Destination image recovery with tourism mascots

Jing (Bill) Xu, Libo Yan, Stephen Pratt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Cute mascots endowed with local cultural meanings can reignite the positive sentiment of both residents and potential tourists when a tourism destination suffers from a negative image. However, the marketing importance of tourism mascots has not been fully recognized in past research. This study adopted survey and experimental research designs to fill the gap, based on the theory of stereotyping and the stimulus-organism-response theory. The results suggested that the tourism mascot framework could be fully validated among both out-group (potential tourists) and in-group (residents) stereotyping perspectives. Cultural meaning and cuteness in a cartoon character were found to influence both residents' and potential tourists' perceptions of competence and warmth. However, the effect of cuteness on perceived competence could not be fully ascertained. Both warmth and competence then stimulate residents' and potential tourists’ support to use the tourism mascot in the destination. Finally, managerial implications of tourism mascots in destination promotion and image recovery were discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100732
JournalJournal of Destination Marketing and Management
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Cuteness
  • Hong Kong
  • S–O-R theory
  • Theory of stereotyping
  • Tourism mascot


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