FILM TOURISM PLANNING BASED ON CHINESE GENERATION Z TOURISTS’ PREFERENCE FOR BUDAPEST

 

1 Junfeng Shi – 2 Erdélyi Éva

1 Graduate Student, Budapest Business School; Junfeng.shi97@gmail.com

2 Associate Professor, Budapest Business School;  SzaboneErdelyi.Eva@uni-bge.hu

DOI: 10.15170/TVT.2022.07.02.08.

 

A tanulmány letöltése pdf-ben

 

Abstract

 

Budapest, a destination that attracts film production from worldwide, intends to attract an increasing number of Chinese tourists. Meanwhile, Film travel has become a new fashion in China. This article aims to 1) identify the preference of Chinese tourists in terms of film tourism 2) form up Budapest’s city positioning and branding to the Chinese public based on Chinese tourists’ opinions. 3) propose a city project that combines the Chinese tourists’ preference and their cognition of Budapest. The literature review offers an overview of destination branding through storytelling, film-induced tourism, tourists’ decision-making process, and the importance of Chinese tourists and their Hungarian relevance. Primary research using a focus group discussion with three scenario settings. A questionnaire with 391 respondents to verify the results of the focused group and collect information about Chinese tourists’ Budapest experience and related knowledge, employing cross-analysis, comparison analysis, and frequency analysis. A content analysis based VIRO framework. The result indicates that Chinese tourists’ film travel intentions are more positively correlated with destination resources and intangible elements. An immersive experience plays a crucial role in building satisfaction. Learning new things during the journey refers to tourist education and destination campaign. Key findings contribute to a better understanding of the young Chinese visitors’ preferences that helps the destination planning, branding, targeting Chinese, and further cope with their demand. Foresight in strategic tourism planning generates a profound influence on destination development and future potential.

Keywords: Film Tourism, Chinese Tourists’ Preference, Budapest, Destination Planning.

Acknowledgment: This research has been supported by More Innovation! Talent Orientation Research Group, financed by the Budapest Business School Research Fund.

 

FILMTURIZMUS TERVEZÉS BUDAPESTEN KÍNAI Z GENERÁCIÓS TURISTÁK PREFENRECIÁJÁNAK ALAPJÁN

 

Absztrakt

 

A filmturizmus Kínában új divattá vált. Budapest egy népszerű filmgyártási helyszín világszerte, mely egyre több kínai turistát is vonz. A tanulmány célja 1) azonosítani a kínai turisták filmturizmussal kapcsolatos preferenciáját, 2) a kínai turisták véleménye alapján kialakítani Budapest város pozicionálását és brandingjét a kínai látogatók számára, 3) javaslatot tenni egy projektre, amely Budapest megismerését célozza a kínai turisták preferenciájának figyelembevételével. A szakirodalmi összefoglaló desztináció márkaépítésről nyújt áttekintést a történetmesélésen, a filmturizmuson, a turisták döntéshozatali folyamatán, valamint a kínai turisták jelentőségén és annak magyar vonatkozásán keresztül. A primer kutatás tartalmaz egy fókuszcsoportos interjút, amely három forgatókönyvre támaszkodik; valamint egy kérdőíves felmérést, amely 391 válaszadó véleménye alapján támasztja alá a fókuszcsoportos interjú következtetéseit. A kínai turisták Budapestről szerzett ismereteiről és az ott tapasztaltakról gyűjtött információk elemzése kapcsolatvizsgálattal, gyakoriság- és összehasonlító módszerek alkalmazásával történt. A tartalomelemzést a VRIO üzleti elemzés keretrendszer alapozta meg.

Az eredmények alapján elmondható, hogy a kínai turisták filmes utazási szándékai pozitívan korrelálnak a desztináció erőforrásaival és az immateriális elemekkel. Az elégedettség kialakításában döntő szerepet játszik a magával ragadó élmény. Az utazás során elsajátított új ismeretekről szerzett tapasztalat segíti a turisták edukációját és a desztinációs kampányt. A legfontosabb megállapítások hozzájárulnak a fiatal kínai látogatók preferenciáinak jobb megértéséhez, ami segíti a kínai turistákat célzó desztináció tervezést, a márkaépítést, a kereslet további kielégítését. A stratégiai turisztikai tervezésben való előrelátás nagymértékben befolyásolja a desztináció fejlesztését és rámutat a jövőbeni további lehetőségre.

Kulcsszavak: filmturizmus, kínai turisták preferenciája, Budapest, desztináció tervezés

Köszönetnyilvánítás: A kutatás a Merj Innovatívan! Tehetség Orientálás Kutatócsoport keretében készült, a Budapesti Gazdasági Egyetem Kutatási Alap támogatásával.

 

Introduction

 

Film-induced tourism was prosperous and prevailing before the Covid-19 pandemic burst out and highly correlated with tourism development. Under the Covid-19 pandemic, on the one hand, several restriction regulations limit people’s entertainment and social activities, which leads to more often watching movies (LOTHAR 2020). On the other hand, people are heavily influenced by restrictions for an extended period while nurturing a strong sense of eagerness to travel. An online survey based on 1190 respondents’ feedback regarding Generation Z in China in 2020, indicated that the most widespread interests and hobbies for this generation were watching films and series (STATISTA 2020a). Nowadays, Film travel is considered a new fashion in China (CONNELL 2012), which stimulates the motivation of Chinese tourists to follow up the trend of travel with the film’ in post-pandemic time (TENG 2020).

Budapest, the capital of Hungary, has rich tourism resources, and the city attractions appeared in several famous films or series in different countries, such as Doctor Stranger (South Korea), Black Widow (USA Marvel Studios), etc.  On the one hand, in order to attract more Chinese tourists to visit and actively participate in China’s One Belt and One Road Initiative, in 2019, 4 direct flights from Budapest to all parts of China were added and the Chinese language was added at the Budapest airport signage; on the other hand, the Chinese public has a vague impression of Budapest, and Budapest’s city positioning and branding in the eyes of Chinese tourists are not clear.

Several researchers believe that movies have a great influence on tourists’ motivation to travel (HAMZAH et al. 2016, LIU – PRATT 2019, MACIONIS – SPARKS 2009), especially for Chinese tourists (COATES – COATES – MOSTAFANEZHAD 2018, YU – YEN – XIANG 2018). Some scholars remind us that film tourism can greatly help with city positioning and branding (CHANDRAN 2014, BAYRAM 2020, O’CONNOR – FLANAGAN – GILBERT 2008). Admittedly, these are all very important. Current research mainly focuses on the influence of film tourism on destinations (STEWART 2022) and the benefits of building up the destination brand (ŞAHBAZ – BAYRAM 2017). This study, however, has shown another aspect, that a destination tourism concept is raised based on the tourists’ preferences.

The aim of this study is to 1) identify the preference of Chinese tourists in terms of film tourism 2) form up Budapest’s city positioning and branding to the Chinese public based on Chinese tourists’ opinions. 3) propose a city project that combines the Chinese tourists’ preference and their cognition of Budapest.

 

1. Literature review

 

1.1. Destination Branding

 

A scholar tries to emphasize that the brand name for the destination is often fixed but the use of slogans and symbols is utilized to communicate the name of the destination with associated benefits (CAI 2002). His pioneer study focuses on the tangible elements mixed with branding. From another perspective, PUCZKO, RATZ and SMITH (2007) emphasize that branding a destination is not simply promoting and selling it to tourists but more about building and communicating an emotional dimension. MORGAN, PRITCHARD, and PIGGOTT (2002) discover the significance of both tangible and intangible values to distinguish destination brands from generic products and services. The travel destination positioning and branding play a crucial role in coping with the public’s diverse demands and creating a certain level of emotional resonance, which further adds some colors to an ordinary leisure journey.

On the one hand, city branding not only lays a solid foundation for the direction of local tourism development but also provides a platform for local stakeholders, enabling them to continue to innovate on this platform (KEMP – WILLIAMS – BORDELON 2012). On the other hand, according to the positioning of the tourist city, a series of marketing methods are used to make it a brand. KAVARATZIS and ASHWORTH (2006) determined that city branding is to fully tap the various resources of the city and find the personality, soul, and concept of the city according to the principles of uniqueness, exclusivity, and authority. Positioning is the soul of building a brand. The value of a city brand is its positioning in the market and irreplaceable unique selling propositions (MORRISON – ANDERSON 2002). Just like a product brand, a famous brand stands for a century because it always follows its positioning and maintains its difference from its competitors (INGENHOFF – FUHRER 2010). City branding is regarding understanding, influencing, and managing the direction in which cities are appreciated and recognized by audiences (EUROPEAN CITIES MARKETING 2016).

 

Figure 1: MARSO Model of city branding

Source: Own Compilation

 

The MARSO model (Figure 1) stands for five aspects of city branding: Moral, Appreciation of beauty, Relationship, Strength, and Opportunity. The Moral aspect refers to whether to pay attention to people and people’s livelihood. The Appreciation of beauty aspect emphasizes whether it is charming or not. Relationship refers to the relationship with people, such as the relationship between tourists and locals. Strengths refer to strengths in culture, geographic location, products, service, etc; Opportunities stand for the future potential development based on the destination resources and capabilities. Therefore, when shaping a city’s own brand positioning, a city shall firmly focus on the four critical points of morals, appreciation of beauty, relationship, and strengths, and give full play to its unique selling propositions and characteristics.  In tourists’ minds, Paris is the capital of romance, Vienna is the capital of music, and Venice is the capital of water. Pursuing their differentiation city positioning and branding enable those famous cities to stand out from others.

The cohesion, attraction, and influence power of the city brand will significantly enhance the competitiveness of the city. Therefore, the city brand is undoubtedly a vast intangible asset and has excellent value. For the city, it not only shows the characteristics of the city to the public and enhances the charm of the city but also promotes the construction of urban spiritual civilization, which is conducive to attracting talents and investment. For the local people, it enhances the cohesion of residents and drives the development of tourism. While in contrast, cities without a confident positioning and branding could take the chance to improve and develop themselves.

 

1.2. Destination branding through storytelling

 

CHAUTARD and COLLIN-LACHAUD (2019) deem that telling a story is a form of art that surpasses civilizations, boundaries, and cultures based on the essence of humanity.  MOSCARDO (2010) thinks that Storytelling is ubiquitous in every field of life, nurturing individuals’ links to each other while making sense of the world. In the field of tourism, a series of research reveals the benefits of adopting storytelling at destinations (KIM – YOUN 2016, BEN YOUSSEF – LEICHT – MARONGIU 2018).

In the past decade, marketing practitioners as ROSE (2011) mentioned that storytelling is used to be a formidable approach to linking and influencing their customers and potential prospects. Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) have been actively creating and developing the destination product and service strategically through storytelling (YOUSSEF et al. 2018). OLSSON, THERKELSEN, and MOSSBERG (2013) share the belief that destination branding through storytelling could communicate the integration of social and cultural values that turn into the unique selling point of a destination. Storytelling not only provokes the connections between destination brands and tourists but also plays a vital role in improving experiences and tourist education (SON – KIM 2011). Stories that associate destinations in the minds of potential tourists can be influential and reshape the actual journey (KIM – YOUN 2016).

HONG et al. (2021) point out that storytelling has been an effective marketing tool. However, the story created by a brand and the story that customers understand has a certain level of difference. In their pioneer study, they outline that consumers’ brand storytelling boosts favorable brand attitudes, at the same time, consumers share cognitive processing and experienced positive emotions. The storytelling approach generates stronger emotional than cognitive responses. (CRESPO – FERREIRA – CARDOSO 2022)

 

1.3. Film-induced tourism

 

Stories can be also the base of the film (CHO – KIM 2017). With the continuous development of tourism and the film industry, both have the same attributes of relaxation and entertainment, which leads to their continuous integration and creates a new form of tourism, namely film-induced tourism. In the past decades, several scholars have tried to define it from different perspectives. Hudson and Ritchie shared that film-induced tourism is defined as tourist visits to the destination featured on television, video, or cinema screen (HUDSON – RITCHIE 2006). Busby and Klug defined it in a way that the destinations appearing in movies, TV screens or videos will become the attractive elements for tourists to choose the destination (BUSBY – KLUG 2001). In addition, IWASHITA (2003) realized that the concept has been deepened in the definition that by showing the image and charm of the destination to the audience, movies, TV, and literary works can affect tourists’ subjective preference and destination choice. The name suggests that it is a tourism activity triggered by film shooting. In a general sense, it is to travel to all scenic spots related to film shooting, including landscape and culture. In a narrow sense, it refers to the shooting location according to the background, plot, character characteristics, and other specific needs of a film, including the destination culture, scenery, and history. Film tourism can be defined as the activities of traveling to these locations. Tourists are influenced and attracted by the story and characters of the film and then follow the film to the scenes to experience and generate emotional resonance.

 

1.4. Film Travel Framework

 

Currently, the existing research on the process of traveling or planning a journey is intended to merge and associate with a general consumer decision-making process, which proposes a critical 5 phases (ENGEL – BLACKWELL – MINIARD 1990).

 

Figure 2: Travel Planning Process

Source: COX et al. 2009

 

Five phases are shown in Figure 2 to determine the film travel process, which could be categorized into three stages. It starts with the stage of Pre-journey, which contains the need for recognition, information searching, and evaluation of alternatives phase, and then followed by the stage during the journey for experiencing the products or services, and lastly comes the stage of post-journey, which is mainly for the evaluation of what tourists experience in the previous stage.

The pre-journey stage plays a significant role in the destination marketing purposes, it can be correlated with how to provoke the need of tourists, further a chain of advertisement and its value proposition for helping tourists in selecting the destination. From a tourist’s perspective, as is often the case, tourists collect and review various forms of travel information in the travel decision-making process to minimize the risk of making a poor destination decision (NI – TSAO – WANG 2018).

As for the stage of during the trip, it is directly connected with the tourists’ experience, it involves everything that happens in a tourist situation. In other words, it can also be perceived as a learning process of something new in an unfamiliar location. Last and foremost, it is significantly influenced by management science (VERGOPOULOS 2016). A destination manages and cooperates with all of its resources and stakeholders in a way to satisfy and diversify the tourist’s experience.

The post-trip stage might play a significant role in evaluating satisfaction level, which is highly associated with the tourist experience during the journey and generate an influence of word of mouth. It positively influences destination image, and the public attitude towards the destination and even helps attract potential tourists and influence their decision-making process (RAMDAN – RAHARDJO – ABDILLAH 2017).

 

1.5. The importance of Chinese tourists and its Hungarian relevance

 

UNTONG et al. (2015) think that Chinese tourists play an increasingly significant role in the global tourism market while representing a solid consumption power for the destinations. According to the population census in 2021, the number of Chinese citizens has surpassed 1.4 billion. Because of the enormous potentiality of tourist sources and economic profit, tourism destinations are devoted to attracting more and more potential Chinese tourists. The impact of the global epidemic situation in 2020 has led to the stagnation and depression of the tourism industry on a global scale. Considering the actual validity of the data, the latest data will be based on 2019. According to UNWTO outbound tourism data, since 2013, China has become the world’s second-largest outbound tourist country after the United States. In recent years, the number of outbound tourists has shown a steady growth trend. In 2019, it surpassed the United States as the world’s largest outbound tourist country with approximately 155 million outbound tourists. Also, in the same year contribution of Chinese tourists to global tourism ranked first, Chinese tourists spent about 254.6 billion U.S. dollars while traveling abroad (WWW.UNWTO.ORG 2019). Meanwhile, according to the relevant report of the China Tourism Institute in 2019, the proportion of outbound tourists in China accounted for only 2.5% of China’s total tourists (STATISTA 2019). The number of Chinese outbound tourists is insignificant to the total number of Chinese tourists, but it is indeed the largest in the world compared with other countries. An obvious gap reflects the potential of China’s outbound tourism, and those Chinese tourists will become a certain help to accelerate the booming development tourism industry of destination countries.

In terms of the role of Chinese tourists in Hungary, a total of 277,389 Chinese tourists visited Hungary in 2019, and an 8.36% increase year-on-year is detected (CHINA- CEEC.ORG). Hungary is the first EU member to join China’s One Belt One Road initiative and one of the most active members promoting it. Budapest, a city not only attracts an increasing number of film producers from all over the world nowadays but also preparing to welcome more Chinese tourists in the upcoming future. Four new direct flights were linking Budapest and China were launched in 2019, and altogether five direct flights in total; besides, Budapest airport started attaching more attention to the services offered to Chinese tourists.

 

2. Research Methodology

 

The study has been divided into two sections. The first section was about Chinese tourists’ preference for film tourism, and the second section was to investigate the experience or knowledge related to Budapest in Chinese tourists’ minds. By combing the findings from both sections of the study, a film tourism project proposal is raised for Budapest.

The first part of the study applied a longitude method with exploratory research. Primary research aims to summarize the preferences of Chinese tourists for film tourism. The results are interpreted employing cross-analysis, frequency analysis, and comparison analysis. The conclusion will help the destination stakeholders nurture a better understanding of Chinese tourists’ demands and form a destination development plan based on it. The design of the research is of great importance and requires it to comply with the principles of Specific、Measurable、Attainable、Relevant、Time-based (SMART).

Qualitative research, the most critical research in this study, was based on the focus group discussion method. The sample size was 18 Chinese participants who were invited through online meetings and face-to-face meetings. They were divided into three groups equally for three scenario-setting, which were ‘before the journey, ‘during the journey’ and ‘after the journey’ respectively. Meanwhile, the snowball sampling method was adopted to seek the 6 participants in real circumstances according to each scenario—this method and setting aim to explore the authentic expectation and help draw a more comprehensive conclusion. To imagine the film travel as a travel product, it is intriguing that the Minimum Viable Product Approach (MVP approach) was used to guide the discussion in all scenarios via giving a destination to the participants with lists of movies filmed there. For the ‘Before the Journey’ scenario, we gave the main question of how they would like to know this destination while leading them to conclude their preferred marketing channels, the forms of advertisement, and factors of intention. In terms of the ‘During the Journey’ scenario, the main question was about what they would like to experience in the journey, and they were asked to portray the expectation through a mind map at the time when they just started the journey and a review at the end of the journey for identifying the gap between perceived experience and expected experience. When it came to the ‘After the Journey’, a question of if they would like to visit again was asked, and the reasons for depicting the connection between the visitors and destination. The summary of the three scenarios’ results helps form a destination evaluation process from a tourist point of view while providing the destination stakeholders with an overview of Chinese tourists’ preference for film tourism.

In terms of quantitative research, an online questionnaire was an effective way to identify Chinese tourists’ preferences regarding the film travel process and verify the compatibility of focus group discussion results. For a broader range of respondents, a set of questionnaires in China was distributed through social media groups, randomly among Chinese respondents. The answers of 331 Chinese respondents have been recorded, and a comparison analysis was used at the end of the data analysis to seek common ground between them. In terms of the questionnaire structure, it was mainly categorized into three parts, which were demographic-, film-, and film tourism-oriented. The demographic part was designed for building up the respondent’s portfolio and helping with further cross-analysis. The film part was to determine the film’s influence on the public and rank the film elements based on respondents’ preferences. The film tourism part was focused on intention, transportation, accommodation, infrastructure, product, service, and activities. Those aspects results were valuable for demand and marketing purposes, factors improvement, the expectation for product development, service, and activities. The last was the innovation aspect which determined the acceptance of innovation and ranking of preferred aspects.

An additional section of the survey was collecting information about Chinese tourists’ Budapest experience and related knowledge, which aims to analyze the travel feedback and satisfaction level of those who have been to Budapest (192 respondents, 58%). It helps to conclude the attraction point of Budapest and the shortcoming that needs to be tackled. While in contrast, gaining understanding in terms of the impression and knowledge of Budapest from those who have not been to Budapest yet. It is conducive to recognize the main marketing channels where they got to know Budapest for the first time, and further explore this channel in an enormous scope. Furthermore, it reveals an initial city positioning in their eyes.

In the second part of the study, a content analysis was conducted on 1320 filtered reviews regarding Budapest from the three major Chinese Travel Forums (Mafengwo, Ctrip, QYER) to determine the category of attractions that reflects the Chinese tourist’s interest, which contributes to VIRO-Framework analysis of Budapest. A project concept proposal for Budapest is made based on key findings.

 

3. Findings and Analysis

 

3.1. Chinese tourists’ Preference for film tourism

 

In the focus group discussion, participants were given a destination and a list of the films that were shot there. The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) method was used to guide the participants to discuss various preferences in the three stages of film tourism. On this basis, build and enrich a tourism product prototype including Chinese tourists’ preferences for film travel. This product prototype will provide a reference for the development or innovation of film destinations.

In the first stage, the ‘before the journey’ stage, the participants in the discussion mainly summarized three parts of content, namely intention, travel-related information source, and preferred information presentation form. Corresponding to this is the marketing process of film destination, which presents the value proposition of a product to the right people in the right form at the right time and through the right channel. Starting from the intention part, which reflects the value proposition of a product, the main factors that can affect people’s intention are shooting rituals pictures in the film destination, the influence of the film and the main actors, the personal resonance between the film story and the destination, its resources that include the scenery, folk culture and history, and the diversity of local film tourism activities. As observed, the channels to obtain travel-related information mainly come from the current three major social media in China, namely Little Red Book, WeChat, and Weibo. In addition, the participants also take advantage of the information on the OTAs platform and the official website of the destination to have a deeper and comprehensive understanding. When it comes to the preferred form of travel advertising, the participants concluded that the most acceptable form is video based on their comprehensive preferences, followed by pictures with advertorials. At the same time, they think it is more convincing to listen to the recommendations of friends and the authentic travel experience shared by We-media.

In the second stage, the ‘during the journey’ stage, two-time points were set based on the method of tracking research, respectively, at the beginning and the end of the tour. This design is to understand people’s initial expectations and preferences for film tourism by tracking the same sample group and to make a comparison between the initial expectation and perceived experience at the end of the trip. In the discussion about movie travel expectations at the beginning of the trip, the participants described the results of their discussion through a mind map, which included their expectations for movie travel, preferred types of activities, transportation, and others. After reading and analyzing the conclusion, the exciting discovery was that people had a mentality of experiencing and learning new things during their travel. People’s yearning for the local scenery and curiosity about history and folk culture could become a significant foundation for the destination to educate tourists while arousing their awareness. In addition, the participants preferred to use shared transportation the most, such as bikes and scooters, then the metro. As for the film-related activities, people mainly paid attention to the movie restoration degree and the immersive experience. According to their description and rankings, they were most looking forward to an immersive experience-oriented travel route, exploring the footprints in the movie scenes, and resonating with the movie’s plots. In addition, they wanted to take the same photo of the movie, shoot their movie clip, taste the delicious food in the movie, or theme food. At the end of the trip, they had a second-half discussion. Overall, they thought that the movie-related activities they could choose were limited. The actual scene was not as spectacular as that in the movie. At the same time, there was no manual or guidance for the film travel at the destination. According to these issues, participants put forward three suggestions. First, more innovation and creativity should be put into the film shooting sites in the destination, such as setting up landmarks, statues, or even unique photo spots. The second is to create an integrated film tourism platform or software, which can integrate local maps, tourist attractions, and film shooting places, and even can be used to detect the real-time flow of people in each film. The last one is to establish a film base or theme park and implement long-term circular development.

The last stage, the ‘after the journey’ stage of discussion is mainly to determine the revisit rate and reasons so as to summarize how to consolidate or enhance the revisit intention of Chinese tourists. The main finding is that Chinese tourists pay much attention to the first travel experience. If they are not satisfied with the first travel experience, they will not return unless there is an irresistible reason or after a long time. However, if they are satisfied with their previous trip to this destination, overall, they are willing to visit again, mainly due to the following five reasons: to visit the places where they have built up the emotional connection; to visit places that have not been visited before; to experience different scenery and atmosphere in different seasons; to be interested in the development and innovation of tourism products in the destination or because the past attractions will be replaced; and finally, the most important finding is that the main reason they want to visit again is no longer about film tourism but attracted by the resources of the destination itself. Most importantly, an intriguing fact is that Chinese tourists love sharing their both positive and negative travel experiences on the social media platform after journey, such as Little Red Book. Those User Generated Content (UGI) provides a guideline for the upcoming Chinese tourists and stimulates public interest and recognition regarding the destination.

In addition to the focus group analysis, a set of questionnaires was designed. The answers of 331 Chinese respondents have been collected to verify if the focus group discussion results are compatible with the majority of Chinese respondents’ results. As a result of using the random sampling method and distributing it in social media groups, it is intriguing to conclude the general profile of Chinese respondents. It is easily recognized that 62.24% of respondents are female while 37.76% of respondents were male. 70.39% of respondents were between the age of 18 to 25 years old, and 73.72% of respondents were students. The main finding of the questionnaire verified and confirmed that the result of the focus group discussion matched with the majority of Chinese respondents. It shall be clarified that there are 81.87% of respondents would like to experience and learn something new in the journey, 95.62% of people agree that the theme park or theme base in the destination would increase their travel intention, 92.7% of people were in favor of launching a travel application and 70% of respondents are interested in product development and innovation while 27% of people stay in the neutral category.

The top four types of movies that Chinese respondents prefer are comedy, Sci-fi, adventure, and drama movies, as shown in Figure 3.

 

Figure 3: The Preferences of Chinese Respondents on type of Film

Source: Own Compilation

 

By assigning the weight for the top three choices from 3 points to 1 point and score calculation based on the formula of the average comprehensive score = (Σ frequency × weight)/ Number of people filled, the preference of respondents for film-related activities is shown in Figure 4. It is of intriguing to realize that they would like to taste the cuisine from the movie the most (3.95 p), then immersive experience travel (3.43 p) and shooting photos or their movie clip (2.91 p).

 

Figure 4: The Preferences of Chinese Respondents for Film Related Activities

Source: Own Compilation

 

In addition to the film, as it is indicated in Figure 5, the top five factors that the Chinese would consider when choosing a destination are local history and folk culture (9.99 p), local scenery (8.57 p), entertainment diversity (5.87 p), local cuisine (4.88p) and personal resonance towards the destination (4.45 p). These five critical factors contribute to forming or developing a tourism product for the revisiting tourists since the attention of Chinese tourists shifts from film to the destination itself in the revisit.

 

Figure 5: The Factors that Chinese Respondents Would Consider except Film

Source: Own Compilation

 

In a cross-analysis between the gender and whom to travel with and innovation acceptance for determining the difference between males and females, it turns out that females prefer traveling with the family the most. In contrast, males prefer with girlfriend or boyfriend, but the combined statistics show that family is the most preferred. At the same time, both males and females are highly in favor of tourism products and process innovation. Chinese people prefer to travel with the sequence as family, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, but the preference of international groups is friend, family, and boyfriend/girlfriend. The cognitive value or culture might cause the difference. Most importantly, they also would like to experience and learn something new. Product and process innovation are highly appreciated in the travel process, such as film travel applications and film base.

 

3.2. Budapest Impression and experience in Chinese tourists’ minds

 

Based on what respondents shared, Budapest is called “Paris of Eastern Europe,” but in fact, “Danube Pearl” is more suitable to describe it. Since Budapest is itself, it never wants to borrow any city’s glory and become a city’s subsidiary and shadow. No corner of Budapest is inferior to those world-famous cities where people blurt out their fame. Nevertheless, the world underestimated its unique charm. The most romantic city in Europe might not be Paris on the River Seine, but Budapest on the River Danube. The pink sunrise at Fisherman’s Bastion, the dazzling night view of the Chain Bridge, and the fairy-tale-like building of the Parliament, a sense of feeling as if stepping into the world of the movie.

Resources play a vital role in a tourist destination, not only determining the attractiveness of a city but also reflecting the capabilities and future potential. Budapest, a city full of unlimited potential, not only has French-like romance, Austrian-like architecture, Russian-like spirits, Spanish-like fruit wine, Turkish-like Thermal SPA, interesting history and culture, unique natural resources, and others.

With the purpose of giving a comprehensive overview of Budapest’s local resources, there are two approaches to analyze them, which are the top-down approach and the bottom-up approach. In terms of evaluating a destination’s local resources from what tourists enjoy in Budapest, a bottom-up approach was adopted. It shall be emphasized that knowing what tourists enjoy plays a vital role. Content analysis was conducted based on 1,320 filtered comments about Budapest on three well-known travel forums and social platforms. The comments included not only travelers who have been to Budapest but also people who have experience studying or working in Budapest. The reviews are divided into positive and negative ones. If a comment mentions more than one category, only the first one they mentioned will be considered. From the data collected, a fact has been realized that Budapest leaves an excellent reputation in the majority of people’s memory. A critical comparison between the positive and negative reviews leads to a conclusion that generally the tourists and people who have been to Budapest have a pleasant experience or feelings regarding the categories mentioned below.

 

Table 1: Content Analysis of 1320 Comments regarding Budapest

CategoryPositiveNegative
Location & Weather402
Restaurants & Museums1236
Infrastructure7340
Architecture482
Thermal SPA & Cruise & Winery3081
Nightlife31112
Historical heritage & Cultural heritage2076
Natural views700
Zoo & Park & Aquariums5714
Sub-total123783
Total1320

Source: Own Compilation

 

The VRIO framework (Barney,1991) is a strategic analysis tool meant to help companies uncover and protect the resources and capabilities that can give them a sustained competitive advantage. VRIO is an acronym for a four-factor framework of value (valuable), rarity (rare), imitability (inimitable), and organization (organized). According to the content analysis, a few new categories have been added based on Budapest’s current commercial trade status. Based on the framework (Table 2), Budapest could improve in the future on all those aspects, which we considered to improve the competitive parity, make the temporal competitive advantages sustained while keeping up the work to strengthen the sustained competitive advantages. According to Table 2, the diversity of architecture, thermal SPA & Cruise & Winery, historical and cultural heritages, logistics center, natural resources, and the reputation of the city can be determined as sustained competitive advantages that can be maintained and further developed.

 

Table 2: VRIO Framework of Budapest

Source: Own Compilation

 

In addition, Chinese tourists’ impressions shall be attached to certain attention. A survey was released to investigate the impression and knowledge of Budapest from Chinese generation Z.  Two sets of questions were prepared for those who had experience in Budapest and the others who did not have; 192 feedback was collected randomly. Those who had experience with Budapest, either past or present, were 84.4% of the respondents. Surprisingly, almost all of them expressed that they had great memories of this city. Among those, the number of whom came with friends the most, which is followed by the family and partners. The top 4 impressions regarding Budapest were listed as Cultural city, Romantic city, Vintage city, Nightlife heaven. Based on these answers, the historical and cultural heritage, diversity of architecture, events, and nightlife attract them the most while considering the Thermal SPA, cruise, and winery are excellent supplements. A total of 43 personal stories that associated with the memorable moment in Budapest respondents were received and analyzed, Budapest witnessed their happiness at the music festival, the romantic moment at Fisherman’s Bastion, relaxation at Széchenyi thermal SPA, a crucial summary was that those moments would be tedious without the people, those memories which they spent together strengthened the emotional bond between Budapest and themselves. In addition to the beautiful memories, uncomfortable situations were worth mentioning for a better improvement of the destination. 42% of respondents encountered an uncomfortable situation in Budapest mainly due to language barriers and slow efficiency. For those respondents who have not been to Budapest, almost all of them have heard of Budapest in their life, the primary source of initially knowing the city were friends/family, series/movies, books, and social media. The primary things they heard were regarding Budapest’s beautiful views, history, and culture, romance.

 

3.3. Budapest Stories Project

 

In 2016, a Chinese TV Show came to Budapest for shooting an activity show at Fishman’s bastion. The actors mentioned a story, Fishman’s bastion is the First-Kiss site in the story where many couples gave their first kiss. However, it had no such title before. Since that time, many Chinese audiences went there for a visit and post it on social media with the indication of the First-kiss site. A fact can be observed that the film work generates an impact on Chinese people’s motivation and educates tourists with stories. We decide to convey the real history and culture of some of the tourist attractions in Budapest while developing new ones. Thinking about the integration of culture, history, and historic sites in modern society, considering the sustainable development of cultural sites, we propose a story-based theme, interspersed with the scenic spots of Budapest, using modern technology to lead modern people to have a deeper understanding of history, culture and feel the charm of coexistence with modern collision.

The main idea of ‘Budapest Stories’, is to create a story-based film tourism project that serves as a platform to combine local tourism stakeholders. The project can be launched based on Chinese-specialized travel agencies and tour operators to attract and influence potential Chinese tourists who come to visit Budapest. The success of the project can be a benchmark case for other nationalities of tourists. Tourism routes are planned based on the stories marketers create, or the stories tourists provide and continuously add new stories into the story collections that match the public’s preference. Planning the route based on the story sites creates well-decorated spots for photos and explanations. At the same time, a series of entertainment activities will be developed for the tourists, such as detective games, treasure hunting games, etc. In addition, we discover the local resources and integrate them into one platform, emphasizing a spirit of cooperation that achieves mutual benefit. The details of this project can be categorized into three divisions:

  • Core Division is creating the story and planning the routes; meanwhile, developing a series of entertainment activities displayed with the use of modern augmented reality (AR) technology.
  • Primary Division is to discover and acquire the market resources and embed them into the story as an element. In addition, building up an integrated platform application that connects the majority of the local tourism stakeholders and further promotes a comprehensive customer-oriented interface for not only the tourists but also the locals.
  • Secondary Division means that by successfully creating the stories, annual voting by the public will be conducted to select the optimal alternative, one or two of them to film into movies. At the same time, a series of stories and film-related spots and sculptures will be created and come with various film-associated products and services. Lastly, a story collection turns into a film collection that positively influences tourism, namely film tourism. Later, an entertainment film theme park could build based on it.

The main product, ‘Budapest Stories’ covers the stories creation, stories-based routes, and integrated platform application.  In addition, film shooting and related spots creation with a series of story/film associated products and services will be provided. The sources of stories are divided into two categories: the first category is created by tour operators and travel agencies, and the second category is contributed by the public. Both residents and international tourists can contribute. According to the plot needs in the story, restaurant resources, hotel resources, gamification resources, and attractions resources will be selected and integrated into the Budapest Stories application. At the same time, these cooperative local tourist attractions, such as museums, will receive a unified traffic infrared detector, which can transmit the real-time visitor traffic to Budapest stories software through the internet without manual operation. The cooperative restaurants will be provided with an integrated reservation-order-payment system in the application platform. Tourists can not only check the real-time number of visitors to various attractions through the software but also reserve restaurant seats to avoid peak periods.

 

4. Conclusions

 

The focus group interview findings indicate that Chinese tourists’ film travel intentions, the preferred channels to reach the advertisement, and the type of movies preferred. Interestingly, on the one hand, creating an immersive experience with a maximum film restoration degree that combines with all local tourism stakeholders plays a crucial role in all visitors’ expectations and improving satisfaction. Meanwhile, innovation and creativity of film-related spots, products, services, infrastructure, and events are preferred. On the other hand, experiencing and learning new things during the journey are their common expectations which can be used for tourist education and promoting the destination’s resources such as scenery, folk culture, and history. Chinese tourists would revisit the destination only if they were satisfied with the previous experience.

There are some limitations in the research regarding the research samples due to the reason that the focus group participants were reached by snowball sampling, which results in a level of similarity among the participants and might limit the diversity of thinking. Furthermore, the result of the focus group discussion is proved by most respondents from the questionnaire. However, the study focused on young visitors, the research could be continued for other age groups while developing the other product for them. Nevertheless, creating a trend that matches various preferences would be more efficient and effective.

The status of Chinese tourists in the international tourism market is increasing, and its impact cannot be underestimated. The benefits outweigh the disadvantages, employing the management and planning of the destination, the disadvantages can be effectively prevented or mitigated to the greatest extent. It shall be emphasized that film tourism is not only about the enjoyment of tourists but also closely related to the development of the destination. Therefore, tourists and destination stakeholders should promote each other to achieve a win-win situation. Based on the results of this research, destination stakeholders can form an overview of the preferences of Chinese tourists.

The stage of ‘before the journey’ corresponds to the marketing strategy, and the purpose is to present the value proposition of the product to the right people in the right form at the right time and through the right channel. Therefore, Segmentation, Targeting, and Positing should be updated regularly. At the same time, the film tourism products should be diversified, and the compatibility with tourists should be maximized to ensure that tourists can find what interests them. Intention factors, marketing channels, and advertising forms that are most valued by Chinese tourists shall be attached of great importance while satisfying other nations’ tourists.

As for the stage ‘during the journey’, based on the Chinese tourists’ preferences and the common ground of international ones, the product development would be an excellent way to strengthen their travel experience and satisfy both short-termism and regular tourists. As for short-termism tourists, activities can be developed, ranging from travel routes to a film festival, etc. Forming up a game-type activities-based film travel route is suggested that could be used to include and brand some niche and unpopular attractions. For instance, the case of a detective game in London based on The Sherlock theme covers most of the film spots; the purpose is to discover and experience the real feeling of solving the puzzles as in the film. Meanwhile, the process innovation will be complementary to the product development, for example, by using AR technology to appear the puzzles, story plots, and guidance that strengthen not only the tourist’s engagement but also a way of provoking potential tourists’ curiosity. Furthermore, due to the reason that no specific film-travel guidance is offered to tourists currently, we would also recommend an integrated application for film travel that cooperates with most destination stakeholders, such as attractions, transportation service providers, and others. The users can find a list of films and shooting spots with descriptions and activities that appear on the screen. By choosing the preferred films, an automatic recommendation route will be formed. Besides, smart solutions for tickets, transportation, and product packages can be offered, buying them online, and find the restaurant, bars, and available shared bikes – and other available shared transportation possibilities – on the map function of the application. On the one hand, it simplifies the process of traveling and helps to save time for the short-termism tourists who highly value time without compromising the quality of experience. On the other hand, it helps to avoid mass tourism and makes tourists well-informed all the time. By the accumulation of users and tracking their usage records while analyzing them, it could even help to draw the pattern of tourists’ preferences and contribute to further product development.

To diversify the experience for the tourists who travel for more days, it is suggested the film destination build up a film base or film park for concentrating film-related activities and experience in one territory. It helps to protect the original heritages. When it comes to the misbehavior of tourists, the educational purpose is necessary to be embedded into the development and innovation of tourism products and processes. The purpose is to educate tourists in a way that satisfies their curiosity and needs while arousing a sense of specific awareness and cultural difference. From the risk point of view, educating tourists to behave appropriately for the destination might generate a certain level of impact on avoiding and mitigating the negative consequences.

The stage ‘after the journey’ is about building up a connection between tourists and the destination. A type of certificate with a photo of tourists can be available in the film travel application. It aims to remind the tourists of the pleasant memories of the destination and stimulate the motivation to revisit. Meanwhile, it can be shared on social media and could also be proof of the film destination’s influence while attracting more and more potential tourists. Besides, constantly updating the existing tourism products and coming up with new ones would help maintain the tourists’ sense of freshness.

 

5. Implications

 

Film tourism generates a considerable influence on the visitors’ travel intentions (WU – FAN –SHEN 2020). A better understanding of visitors’ preferences and residents’ perceptions helps the destination stakeholders and marketers, which leads to more sustainable planning and development of film tourism (CROY – HEITMANN 2011). It shall be emphasized that the key finding can be grouped into three stages: before the journey, during the journey, and after the journey stage. The first stage contributes to destination marketing strategy regarding how to influence and attract the Chinese visitors’ intention. The second stage is for destination tourism planning of infrastructure, resources skills, etc. The last stage is for developing a strategy that builds and strengthens the connection between the visitors and destination stakeholders. Meanwhile, it lays a solid foundation for film tourism planning and development and contributes to the considerations of future research in destination management. Furthermore, it could be considered as a template for film-induced tourism research on other nationalities’, cultures’ preferences.

Budapest is a city located in the middle of Europe with plenty of resources such as history, scenery, and culture. It is full of potential, but an excellent destination could hardly be memorable without proper planning. Foresight in strategic tourism planning for the destination generates a profound influence on its development and future potential. This project planning involves many local stakeholders in the process, and the project can be sustained by adding new stories with routes on a regular basis, which integrates the local resources and promote a circular economy. On the one hand, the promotion of this project might change the positioning of Budapest in Chinese tourists’ minds and brand Budapest to a higher level. On the other hand, the success of this project would not only contribute to attracting more Chinese tourists come to visit Budapest, but also serve as a benchmark for projects with a broader target group. Budapest tourism’s sustainable planning and development would play a significant role in attracting worldwide investment and continuously upgrading the local infrastructure to develop a better living life for locals and an impressive travel experience for tourists. Budapest Stories is a city project that never ends. The feasibility of the project in operation will be researched next. Meanwhile, it is a business concept that could be further build-up and developed. It is of significance to mention that it plays a role as an initiator that tries to make Budapest outstanding from other capitals and rings the bell to the local stakeholders to participate in this project. Future research can be in several aspects such as Society, Business, Marketing, Psychological, Customer behavior, Destination development, Film tourism, and Subproject aspects.

 

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