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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  • It sounds as though we are all on more or less the same wavelength here, given Alan’s elaborated explanation that Warwickshire County is not just pushing one idea. And, I would agree that it is the past, present and future that matter form the point of view of the place, although perhaps not from the point of view of the tourist, who may have more narrowly defined interests.

    I do think that a place needs to look at what it has to offer in terms of social, historical, natural, cultural and other aspects of heritage, including the living heritage as manifest in its cultural events and traditions etc. The key then, in terms of marketing is to identify the best target markets for these products. For each product they are unlikely to be the same audience. A decision needs to be made on the value of each so that priorities can be identified in relation to budgets – what’s going to generate the best returns on investment.

    The strategic decisions should also take account of the quality of the tourist not just the financial value. Will they respect, protect and perhaps enhance the value of tourisms impact over the long-term. A short terms view focused only on income generation can have serious impacts on the environment and lasting social consequences as we have seen in many parts of the world. I think another consideration should be how to make sure that the benefits of tourism are shared.
  • Paul, Monique, Northeast News, Jose

    Thanks for your continued interest in what is one of the most important tourism branding issues - Should a destination have a single-focus strategy or a multiple-focus strategy?

    Let's use England's Warwickshire County as an example to develop the debate.

    Warwickshire decided to use a strategy with a focus on a single big brand idea: Shakespeare Country while co-branding with one of its signature town destinations: Stratford-upon-Avon: Shakespeare's Birthplace.

    However, to deal with its other non-Shakespeare assets, it 'delegated' that job to its other towns, villages and visitor attractions such as Rugby, Leamington Spa, Nuneaton, Warwick, Warwick Castle, Warwick University, Kenilworth, Kenilworth Castle, Coleshill, Shipston-on-Stour, Henley-in-Arden and so on. Each of these destinations would focus on their own primary big brand idea.

    So although each destination within the hierarchy of destinations are narrowly-focused on a single big brand idea, collectively as a portfolio of destination brands they reach a wider audience. Each brand should be clear as to what their primary big brand idea is.

    Destination branding isn't just about the past and the present, it's also about creating a future. Warwickshire, by having a single focus, it would develop a future as to how Shakespeare's works and sonnets could play a part in contemporary society - from business to social to cultural issues of modern day living - around the world.

    Also with regard to the Shakespearean competition that's developing around the world eg. in Stratford, Canada, England's Warwickshire can be perceived not only as the authentic brand but also as the brand that's leading the Shakespearean industry to a new and exciting future. You can't do all this - with limited resources - without a single-minded future-focus.

    'Brand Bard' the Marketect says:
    "First you attract with a proposition;
    Single, branded, unique and saleable.
    Then you distract through fine experience;
    Many products varied and buyable."

    Now compare and contrast Warwickshire's single-focus strategy with the multiple-focus strategy of its Middle England neighbour: Nottinghamshire County who sadly, decided not to focus on its iconic legend Robin Hood. You can read more here.

    So, Tripatinos, let's keep this important discussion going please.I very much look forward to your comments.
  • Answering the point made by Northeast News, I am not sure a case by case basis makes much sense, except where a place has only one thing to sell, which I think is a rare exception. Monique’s concern about budget is real, but I think vast amounts of cash have been, and continue to be, wasted on large scale campaigns that are mass media directed. I am also sure that the same money already being spent on mass media campaigns would have far better direct, and long-term, impacts and results.

    Once thing interesting about the diversity of media channels today is the demand they create for good news stories. Creative campaigns based on great stories, that are put out by a good PR agency would, I feel sure, produce far better results. Destinations have stories wrapped up in their history, heritage, people, businesses etc and are continuously producing new stories. They need to be uncovered, captured or created, then communicated. I believe that most difficult part in the whole process is not budgets, it’s changing the mindset and getting up to speed with new ways of communicating.
  • Paul and Alan, you each state your point of view in such a convincing and well-spoken fashion that both seem right. Is it possible that the way to brand a particular destination (narrowly or broadly) must be decided on case-by-case basis?
  • I think there are a number of problematic issues in focusing on one big idea for each place. Although it may be good from a marketing perspective, thought I have my doubts, it does not help promote the richness and diversity of a place, which give other reasons to visit. Focusing on one aspect, with interest to one audience, looses the potential to attract visitors that may be interested in other aspects of a place. If I am not interested in Shakespeare, why would I visit Shakespeare Country? In addition to loosing potential interest is the issue of sustainability. Putting so much emphasis on particular features, e.g. the Lake District, threatens the sustainability of these places if the marketing works, and concentrates. The policy also concentrates the economic benefits of tourism narrowly.

    Between the extremes of a focus on one big idea and trying to be everything to everyone at the other, there is probably the right solution.

    Personally I believe that several stories can create appeal to several tourist segments and the smart approach is targeting the right stories to the right people using the right channels of communication. With the range of low cost communication channels we now have getting the message out to targeted audiences has never been easier, but it does require some good strategic thinking. One big idea may have been right, or at least the only real option, in the age of mass media. I don't think it is the right option today.
  • Jose, Monique
    English Counties

    1. You're both right re background to video. It's just my experiment to demo that background is just as important as foreground. Both have to be 'on-code'. So just for you, I've remixed the vid this time with a 'watery' background to reflect England's island geology - surrounded by water. Although what might be 'perfect' would be a background showing 'a green & pleasant land'.

    2. However, the more important branding issue is the divided opinion between Tripatinos - see previous postings - between those who prefer a more diverse branding reflecting the overall destination and those - such as myself - who advocate a single, narrowly-focused big brand idea to penerate the over-loaded mind.
  • Did you all catch the interesting video Allan Williamson posted on English county branding? Very enlightening, how focused the slogans are (e.g., "Warwickshire - Shakespeare Country"). They really get to the heart of each county, creating a clear, unshakeable image of each.

    The only thing that struck me as totally off-message was the background of the video, which looks like cracked, scorched earth and to me communicated New Mexico more than England... Am I missing something here?

  • BanglaBrand

    Should 'Beautiful Bangladesh' be invited to join the waiting list for membership of ADjectiveland: Home of the 7 Super-Duper BlandTrashtic Country slogans?
  • City Brands

    Top Seven World's Best Cities To Live In - 2010 - Video

    Unless you know different?...
    Top Seven World's Best Cities to Live In 2010
    Top Seven World's Best Cities To Live In 2010
  • For personal reasons I recently had to move back to the UK unexpectedly. After over 6years in Brazil it has taken me a few weeks to get organised again in the UK. I hope we will be able to continue the good discussions we started.
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