultural concept, religion tradition and social morality, while the economic/purchasing power image is formed based on understanding of the market capacity and consuming power of Chinese outbound tourists. Among them, the economic/purchasing power image is dominating in the perception of general Chinese tourist image in Thailand society. The market value and spending power of Chinese market makes it increasingly influential in Thailand economic and social development, which facilitates the formation of a generally positive affective image in the dominating public media. However, perception of Chinese tourist image is controversial from social media. Negative emotion is being generated from divergent user-operated media, such as Facebook and micro-blogging, which was further parted into different organizations like “Anti-Chinese in Chiang Mai”. In 2015 conflicts concerning the uncivilized behaviors and disappointing images of Chinese tourists on the internet occurred, and the market fluctuated. To cope with the negative impacts on inbound tourism market, proactive reacting strategies from Thailand government and tourism industry were implemented. Thailand government further emphasized the importance of Chinese market and deal with the abusive remarks on the internet. And Thailand tourism industries advocate cultural empathy and urge the citizen to deal with cultural differences rationally. Meanwhile, they have realized the discrepancy in public infrastructure and carrying capacity and act positively to solve the problems. It is also found from the research that the discrepancy in the perception of micro image of tourists and macro image of the country leads to the tension in Thailand people’s understanding towards China, and it sheds new light on the construction and refinement of Chinese outbound tourist image.

Key words: outbound tourism, media opinion, tourist image, national image, Thailand