Volume 6 Issue 3 June 2008 Applied Research Note 2

What is in three words? Tourists’ descriptions of the city of Wellington

by Abel D. Alonso (Edith Cowan University), & Mark Bruce-Miller (Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, Nelson, New Zealand

In recent years, studies have underlined the importance of destination image, not only as a tool to understand travelers’ destination choice, but also as an instrument to market places. Today, while many destinations benefit from a positive image, others still experience travelers’ general lack of interest and in the process, potential opportunities to benefit from visitors may be lost. This study investigates the views of visitors to the city of Wellington in New Zealand, asking travelers to define the city in three words. Responses from 817 travelers were gathered from individuals traveling to (pre-visits) and from Wellington (post-visits). While the overall views of respondents are positive about the city, several responses also demonstrate that travelers leaving the city do not seem to remember the city for its culture, atmosphere, entertainment or numerous restaurants and nightlife establishments even though these are central aspects of Wellington’s marketed image. In addition, some views are related to negative aspects of the city for travelers, including poor signage, noise and crowdedness. The research findings hold some interesting implications for city officials and tourist authorities who are responsible for the effective marketing of Wellington as a visitor destination.

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