Social media influencers’ visual framing of Iran on YouTube

Pooya Saeidi Motahar, Rokhshad Tavakoli*, Paolo Mura

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


While previous studies have investigated the role of YouTube videos in producing and representing tourist destinations, they have rarely focused on how social media influencers (SMIs) frame specific destinations. SMIs constitute significant contributors to destination image, yet tourism scholars have not fully explored their persuasive power in framing destinations and affecting potential travellers. This article explores how Iran is framed as a travel destination by SMIs on YouTube by utilizing visual framing theory. As a country subject to both unfavourable framing by Western mainstream media and positive images by SMIs and YouTubers, Iran represents an interesting case study as a destination produced in the cyberworld with multiple and contrasting images and representations. Methodologically, the study integrates netnography and narrative analysis to examine the content of ten travel videos produced by international SMIs. The analysis and interpretation of the visual material unveil the multiple ways of framing Iran by SMIs, which tend to humanize Iran and Iranians, emphasize the country's culture and history, and attribute the misconceptions and fear about Iran to the current global and local political climate. Theoretically, this study advances our understanding of destination image through visual framing theory, which has rarely been applied to explore travel videos.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTourism Recreation Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Destination Image
  • Iranian Tourism
  • Netnography
  • Social Media Influencers
  • Visual Framing Theory
  • YouTube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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