Branding a destination in a political crisis: Re-learning, re-thinking and re-aligning strategies.
Heath, Ernie T.
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Contested election results or coups de dat have triggered political violence that has swept across a number of African countries, negatively affecting their tourism destinations. Thus, a political crisis can cause a significant disaster since it has the potential of impacting negatively the smooth operations of the tourism industry. This paper discusses the prospects of branding destinations and the opportunities thereof. Destination branding literature reveals that every destination should include crisis management strategies in its tourism planning processes, management activities and destination marketing programmes. The paper concurs that destination branding should be married with crisis management strategies in order to turn a crisis into a profitable opportunity. However, in the prevailing fragile, economic and political conditions the traditional notion of positioning a destination is no longer effective. Destination Marketing Organisations need to position their destinations in such a way that, despite uncertain conditions, they can exploit the scarce windows of opportunities. The paper proposes that in this ever increasing non-linear world, it is only the non-linear strategies that can create new tourism wealth. The paper concludes that though destination branding is an essential tool for positioning a destination, in order to be effective, Destination Marketing Organisations need to re-learn the destination strategy process, re-align their strategies and decisions.
- Travel & Tourism