Exploring cognitive and affective components of Belgrade's destination image

Nikola Todorović, Aljoša Budović, Milica Ćihova, Danijela Riboškić, Vanja Piroški


Belgrade is the most popular tourist destination in Serbia, whose tourism industry is rapidly recovering from the turbulent events of the 1990s. However, Belgrade's destination managers yet need to create competitive advantages which would improve the city's ability to compete with more prominent cities in the international market. These managerial efforts should be based on relevant image assessments. As previous studies failed to address the complexity of the city’s image, the aim of this research is to offer a comprehensive insight into Belgrade's destination image by combining quantitative and qualitative data collection methods in order to identify the crucial components of its cognitive and affective images. Additionally, this study examines the influence of various tourists’ socio-demographic characteristics on their perceptions of destination image, providing both theoretical and marketing implications. Cultural attractions, nightlife, gastronomy and history were identified in the qualitative study as the most important elements of Belgrade’s cognitive image, while the most common affective associations were related to it being vibrant, authentic and relaxing. In the quantitative study, six factors of Belgrade’s cognitive image were identified – Tourist Attractions, Services and Fun, Environment, Accessibility, Local Residents, and River Banks and Green Areas. Regarding the affective component, it was established that Belgrade was primarily perceived as pleasant, but also as exciting, cheerful and relaxing. Hypotheses testing indicated that tourists’ affective responses towards Belgrade varied in relation to their gender and geographical origin, while some of their cognitive perceptions differed in relation to their gender, age, education and employment.

Key words: Belgrade, destination image, cognitive image, affective image, urban tourism

© 2018 Serbian Geographical Society, Belgrade, Serbia. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Serbia

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