Identifying Destination Image of Rural Areas: The Case of Brookings, South Dakota

  •  Chinomso Diejomaoh    
  •  Xu Li    
  •  HungLing Liu    


A clear understanding of destination image is crucial for developing effective marketing and positioning strategies. The purpose of the study is to examine the images of Brookings perceived by actual tourists. An online questionnaire was developed and sent to email subscribers of the largest local event center. A total of 344 valid responses were received. Overall tourists had positive perceptions of Brookings as a tourism destination. The study identified six Brookings’ image dimensions, including Outdoor Activities and Natural Scenery, Atmosphere, Tourism Infrastructure, Value for Money and Convenience, Historic Attractions, and College Town Style. The social and cultural environment is the most favored element in Brookings. As a college town, Brookings was differentiated from other rural tourism destinations. It is suggested that the city and the university work in partnership to increase visitation both to the campus and the community. To enhance Brookings’ image, destination marketers should focus on the low-rated image items and incorporate them in destination marketing materials.

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