Tourism Destination Brand Identity: the Case of Slovenia

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Tourism destination brand identity:
The case of Slovenia
Received (in revised form): 24th May, 2007

MAJA KONECNIK
is Assistant Professor in the Marketing Department of the Faculty of Economics at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia). Her research interest lies in the area of tourism marketing, especially destination branding.

FRANK GO
is Professor of Tourism at the Erasmus University at Rotterdam (the Netherlands). His research interests include information and communication technology and tourism, networks, community, globalisation and branding.

Keywords

Abstract

brand identity; brand
concept; Slovenia;
tourism destination
branding; perception

This paper explores the concept of tourism destination brand identity from the supply-side perspective, in contrast to those studies that have focused on the demand-driven, tourists’ perceived tourism destination brand image. Both researchers and practitioners have concluded that an analysis of the branding concept from both the identity and perceived-image perspective is essential and should be intertwined, where appropriate. This study, however, argues that investigations of tourism destination branding have primarily been conducted from a perceivedimage perspective. Therefore, the dearth of studies offering an insight into the supply-side perspective may lead to an unbalanced view, misunderstandings and oversights concerning the possibilities and limitations of tourism destination branding. It introduces a theoretical framework designed to analyse tourism destination identity, particularly for the case study of Slovenia.

Journal of Brand Management (2008) 15, 177–189. doi:10.1057/palgrave.bm.2550114; published online 10 August 2007

INTRODUCTION

Maja Konecnik
Faculty of Economics,
University of Ljubljana,
Kardeljeva ploscad 17,
SI-1000 Ljubljana,
Slovenia
Tel: + 386 1 5892522
Fax: + 386 1 5892698
E-mail: maja.konecnik@ef.uni-lj.si

Unlike the many scientific contributions
covering the theme of product brands (and
rarely service and corporate brands), the
research line of tourism destination brands
is merely in its infancy.1,2 Despite earlier
scepticism about transferring the brand
concept to the tourism destination context,3
that concept has definitely attracted the
interest of tourism destination researchers
and practitioners of late.4–8 Although destination branding appears to be one of the newest research areas,9,10 the topic has been
partly covered under the alternative label
of destination image studies,11 which has
been a subject of investigation for more
than 30 years.12–17 Ritchie and Ritchie,18
however, stated that the development
of a coherent and commonly accepted

framework is essential for using branding
theory in a tourism destination context.
Although a tourism destination can be
branded, considerable care should be taken
in the transfer of branding principles to a
tourism destination context. Because its
application without sensitive inclusion
and consideration of the significance of
public space may result in a commercial
orientation, which runs the risk of spoiling
the identity characteristics such as social
relationships, history and geography and
by extension may destroy an area’s sense
of place. In turn, within a global context
place identity can contribute importantly,
to the creation and sustenance of a distinctive competitive edge. Raising awareness of the historical nature of the concept of
culture in relation to the ‘extraordinary’,19

© 2008 PALGRAVE MACMILLAN LTD 1350-23IX $30.00 BRAND MANAGEMENT VOL. 15, NO. 3, 177–189 JANUARY 2008

www.palgrave-journals.com/bm

177

KONECNIK AND GO

that tourists are in a search for, is relevant
in the processes of identity formation at
both global and local levels. Therefore, it
is essential that the development of a
tourism destination brand should adhere
to a coherent theoretical framework20 and
be jointly supported by its...
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