What Do We Know About Destination Branding?

What Do We Know About Destination Branding?

Rafaela Camara Malerba (Federal Institute for Education, Science and Technology of São Paulo, Brazil), Cristina I. Fernandes (University of Beira Interior, Portugal) and Pedro Veiga (Instituto Politécnico de Viseu, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0365-2.ch013


Destination branding is a recent field of study related to tourism and marketing. Based on a categorized bibliometric analysis of 272 articles published in Thomson Reuters' journals since 2001, this chapter characterizes intellectual structure of the scientific publications about destination branding, identifies its authors' location in terms of institution and countries, and recognizes main research lines. It also provides co-citation networks of authors, journals, and their respective clusters. This analysis enhances knowledge on destination branding and supports new studies and researches in this field.
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Tourism is a very important activity for many countries, regions and cities, which promotes economic, cultural, environmental and social positive impacts when properly planned and managed (Hall & Richards, 2003). Many destination managers believe its resources are enough to interest and retain tourists, however, nowadays, the competitiveness and the complexity in consumer-behaviour are so strong, that a destination needs much more than good attractions, structure and services. Besides, tourist offices and companies’ managers need to maintain their travel markets in a context where potential tourists are overwhelmed in marketing messages (Morgan & Pritchard, 2002). In this context, destinations need to have a strong brand, i.e., a set of elements that help consumers to identify and differentiate it in the market (Cae, 2002). That is why branding is considered an essential tool - perhaps the most powerful one - for destination marketing (Morgan & Pritchard, 2002; Usakli & Baloglu, 2011).

Despite that, the literature on destination branding is a relatively new field of study, being on the concerns of tourism scholars since the end of the 1990s (Pike and Page, 2014; Cae, 2002, Hosany, Ekinci, & Uysal, 2006). In the last decade, there has been observed a growing interest on the subject, with new studies being published, new concepts and models and case analysis. Among these new studies, however, it was not found one a with a bibliometric approach, which would a important contribution to enhance knowledge on this subject and to point gaps for future research.

Therefore, this paper aims to characterize intellectual structure of the scientific publications about destination branding, to identify its author’s location in terms of institution and countries and to recognize research lines and trends. In the view of achieving these objectives, it is performed a bibliometric analysis of 272 articles, using co-citation method in order to map the relationships and structures underlying this field of study.

This paper is structured in five sections beyond the introduction. The next one presents an overview of literature and theoretical aspects of destination branding. The following points out method issues. After that, results are presented and, then, the last section concludes the paper and points out limitations and suggestions for new investigations.

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