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Open AccessArticle

Instagram as a Co-Creation Space for Tourist Destination Image-Building: Algarve and Costa del Sol Case Studies

1
Faculty of Economics and Business Studies, Universidad de Málaga, 29071 Malaga, Spain
2
ESGHT, Universidade do Algarve & CiTUR & CinTurs & CEG-IST, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, 1649-004 Lisboa, Portugal
3
Faculty of Communications Sciences, Universidad de Málaga, 29071 Malaga, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2793; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072793
Received: 26 February 2020 / Revised: 28 March 2020 / Accepted: 30 March 2020 / Published: 1 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Co-creation of Sustainable Tourism Experiences)
Instagram is a popular social media platform. Its ability to convey feelings through photographs has become a valuable communication tool for tourism destination branding. The cases of two destinations in Southern Europe provide an understanding of how Instagram can be used to promote a destination’s image by Destination Management Organizations (DMOs). For this purpose, a content analysis is carried out, first of the official Instagram accounts of Algarve (Portugal) and Costa del Sol (Spain), and then of the most popular hashtags related to them, showing User-Generated Content (UGC) from the points of view of both destination managers and tourists. The results show that Instagram is a strategic social media platform for enhancing the brand image by engaging customers. Destinations seize content generated by tourists; therefore, the hermeneutic circle of representation is inverted, as photos taken by tourists aim to reproduce the perceived image of a destination and motivate tourists to capture their experiences with the best picture. Additionally, it is worth highlighting, as a main finding, the role of sustainability as a key factor in UGC for DMOs and for Instagram users. This research provides valuable information about designing promotion strategies for DMOs, in order to understand the potential of Instagram in building a destination’s image and inspiring tourism through images. View Full-Text
Keywords: destination image; social media; User-Generated Content (UGC); Instagram; Destination Management Organisations (DMOs); tourism experience; co-creation destination image; social media; User-Generated Content (UGC); Instagram; Destination Management Organisations (DMOs); tourism experience; co-creation
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Iglesias-Sánchez, P.P.; Correia, M.B.; Jambrino-Maldonado, C.; de las Heras-Pedrosa, C. Instagram as a Co-Creation Space for Tourist Destination Image-Building: Algarve and Costa del Sol Case Studies. Sustainability 2020, 12, 2793.

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