This paper develops and applies a conceptual model of nonutilitarian tourism destination positioning. Tourist's nonutilitarian decision mechanisms (affective choosing and self-congruity) are linked with destination positioning. A repositioning case of Dalian as a marine city destination versus its four competitors is used to demonstrate the model's guiding value. Through statistical analyses of MANOVA, ANOVAs and independent t-tests, the findings indicate the differentiating affective image attribute and brand personality trait most useful for Dalian's positioning. A suggested nonutilitarian positioning strategy for Dalian, corresponding managerial and theoretical implications and future study considerations are finally summarized. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.