Photography in Tourism: Vietnamese Travellers’ Photographs and Narrative-sharing on the Destination Image of Northwest Vietnam
The internet and social media platforms have changed the way people search for travel information and share travel experiences after their journeys. As the world has become linked by a digital network, the practices of taking and sharing photographs and narratives have become a phenomenon that affects the tourism industry. However, there is little research exploring how photographs shared on online platforms represent the destination image of Vietnam. This study therefore sought an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon of photography related practices performed by Vietnamese travellers in shaping the destination image of Northwest Vietnam. The study aimed to understand the formation process of the destination’s image through the hermeneutic cycle of destination image representation, in which processes of forming the tourist gaze, social media-induced tourism, and constructing identities occur. The findings show that images of scenery and related indigenous culture present the destination image of Northwest Vietnam. Narratives accompanying the photographs also contributed to completing the circle of destination image representation. Mixed analysis methods were adopted to examine the collected data, including 12 travel threads and 1,543 photographs of Northwest Vietnam. Quantitative methods were used to calculate the code frequency of elements and themes in the photographs, and qualitative methods were used to analyse the qualitative contents accompanying photographs. The study contributes an example of the pictorial analysis technique and shows that photographs are effective for marketing a destination.