Mere association of product image and travel destination

Richard Lee*, Huda Khan, Steve Bellman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


While some recent studies found that product perceptions could engender an attitude toward the product's origin-country as a travel destination (destination-attitude), a theoretical explanation of the phenomenon remains unclear. This study provides causal evidence that the phenomenon occurs through mere association effect. Four experiments showed that destination-attitude formation occurred via an implicit (i.e., unconscious) process, and the attitude mediated the influence of product image on visit intention. Causal evidence was provided by visual and cognitive load manipulations. Finally, product-country incongruence was found to be a boundary condition. Hence, exporters, tourism policy makers and businesses should collaborate for mutual gains to enhance the competitiveness of the country's exports and tourism market.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103062
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of Tourism Research
Early online date10 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Dual-process theory
  • Halo effect
  • Mere association effect
  • Product advertising
  • Travel destination image


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