Acknowledging the increasing popularity of Chinese tourists in Barcelona, Spain, this research explores BCN, as a tourist destination image (TDI) in Chinese tourists’ eyes, from the perspective of constructing the theoretical framework and comparing the TDI before visiting Barcelona (PreImage) and TDI after visiting the city (PostImage). Using grounded theory as a guideline and adopting a qualitative investigative approach, certain interviews with Chinese tourists in Barcelona and tourism-related professionals were conducted.
The findings suggest that there is a significant difference between PreImage and PostImage: before visiting Barcelonac, Chinese tourists have relatively little knowledge of this city compared to other destinations near to Barcelona like Paris and Roma, etc., and some of them even do not have a general image of the city except the football team and the confusion among Flamenco and Bullfight origins with Barcelona; however, after visiting, they realize that apart from the already very famous BCN football team, it also has a very long history and culture, abundant historical monuments and modernist buildings. In conclusion, China’s tourism in Barcelona still has a lot of room for development. These findings advance our understanding of China’s tourism market in Barcelona context.