For anyone in or interested in the tourism industry to explore issues associated with branding a country, region, destination, attraction, hotel, tour etc

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7 of the Top Destination Brands of 2023

  Visit Maldives Over the past decades, destinations in Europe, North America, and the Caribbean have been the stars in both destination branding and popularity among travelers. And while all the above certainly remain among the world´s most powerful performers in tourism, the World Travel Awards (dubbed “the Oscars of travel”) in 2023 have underscored strong showings outside these traditional areas, particularly in Asia and the Middle East. Here´s a quick rundown of this year´s winners:…

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How brands can manage a travel-industry crisis like coronavirus

Travel isn’t always a bed of roses. There are natural disasters, tainted products, bad actors, data breaches, regional and global viruses, and events big and small that require industries to step up, speak up, and do whatever it takes to care of their employees and customers.  As the coronavirus outbreak tops more than 135,000 in some 140 countries, it’s an appropriate time to offer advice on how to handle an industry crisis. read post

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Cross-border migration and tourism

All across the world - Europe, the United States, Australia, Asia, and elsewhere - immigration and refugees are hot topics. But little attention has been paid to how this issue meshes with the other great mass movement of our era: tourism. An integral part of tourism is the exchange of cultures and the appreciation of the “other”, and the industry is often dependent on "importing” guest workers from abroad, who provide needed services and often also give a sense of the exotic…

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What's behind Costa Rica's new country brand?

Costa Rica’s newly launched country brand, “Essential Costa Rica” (Esencial Costa Rica), centers on a complete image of the country – from its “peaceful, down-to-earth” people who proudly preserve their environment and happily enjoy a high quality of life, to a modern world of technology, trade and commerce, all set in the world’s premier ecotourism destination of rich complete post

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  • José, regarding the overarching theme common sense would suggest so, but I am open minded on this at the moment, and don´t believe that common sense is always right, and doesn´t always prevail. I would just say that marketing persons job is to sell a country the messages have to be limited to some degree, but our job is to be careful how. And then we have to be careful how to get the messages out and who we present them too. Perhaps the single story or big idea approach appeals becaus eit is a much easier option? And, regarding an overarching them that may be possible when looking at tourism only, but if you are trying to brand a nation, with the several associated objectives, is it still possible?
  • Chimananda is a wise woman, Paul. Yes, in the old days of Life 1.0 a single story had to do for all markets and all niches. But today there is no excuse for a single-note message. Should there be an overarching theme that encompasses all the multiple messages at any given moment into one coherent greater message? I would say so, what do you think?
  • I watched a video today. It was the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichee at a TEDtalks conferencein 2009. Her talk was entitled "The Danger of the Single Story", and dealt with the impact of literature in colouring our perceptions of a place, or country. It reminded me of the idea of selling a brand based on a single "Big Idea", and rasied again my concern with this concept.

    A few quotes make the point clearly. She said, "The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story." And, her closing remark was even more thought provoking. She said, "When we reject the single story, and we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise."

    My thought then is that the branding of a place is about telling many stories, and communicating them widely, so that peoples perceptions of a place become richer and deeper. True, this makes the marketing job more complicated, but with todays technology and media channels we have the tools to do more than ever before. It is not necessary to sell an image, it is possible to communicate many realities instead.

    I wonder what you all make of this?
  • The debate "is nation brnading fundamentally flawed" is also going on in the Linked In group Destination Strategies, and producing soem great insights.
  • Of course, Politics last for a short while and branding should forever; therefore, it takes strong personalities to handle the job and personalities with expertise and no political colour. This is one of many reasons that make the challenge of Place Branding so "not easy"
  • Here is a question for you. In terms of sustainability, isn´t destination branding a fundamentally flawed concept? We all know that branding is a long-term project, longer than most government administrations usually last. And, with changes of administrations usually come new ideas, often for the sake of new ideas. So, does this lack of consistency, of changing identity and messages, not dilute or destroy brand value for a desitnation? Is it not time for a radical re-think about the way destinations are branded and marketed?
  • Vikas. I cannot really comment about the Incredble India campaign specifically as I am not that well informed about it, and the impact it has had. I do hear positive things about it, and perhaps it is a good example. But, I believe it wrong to think of branding just in terms of campaign. Campaign is about promoting an image, and for sure this is part of branding. But, I think branding is far more than that. As I have suggested, I believe it can be used to inform policies and decisions that lead to sustainable development of a region. Actions driven by the brand can have a big impact, as they do in private companies. Arguably they can have a bigger impact in relation to destination branding. There are few other ways to get all stakholders focused on the same goal when the project as large as destination branding. I think this aspect of branding is at least as important, if not more so, than a tool to build a image.
  • Paul.. I understand your point.. If we can take an example for any branding activity of any destination, can we come on the point what are the good and bad aspect of the activity (Campaign).??

    I want to understand through example if the branding activity is taking place.. what can be a good and bad effect on the destination, whether campaign is good or bad.

    I was putting my thought on "Incredible India" campaign, closely and I am getting all the positive feedback from tourist and stakeholder. How it is possible to say all positive about any campaign (It may be), but always there are some negativity. if not any negative then what re-branding takes place??
  • Alan, I think Englan´d Vineyards will do well with domestic tourists as many are serious wine consumers and are increasingly staying at home, perhaps a short-term trend due to the recession, perhaps not. I think marketed as a short-break option it will work.

    Vikas, I think the possible negative impacts of destination branding done badly are many. Selling a false image can do long-term damage if visitors are dissapointed and spread the bad news, hungry to prove successful politicians are often interested in the number of tourists rather than the quality of them, and with this comes sex tourism, environmental problems etc. Bad destination branding also focuses only on external image, and is not used to focus positive policy making for sustainable development in tourism, and is often not explained or implemented well to all local stakeholders so they do not feel they have any ´ownership´ of what is being imposed on them. I think these cover some of the key problems, but for sure not all of them.

    On the other hand Destination Marketing done well can, I am sure, be a very positive catalyst for regional development in many places. The problem is it is rarely well done from what I can see. If not problems, for sure opportunities are not maximised as a result.
  • Paul.. I am completely agree with you.. I was following the discussion.

    I can see all the positive aspects of the Destination branding of any nation or destination.. I would be keen to know your views on the negative impact of the same (If any).

    I would appreciate your views on this....
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