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    State tourism officials need to know more about the nature of in-state and out-of-state visitor characteristics and how actual and potential visitors perceive local destinations. The main objective of this study was to understand Virginia's image as a travel destination versus competitive states in the Mid-Atlantic region of the USA. The regional competitiveness of Virginia as a tourism destination was evaluated by creating a "perceptual map" which reveals the similarities and differences in how 10 states were rated on the 48 destination attributes included in the survey. Results showed that Virginia stands out in the quality of its natural and historical landscape; features shared by many of the surrounding competitive states. Virginia competes with Pennsylvania, North Carolina, West Virginia on natural features and competes with Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina, and Georgia on historic and cultural heritage. Virginia's amenities are well known, but lack emotional impact. Possible marketing strategies would be to give Virginia a stronger emotional image, while building on its strong reputation for quality natural and cultural attractions. It is also important that destination promotional activities focus on differentiating features of places in a regional context so that complementary tourism products within the region can also be developed.

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    Uysal, Muzaffer; Chen, Joseph S.; Williams, Daniel R. 2000. Increasing state market share through regional positioning. Tourism Management. 21: 89-96.


    tourist image, destination competitiveness, perceptual mapping, regional positioning

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