Destination Marketing - Branding the Destination

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Branding the Destination
The tourism industry is a remarkable industry as it has brought positive effects in terms of intercultural exchange as well as economic growth to the tourism destination (UNWTO, 2011). The UNTWO (2007, p1) defines a destination as “the place visited that is central to the decision to take the trip”. The term ‘branding’ is often encountered in marketing classes however it does apply in the tourism aspect as well. It was more than two decades ago when Pritchard and Morgan (1998) and Dosen, Vranesevic, and Prebezac (1998) first published destination branding concerned literature, which later gained research interests towards this field of study. According to Blain, Levy, and Litchie (2005), destination branding is an integrated marketing activity which involves the creation of designs or graphics that could identify and differentiate the destination; alongside acting as an assurance of quality to the visitors. With branding, a consumer is more likely to know what he or she would expect when arriving at a destination. This reflects to what Aaker (1991) suggested where destination branding process and strategy produces a strong destination image which increases awareness. Destination branding can be done internationally, nationally, regionally, or locally (Ward and Gold, 1994). In order to develop a destination brand identity, there are three key components which has to be focused on that are brand identity, brand position, and brand image (Pike, S., 2008). Brand identity focuses on the internal issues such as self-image and vision that motivates stakeholders. Brand image refers to the actual image portrayed in the market while brand positioning is the merge between the two. Brand strategy and strong brand equity plays a major role in order to gain long term competitive advantage (Baker, M. J., & Cameron, E., 2008). It allows the destination to distinguish them from fierce competition, establish connections with consumers, as well as...
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