American Tourists’ Pre- and Post-Trip Image of Cuba as a Travel Destination

By Pavlína Látková and Jackson Wilson.

Published by Journal of Tourism and Leisure Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: September 26, 2016 $US5.00

The study explored the pre- and post-trip image of Cuba as a travel destination using Echtner and Ritchie’s (1993) concept of destination’s holistic and unique image components. The study included nine travelers comprising a professional delegation focusing on sustainable development in Cuba. Semistructured interviews were conducted via Skype with each participant before and after their trip in January 2013. Two independent researchers conducted verbatim transcription of interviews, coded data, and identified emergent themes. The perception of Cuba as an “accidental Eden” was reflected in the study participants’ pre-trip expectations and reinforced by the actual experience of visiting Cuba. Participants recalled experiencing unspoiled natural beauty, a welcoming culture, and a strong sense of community grounded in art. Participants’ pre-trip expectations of political tension and desperate poverty were partially countered by participants’ actual experience in Cuba. Participants shared that Cuba was the safest place they had ever visited. Participants did witness indicators of poverty. However, they were also surprised that they did not see some characteristics of poverty that they often saw in the United States. An assessment of holistic and unique components of Cuba’s image held by American tourists provides baseline information for Cuban tourism marketing strategies to specifically target American tourists.

Keywords: American Tourists, Cuba, Emerging Destination, Pre- and Post-Trip Destination Image

Journal of Tourism and Leisure Studies, Volume 1, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.29-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: September 26, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 605.093KB)).

Pavlína Látková

Associate Professor, Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, USA

Jackson Wilson

Associate Professor, Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California, USA