This study aims to contribute to knowledge in the under-researched area of destination images held by non-visitors. In particular, it investigates what the images of London held by the Czech non-visitors are, how these were formed and how country and place of residence influence these images and their formation.
Overall, three hundred responses were collected in this qualitative study conducted in the Czech Republic. Three case study areas with different degrees of urbanization were chosen for the purposes of this exploratory enquiry. A research instrument with open ended questions was selected as a method. Primary research was conducted with the same instrument in two stages, firstly through local magazines and then through libraries. The collected responses were then translated from Czech into English and analysed through multiple analyses.
It has been found that non-visitors imagine the destination through comparisons. Comparisons of the imagined destination with the culture and environment of the place one resides in are discussed. The findings also show that the first images individual forms of a destination persist over time. This is especially important in the postcommunist context of this study. It is also evidenced that the key sources non-visitors use in their formation process are the sources perceived to be highly credible which also tend to be less commercial sources such as school, books and films. The findings also show that archetypal images of a city, capital city, world city and foreign place exist and inform the destination image. These tend to differ according to the place one resides in. Country-related as well as place-related factors that influence destination image are discussed. In regards to the non-visitors’ aspect, it is acknowledged that different types of non-visitors have different image formation processes.