As a consequence of rising operating and labor costs, numerous manufacturing companies in Taiwan have been closed or relocated overseas during the last two decades. Since 2003, Taiwan's government has advocated for the transformation of traditional factories into tourism-oriented facilities to increase the brand strength of the companies. As a result, industrial tourism has been boosted and many manufacturers in Taiwan are keen on establishing tourism factories; however, the association, if any, between offering industrial tourism and building a strong brand equity remains relatively unexplored. Thus, the present study sought to examine customers' perceptions of the value of a branded tourism factory through the concept of brand equity. More specifically, it was hypothesized that brand equity, which is composed of brand awareness, brand associations, and perceived quality, contributes to brand loyalty. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were employed in different phases of this study, including 1) questionnaires to identify industrial tourism factories with high brand awareness among consumers; 2) open-ended interviews regarding visitors' touring experiences to develop further questionnaires; and 3) questionnaires distributed to three food-oriented firms with similar levels of brand awareness. Analysis of the data from 312 valid questionnaires revealed that brand associations and perceived quality both positively and significantly predict brand loyalty. The results suggest that companies engaging in industrial tourism should focus on offering tourists interactive experiences to enhance brand associations and on ensuring a transparent operations process during tours to emphasize the high quality of whatever is being produced, thereby contributing to enhance brand loyalty.
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