Destination countries' risk image as perceived by Finnish travellers
Avainsanat:turvallisuus, matkailijat, matkailukohteet, mielikuvat, päätöksenteko
The impact of destination image on travellers’ decision-making process is well acknowledged, as are travellers’ perceptions of risk. However, it seems that scholars have paid less attention to travellers’ country-related risk perceptions, a topic which the current study focuses on. This study explores how travellers perceive countries in terms of risk and which risk types and personal safety dimensions correlate with country risk perception. The quantitative study applied found that Finnish travellers associate various levels of risk with specific countries, with some being perceived as very high risk destinations, such as Israel and Kenya, and others being perceived as having a very low level of risk, such as Sweden and Germany. The study also discovered that some countries are perceived to present physical risks, whereas others present more social risks. Furthermore, in its focus on personal safety, the study shows how violence is associated with countries like South Africa, whereas accidents are associated with Italy. The study contributes to the existing research by revealing how destination countries’ risk image is unique, varies from country to country, and is conditioned by travellers’ general risk perception and personal safety concerns. In particular, the study contributes insight into the aspects of country image risk perceived by Finnish travellers. This insight is especially useful for destination marketing organisations discussing branding issues pertaining brand image.