The aim of this thesis is to examine the tourist’s post-visit image of North Korea. North Korea is one of the poorest countries in the world (French, 2014) and its tourism industry is relatively small with about 100.000 visitors each year (Beauchamp, 2017). Tourism brings more income to a destination (Zaei & Zaei, 2013), which is why improving North Korea’s destination marketing could be of great interest for the destination. A key way to strengthen the marketing is by understanding tourists’ destination images (Buhalis, 2000). There is often too little focus on learning from post-visit images (Çakmak & Isaac, 2012) and since nothing is known about post-visit images of North Korea, this is the subject of investigation in this thesis. It is a netnographic study which includes a word frequency analysis, semantic network analysis and critical content analysis are performed on 96 travel blogs about North Korea. The results show that tourists mainly travel to the destination for its unusual sides. Certain aspects are unique to North Korea, such as its controlling of citizens and tourists, big focus on the leaders and strong presence of propaganda. Tourists dislike certain aspects of their tours, such as constantly being followed by the guides, but also see it as part of the unique experience. None of the bloggers regret traveling to North Korea.
Author: J. de Raaff (2018)