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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  • Using sex to brand a destination 'works' if all you are interested in is the quantity rather than quality of tourists. In another forum I am having a discussion about the recent Financial Times expose on the apparent explosion in sex tourism in Brazil. To be honest sex tourism has always been big there, and with it are many problems. Cheap charter flights from Europe is the cause. It clearly does not fit with sustainability agendas and is a cause for real concern. Brazil's image as a sex tourism destination is the results of decades of the government acting the pimp, and will take decades to overcome.
  • Just found a great resource, courtesy of Manolis Psarros on LinkedIn: Some very interesting destination branding videos on there. In particular, the video on the controversy over the Israeli gov't using semi-naked females to change the country's image from bombs to babes was quite interesting:

    Seems to me using sex appeal to sell a destination is about as obvious and basic as you can get. Any destination could put its most nubile nymphets on screen, but what is unique about these ones? What do you all think? Is using sex to brand a destination lame, or does it work?
  • Good points, Paul/Monique/Max. I personally like the video, though I agree about the music being off-message. I do think one could get away with promoting GB as the innovation isle, but we need to see current innovation at work to believe it. The industrial revolution and colonial plunder won't cut the mustard!
  • Invention and innovation are part of the DNA if Brits for sure. It fueled the Industrial Revolution as we know. The empire, the commonwealth and so on also mean we have a heritage of worldliness, and a huge number of people in the world speak our language - as much to do with the fact Americans speak English as the fact that we do. But this is all heritage and culture focused. It's the history, and not the current reality really. They are features of what Max refers, "Tradition". For many people it is this Tradition that is top of the list of reasons why it is there favourite destination.

    We do still have some good innovation, but I think current innovation, except in a few areas, is hardly reason in itself to make people want to visit the UK. And, if they do, this tends to be very focused e.g. London Fashion Week and London Design Week. I can't imagine too many people seeing the UK as a destination because of the technology clusters like Cambridge Science Park, unless for business purposes.

    I think campaigns need to connect the past, present and future. They perhaps also need to address some issues head on. For example the UK still has a bad image for food, a reputation it did deserve, But these days the quality of British food is very good and often exceptionally good.
  • Y'all see the beautiful video on Brand Britain? It highlights 7 great reasons why one of my favorite destinations will always remain... a great destination. What I'm not crazy about, to be honest, is the tagline "The Innovation Isle." I'm sorry, Cool Britannia and all notwithstanding, I don't think most people perceive Britain as the land of innovation: the cultural code embedded deep in our noggins is Tradition, not Innovation. Now of course with a sustained, well-orchestrated campaign, you can change public perceptions over time, but this one's going to be a long road to hoe. For one thing, you need proof to back it up. What's the innovation? Well, Britain has some cutting-edge artists and designers (remember Damien Hirst with his pickled animals?) and musicians, so why aren't they highlighted as living examples of the current British innovative spirit? I'm not sure how having the Greenwich Meridian makes you innovative. I'm not knocking the video, it's beautifully done, but what I like about this group is how we analyze things together. Your thoughts?

    Oh one last thing: I think a lot of current innovative British musicians might not be amused that the soundtrack of this video is by a foreigner... Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, which is both not innovative and not British.

  • Paul

    1. I guess you'll never be a 'core' target market for Shakespeare Country. Fringe? Perhaps.

    2. Cork: They've obviously done an amazing marketing job on you. But there are hundreds of places around the world that have fantastic coastlines & scenery, authentic food & hospitality & cozy guesthouses. There's something else - perhaps buried deep within your sub-conscious - that attracts you to Cork - something very unique about the Brand Ireland in general and Cork in particular? Maybe it's The Craic (and I'm not talking about the white stuff).

    3. The Target is NOT the Market
    - Long answer: Coming soon...
    - Short answer: Think Wimbledon targetted at tennis fans but also full of visitors who have never touched a tennis racket in their lives. And Glastonbury targetted at the youth market but chocka with 50+ hippies re-living their second youth - but this time round with fatter wallets and waistlines to match in their posh marquees complete with chef at £6K per weekend. Rock-on Man!
  • Alan, I don't get the point about, "The Target is NOT the Market". Could you explain explain the question? Re the sub-brands for Warks, thats all news to me. I guess I know of the castle, and Shakespeare. I can't say I recall having seen any campaigns for either the main brand or sub-brands. And, the Shakespeare connection alone would not make me want to visit, I am not much into Shakespeare. I am not sure what that actually says about the success or otherwise of their strategy. I can say that when I travel I visit places that will offer me several experiences and activities to choose from. I sually want to know there are interesting things to see and do, good places to stay and eat and so on. One thing only is not going to get me there. I am pretty sold on Cork in Ireland. They have told me stories of fantastic coastline scenery, great hospitality, amazing authentic food and cozy small guest houses etc. How is it I know so much about Cork and so little about Warwickshire?
  • Paul, thanks for the heads up on which got me thinking about another related subject for debate and discussion in the future perhaps:

    The Target is NOT the Market
    Does a single, narrowly-focused target such as ShakespeareWallah's (A BritRaj term for people who 'love' all things Shakespearean) attract a wider audience ie. beyond its narrow scope?

    Meanwhile, here's how 'Shakespeare Country' uses its
    Sub-Brands to attract different market segments:

    - Rugby: Home of the Sport of Rugby
    - Royal Leamington Spa: A Royal Town Twin (Twinned with Royal Tunbridge Wells in the county of Kent: The Garden of England)
    - Nuneaton: Home to the Warks Carnival (Warks is shorthand for Warwickshire)
    - Warwick Castle: England's Most Haunted (Featuring the Ghost Tower)
    - Warwick University: Leaders in Industry Innovation
  • It is interesting that just by our conversation has managed to associate itself and leave a panel ad of related books on this page. If Amazon can do it, Maybe Warwikshire County could too, and likewise for stories other than Shakespeare, so that Warwickshire is promoted to people according to their interest.
  • Hello Tripatinos

    To develop Jose's point about 'Shakespeare Country', here's how a single-minded big brand idea transfoms itself into a powerful future-focused story-telling extravaganza on multiple-media channels - from offline to online to mobile (cellphone).

    Let's say Jose, your earliest knowledge of 'England' generally and 'Shakespeare' specifically was during your most impressionable years - 7/8 years of age. In other words, 'Shakespeare' is currently residing deep within your sub-conscious - the part of your brain which actually influences your decision-making - but you are not conscious of that on a day-to-day basis. So any focus group that you participate in would not be able to 'extract' that bit of insight from you. Only a 'regression' into your early childhood would be able to do that. And let's say that one of your major roles in life is as a 'Business Person'.

    So here are some ways that 'Shakespeare Country' influences the 'business' target market - of which you are a part of - by re-telling Shakespeare's plays and sonnets but within a contemporary business context: Power, Strategy, Identity, Persuasion, Mergers & Acquisitions, Presentation, Creative Partnerships and so on.

    Here are some examples:
    1. Richard III: The Art of Persuasion
    2. Antony & Cleopatra: A Presentation Masterclass
    3. The Merchant of Venice: Mass Storytelling & the Power of Advertising
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