In the marketing literature, there are two theoretical approaches regarding the destination marketing: one concentrates over the successful strategies applied by different entities, while the other one underlines the connection between destination branding and the aspects regarding the impact of the economical and political factors and the effect of the business stakeholder’s involvement over the communities’ development (Bradley, 2002). Although the destination marketing concept is not a new notion, it became more popular in the literature in the 80s, once the cities became more aware of the importance of marketing and promotion impact over their development. Thus, destination marketing has many definitions. For example, according to Gold and Ward, destination marketing is defined as the conscientious use of marketing and publicity in order to communicate selective images of various areas and
cities among different target groups. (Gold, Ward, 1994) The definition focuses on the idea of selecting certain images to be promoted, images and aspects which are meant to increase destinations’ attractiveness; that led to criticism in the marketing literature, most authors questioning whether not this definition refers to the possibility of ignoring or hiding the negative aspects of the destination. The concept of “destination branding” has been extensively explored. After summarizing the evolution of destination branding definitions, Blain, Levy and Ritchie (2005) developed a revised definition that incorporated earlier efforts: destination branding is the set of marketing activities that (1) support the creation of a name, symbol, logo, word mark or other graphic that readily identifies and differentiates a destination; that (2) consistently convey the expectation of a memorable travel experience that is uniquely associated
with the destination; that (3) serve to consolidate and reinforce the emotional connection between the visitor and the destination; and that (4) reduce consumer search costs and perceived risk. Collectively, these activities serve to create a destination image that positively influences consumer’s destination choice (Blain, Levy and Ritchie, 2005). This definition implicitly addresses the three important components of branding – economic, experiential and emotional (including spiritual) value. If a destination cannot provide value to tourists, businesses and investors, it is unlikely to become a brand that generates revenue or tourists. Branding is therefore considered mutually beneficial from both the supply and demand perspectives. The brand’s ability to differentiate effectively can generate advantages for products and services, such as increased purchase intent (Cobb-Walgren, Beal et al 1995), lower costs (Keller,1993), increased sales, price premiums and customer...