South Africa is still a young tourist destination, though enclosing high potentialities: international tourist arrivals have been steadily increasing since 2002 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup seems to have enhanced international awareness of South Africa as a potential tourist destination. Italy is ranked among the top-10 long-haul generating countries for international tourism in South Africa. However, Italian tourists travelling to South Africa are only 55,000 per year; this means that the destination still offers wide margins of growth for the Italian market. In order to improve the effectiveness of marketing strategies and the quality of the tourist experience, literature recommends focusing on destination image. The aim of this paper is to investigate South Africa’s image as a tourist destination from an Italian perspective. A survey among a sample of Italian visitors and non-visitors to South Africa was conducted. Visitors’ and non-visitors’ perceptions towards the destination were compared to explore the existence of destination biases. Managerial implications are suggested.
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