The present study aims to explain more deeply the theory of destination image and its process of formation in culturally distant countries, specifically regarding familiarity as a factor of influence. To achieve this aim, a questionnaire was administered to 307 South Korean citizens in order to examine Koreans’ image of Spain as a tourist destination, and the level of familiarity with the destination. The findings reveal that familiarity has a moderating effect on the destination image, and the main information source that most contributes to a positive image is provided by ‘relatives, friends, and/or acquaintances’. This paper contributes to the literature by showing the importance of familiarity on image formation and has significant management implications in the context of helping to create an appropriate image of a tourist destination.
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