The following research examines how tourist destination images are projected through art exhibition and art museum TikTok short videos, and how such depictions are perceived and interpreted by museum audiences. So far, existing destination image research concerning destination image creation on social media platforms has predominantly focused on social media platforms that allow textual or pictorial posts. However, with the recent arrival of social media platforms that operate purely on short video content, there is a need to investigate how this format impacts the creation of destination images from both a production and consumption perspective. Furthermore, tourist destination image research has mainly highlighted the official travel-related platforms within the tourism industry, and little attention has been paid to less-obvious organizations that are also part of the tourism sector, such as museums. The gathering of data was accomplished through a mixed-method approach of online content analysis in the form of TikTok short video analysis, and semi-structured interviews with museum professionals and museum visitors. The results of the content analysis reveal that museum TikToks are composed of overlapping elements, including similar content, attention to cinematography, intentional text additions, and specific TikTok-related features. From the analysis of the interviews, it was concluded that the production side uses TikTok as a successful marketing tool. While destination images were deliberately manipulated through cinematographic aspects, the overall production of destination images was authentic to the offline experience. From the consumer perspective, audiences were positively engaged with the destination images projected through the museum TikToks, demonstrating changed perceptions and increased willingness to travel. Overall, there was more active viewer engagement amongst younger participants who were familiar with TikTok trends. The combination of the short-video format and the inclusion of human interaction with the destinations were most influential in changing tourist destination images. Finally, this thesis has found that the destination image projection on TikTok differs from other social media platforms because content providers can use the specific TikTok features to connect to online communities that exist within the borders of the social media app, catering their content to these audiences and communicating with them on an equal level. Simultaneously, museums can provide and democratize art and history knowledge for younger TikTok audiences and people who are not able to visit museums.

Siri Driessen
Tourism, Culture & Society
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Elise van Kesteren. (2023, August). Museum TikToks and their Influence on Visitors’ Destination Image Perception. Tourism, Culture & Society. Retrieved from