Destinations are the core of tourism, an industry which is generally defined as temporary travel away from home and the activities undertaken there. From a consumer’s perspective, a destination can seem to be like any other travel destinations that provide broadly similar benefits.
Branding is about establishing the identity of a tourism offering in the minds of consumers or visitors. It has been defined as a distinctive name or symbol which identifies a product, or set of products, and which differentiates it from its competitors (Cooke, 1996).
Destination branding is a process that can be likened generically to destination image management, requiring development of a destination image that is well positioned in relationship to the needs and wants of the target market, the image of competitor destinations and also the deliverable attributes of the destination.
Product branding provides destination managers with a way to highlight the particular features of a destination and retain customer interest by creating customer identification with products based on their attributes and benefits (Eric Laws, 2002).
The purpose of branding is to differentiate the goods or services of one provider or group of providers from those of competitors (Kotler, 1998). The essential advantage of branding is that it creates a favourable position for the destination and its integral products, enabling clients to distinguish it from competitors on attributes which are significant to their motivations. This is expressed as the destination’s brand personality, whereby branding provides a way of building an emotional link between product and consumer by appealing to the consumers’ self-image and lifestyle concepts.
The benefits of effective destination branding bring about customer loyalty, as well as commercial value to the destination. It also serves as a base for promotion of other products. In order for the...