Destination Branding: An Analysis of the Swedish Destination Image Representation and the Perception on the German Market

Master's Thesis, 2013

160 Pages, Grade: 1,0


List of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Abbreviations

1. Introduction
1.1 Background and Purpose of the Topic
1.2 Structure
1.3 Methodology

2. The Concept of Destination Branding
2.1 Definition Destination Branding
2.2 Destination Brand Building
2.3 Challenges in Destination Branding
2.4 Critical Factors of Success in Destination Branding
2.4.1 Strategic Orientation
2.4.2 Destination Identity and Image
2.4.3 Stakeholder Involvement
2.4.4 Brand Implementation, Monitoring and Review
2.5 Benefits of a strong Destination Brand
2.6 Topic Conclusion

3. Destination Image
3.1 Destination Image Definition
3.2 Characterizing the Nature of Destination Image
3.3 Components of the Destination Image
3.4 Destination Image Formation
3.4.1 Different Phases of the Travel Experience
3.4.2 Three States of Image Formation
3.5 Effects of the Destination Image on the Travel Behavior
3.6 The Relationship between Destination Image and Destination Brand

4. Current Situation of the Swedish Tourism Industry
4.1 Traveler Profile
4.2 Attractions and Touristic Offers
4.2.1 Natural Attractiveness Factors
4.2.2 Anthropogenic Attractiveness Factors
4.3 Priority Source Markets and Target Groups
4.3.1 Germany as an important Source Market for Sweden
4.3.2 Target Groups on the German Market
4.4 Swedish Nation Branding Strategy
4.4.1 Creating an holistic Nation Brand
4.4.2 Image Presentation
4.4.3 Implementation
4.5 Conclusion

5. Survey: The Image of Sweden
5.1 Methodology
5.1.1 Conception and Circumstances of the Survey
5.1.2 Characterization of the Spot Check
5.2 Image Perception
5.3 Conclusion and critical Reflection

6. Evaluation of the Hypotheses and Needs for Improvement
6.1 Approach
6.2 Hypothesis 1: The Swedish Image is coined by outmoded Stereotypes
6.3 Hypothesis 2: The Image Perception of Sweden is hard to control and affect
6.4 Hypothesis 3: Sweden has the Image Potential to become an attractive Travel Destination for young People
6.5 Chapter Conclusion

7. Future Outlook and Conclusion

List of References


Declaration of Academic Honesty

List of Figures

Figure 1: The Destination Brand Building Process

Figure 2: Multiple Destination Layers

Figure 3: Stakeholder Interrelation, Interests and Beliefs

Figure 4: The Destination Image three-continuum Model

Figure 5: Travelers by Age

Figure 6: Foreign Markets

Figure 7: Types of Accommodation

Figure 8: Types of Transport

Figure 9: Traveler Satisfaction

Figure 10: The Disposition of Tourists

Figure 11: Gender Distribution

Figure 12: Age Distribution

Figure 13: Distribution by Federal States

Figure 14: Income Respondents

Figure 15: Holidays in Sweden

Figure 16: Amount of Sweden Holidays

Figure 17: Top 20 Sweden Associations

Figure 18: Top 15 Associations by Sweden Experience

Figure 19: Top 15 Associations by No Sweden Experience

Figure 20: Top 15 Sweden Associations by Group Young

Figure 21: Top 15 Sweden Associations by Group Old

Figure 22: Reasons for not traveling to Sweden again Group Old

Figure 23: Reasons for not traveling to Sweden again Group Young

Figure 24: Liked Best during Holidays in Sweden

Figure 25: Liked Best during Holidays in Sweden Group Young

Figure 26: Liked Best during Holidays in Sweden Group Old

Figure 27: Reasons for not visiting Sweden Group Old

Figure 28: Reasons for not visiting Sweden Group Young

Figure 29: Most important Criteria for Travel Country

Figure 30: Most unimportant Criteria for Travel Country

Figure 31: Most important Criteria for Travel Country by analyzed Groups

Figure 32: Most unimportant Criteria for Travel Country by analyzed Groups

Figure 33: Perception of Sweden by certain Attributes "Sweden is"

Figure 34: Perception of Sweden by certain Attributes "Sweden is not"

Figure 35: Perception of "Sweden is not" by Travel Experience

Figure 36: Perception of Sweden by analyzed Groups

Figure 37: Perception of Sweden by Sweden Experience

Figure 38: Comparison of Travel Country and Sweden Perception

Figure 39: Top 3 Image Impact

Figure 40: Top 3 Image Impact by Sweden Experience

Figure 41: Top 3 Image Influence by Age

Figure 42: Weak Image Influence by Sweden Experience

Figure 43: Weak Image Influence by Age

Figure 44: Mean-Value Image Influence by Age

Figure 45: Mean-Value Image Influence by Sweden Experience

Figure 46: Individual given Answers Image Influence

Figure 47: Top 15 Reasons for traveling to Sweden

Figure 48: Top 15 Reasons for traveling to Sweden by Sweden Experience

Figure 49: Top 15 Reasons for traveling to Sweden by Age

Figure 50: Four most important analyzed Themes

Figure 51: Three-continuum Image Model of Sweden

List of Tables

Table 1: Analyzed Groups

List of Abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

1. Introduction

1.1 Background and Purpose of the Topic

Destinations are one of the tourism industries biggest brands. Nowadays, travelers are overwhelmed with places, which fit in their holiday scheme. The tourism market is crowded by destinations and the outcome is the substitutability of places. (Pike, 2005) Destination branding is a way to differentiate a destination from its existing competitors. Branding a country is a complex and multilevel business. One of the core aspects in destination branding is to identify and differentiate a destination through to a positive destination image. The destination image is a crucial part in the travelers' decision making process and verifiable influence the tourist behavior. Therefore the destination image has become one of the major concepts in destination marketing. Special focus is given to the destination image theory, which is a major aspect in destination branding. (Echtner & Ritchie, 2003; Qu et al., 2011; Wang & Pizam, 2011)

Just as product brands, destination brands are living entities. They have to be managed continuously and changed over time, to ensure a fit to environmental changes. (Wang & Pizam, 2011) Sweden has therefore developed a national branding and sales strategy for the tourism industry to implement until 2020 and fully launched in 2013. (Gaßmann, 2013) A part of this strategy is the creation of special themes to present a holistic Sweden image and destination brand. (Communication Guide, 2013) Among others, this strategy will be used to compare the presented and advertised Sweden image with the image perception on the German source market, to analyze compliance or incongruity. Germany is an interesting and important source market for the Swedish tourism industry. According to the research of the UNWTO, Germany is one of the biggest spenders in the tourism industry in 2011 (UNWTO, 2012). Based to the results from IBIS, the Swedish Border Survey about foreign visitors in Sweden, Germany hold the fourth place, after Norway, Finland and Denmark considering the amount of travelers to the country in 2011, with 1.796.016 visitors (IBIS, 2012). Taking this into account, presenting a positive, fitting and attractive country image has to be one of Sweden's main aims.

On these grounds it is important to ask, if the implemented image meets the expectations of German travelers to Sweden. What is Sweden from a German point of view? How do Germans perceive the image of Sweden?

Therefore three Hypotheses have been constructed.

Hypothesis 1: The Swedish Image is coined by outmoded Stereotypes

Many studies, (Image of the North, 2009; Image Study Germany, 2011) show that the German association with the country is based on stereotypes like Elks, Nature or Lakes. The author wants to find out if this image of Sweden is still consisting.

Hypothesis 2: The Image Perception of Sweden is hard to control and affect

Country images are hard to affect and often influenced by cultural transmitted information, e.g. from family and friends or school education. Only little information, which are admitted by the tourists, are under the direct or indirect surveillance of destination marketing organizations. (Hennig, 1998 cited in Kliem, 2003; Wang & Pizam, 2011)

Hypothesis 3: Sweden has the Image Potential to become an attractive Travel Destination for young People

By now, the target groups for Germany are according to Visit Sweden (2013) mainly described as Whops (Wealthy Healthy Older People) and Active Families. Younger people or students are not included as direct target groups. (Communication Guide, 2013) But, the study Image of the North (2009) has analyzed Sweden as a stylish, modern and likeable country from a young German point of view (the interviewees have been young German students). The author wants to find out if the current image presentation of Sweden is interesting and appealing for young Germans. Furthermore it should be analyzed if there is a tendency and willingness of young Germans to travel to Sweden.

The overall aim is to analyze the congruity of the presented Sweden Image with the perceived destination image in Germany. The author wants to find out, if the destination image fits to the overall imagination of Sweden from a German travelers point of view.

1.2 Structure

The first chapter gives an introduction into the chosen topic and the evaluated hypothesis. The aim of the thesis is lined out and the methodology for the processing is described. Chapter 2 deals with the concept of destination branding, a definition of the term is given in chapter 2.1. The phases of brand building, challenges in destination branding and critical factors of success and benefits of destination brands are presented in the chapters 2.2-2.5.

Chapter 3 addresses the second big theoretical part, the destination image. A definition is given in chapter 3.1 followed by the characterizing and nature of the destination image in chapter 3.2. The respective chapters deal with the components of the destination image as well as the formation and the effects it can have on certain tourism selection processes. The connection of destination branding and the destination image is done in chapter 3.6, connecting the two big theoretical parts and describe the coherences of the theories.

The chapter Current Situation of the Swedish Tourism Industry presents the chosen country Sweden and its actual situation on the tourism market. Inside the subchapters is the traveler profile drone, attractions and touristic offers described and the priority source markets as well as target groups depicted. Thereby a special focus is given on the German source market. Within chapter 4.4, the Swedish nation branding strategy, especially the development of a holistic nation brand and the current image presentation of the destination is indicated. The implementation of the branding strategy within the certain regions of Sweden is outlined in chapter 4.4.3 and described on real cases.

Chapter 5 is the main part of the thesis and considers the executed survey The Image of Sweden. The methodology, conceptions and circumstances of the survey are pointed out in chapter 5.1.1. Chapter 5.1.2 characterizes the spot check of the survey to give more exact information about the survey respondents. The biggest and most important part of the survey is presented in chapter 5.2, which deals with the survey outcomes of the image perception of Sweden. Within this chapter the survey outcomes are presented, analyzed and via graphical illustrations, tables etc. represented.

Chapter 6 evaluates the developed hypotheses regarding their confirmation or disconfirmation. Needs for improvement are given at the end of each hypothesis chapter, to optimize the Swedish branding strategy within the German market.

The last chapter, chapter 7, sums up the findings of the work, gives a future outlook of this field of work and a critical view at the chosen topic.

1.3 Methodology

Firstly, as a theoretical framework, the destination branding and destination image theory will be described. The author will analyze relevant models, concepts and the purpose of these theories on basis of a literature analysis.

Secondly, a short illustration of the current situation of the Swedish tourism industry and its present destination image presentation will be done via the usage of different studies, data samples, internet based research and tourism brochures.

Thirdly, the perceived country image of Sweden will be analyzed via an own data collection. Primary data is gained via a quantitative and qualitative online questionnaire, published on various internet portals and social media pages. To verify the outcomes, a literature analysis will be done and different studies, e.g. the Image of the North from the University of Wurzburg (2009) will be incorporated. Furthermore, secondary data samples and professional articles will be used to illustrate a more detailed picture of the German perception of Sweden as a destination. The outcomes are the base for the evaluation of the developed hypothesis.

Lastly, individual needs for improvement and a future outlook will be given to optimize and ensure a strong and congruent Swedish country brand on the German market.

2. The Concept of Destination Branding

2.1 Definition Destination Branding

For a better understanding of the topic, the terms destination and branding need to be defined. Destinations are "geographic locations with resources, attractions, infrastructure, superstructure and facilities that attract people to visit and stay temporarily for diverse reasons" (Pike, 2004, cited in Wang & Pizam, 2011, p. 115). Destinations are complex buildings consist of various pieces and including different stakeholder, which makes them different to convenient products. (Wang & Pizam, 2011)

Branding is considered as one of the major tools to market a product, by the definition of the American Marketing Association (n.d.) a brand is a "name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competition" (cited in Kotler & Gertner, 2002, p. 249). Making clear, that differentiation to competitors is in the focus of branding.

Combining the two terms, Morrison and Anderson (2002) defining destination branding as "a way to communicate a destination’s unique identity by differentiating a destination from its competitors" (cited in Qu, et al., 2011, p. 466). This definition outlines the importance of the actions that have to be done, like the right communication or advertisement, to establish a unique destination brand.

The most detailed definition is given by Ritchie and Crouch (2003) who define a destination brand as "a name, symbol, logo, trademark or other graphic that both identifies and differentiates the destination; furthermore, it conveys the promise of a memorable travel experience that is uniquely associated with the destination. It also serves to consolidate and reinforce the post-travel recollection of pleasurable memories of the destination experience" (Ritchie & Crouch, 2003, p. 196). Taking this into account, the destination brand is far more as just a logo, name and symbol; it also includes historical and cultural elements like heritage, language, myths and legends. It is a memorable experience for the traveler. The author will take the definition from Ritchie and Crouch (2003) as base for the analysis of destination branding, because it is the most complex and holistic one. Destination brands shall give the tourist a security and assurance of quality and easier the destination searching process, they are vital and change over time. Furthermore, the definition of Ritchie and Crouch strongly points out the influence of experiences and the "overall satisfaction with the product use experience" (Ritchie & Crouch, 2003, p. 196). Meaning, a lot of other factors, apart from the destination itself, are involved in satisfying tourists. (Ritchie & Crouch, 2003; Wang & Pizam, 2011)

The next chapter presents the process of brand building, to provide a base for the destination branding and the different phases involved.

2.2 Destination Brand Building

Destination brand building is a complex issue, including several phases and steps to be done. Morgan et al. (2010) divide the destination brand building process in five phases illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1: The Destination Brand Building Process

illustration not visible in this excerpt

(Source: Own illustration based on Morgan et al., 2010, p. 69)

In phase one, the market needs to be investigated and analyzed, e.g. compare the own brand to those from competitors. Therefore, the core values of a destination need to be established. Those values have to be relevant and of use for the tourist. Otherwise they can leave out, because they are irrelevant for the decision making process. An example is the offer of family-friendly activities within a destination but having wealthy and healthy old people as main target group. The main target group is not interested in such activities and therefore the offer is useless or even annoying for them. Also values have to be durable and communicable. Durability is very important for the creation of a long-term and successful brand building, because it ensures the steady strengthening of the brand in the head of the consumer. The brand has to hold saliency for the customer and be of great relevance to stand out from the competitors. It needs to point out it higher value in comparison with the competitors and developing a unique and distinctive concept. (Morgan, et al., 2010; García, et al., 2012)

Phase two, the brand identity "should help establish a relationship between the brand and the customer by generating a value proposition involving functional, emotional or self- expressive benefits" (Aaker, 1996, cited in Morgan et al., 2010, p. 227). Brands can thus be seen as a specific identity for a destination. The identity communicates what the brand stands for and which special values are offered. An effective and constant communication of these values is mandatory for this process. (Qu et al., 2011) Brand identity shall present stability, a sense of value and uniqueness for the consumer. It should identify the main aspects and characteristics of a brand. Every brand identity component, from photography to color, must be imbued by the established values and underpin them to tie a relationship between the customer and the brand. (Tasci & Kozak, 2006; Morgan, et al., 2010)

Phase three is used to launch and introduce the brand to the public. The vision of the brand should be clearly and understandable expressed. A core aspect is that the vision must be shared and believed from every stakeholder and at the end also from the customer. Products must reinforce the vision to stabilize the brand. Especially the cooperation of the stakeholders is essential to generate a successful brand. (Morgan et al., 2010) Communication and advertisement ensure the knowledge of the internal established core values on the customer side. This is an essential step to increase the awareness of a brand.

The brand awareness is the "ability to recognize and recall a brand, reflected in the salience of the brand in the customers mind" (García et al., 2012, p. 649). Therefore it is a main element in the effectiveness of branding. (García et al., 2012)

After these three phases, the brand strategy, including the vision, can be implemented and positioned on the market. This happens in phase four. In a branding strategy for a whole country, the different destinations, regions etc. have to be adapted to the strategy, to generate an individual fit for destination and target groups. During the implementation process is the involvement of media and advertisement unalterable. The best success to promote a brand, gives according to Kozak and Baloglu (2011) the combination of traditional and non-traditional advertisement. (Morgan et al., 2010; Kozak & Baloglu, 2011)

The last step, phase five, conduce the monitoring, evaluation and review of the strategy. The branding process is vital and should always be controlled to be able to adapt the strategy if the demands, external or internal situations are changing. (Morgan, et al., 2010)

Furthermore, Morgan et al., 2010, include the emotional aspect in destination branding. The authors define six aspects to the five phases of destination brand building to create a more emotional attachment to the brand, it has to be

"credible, deliverable, differentiating, conveying powerful ideas, enthusing for stakeholders and partners, resonating with the consumer"

(Morgan et al., 2010, p. 70).

To build a strong emotional relationship with the tourist, the brand must be credible and deliverable. The brand values communicated have to be true and believable otherwise visitors will not trust the destination brand or are dissatisfied after the visit. An example is the destination Las Vegas, which cannot advertise itself as having beautiful nature or silent places. Also the brand values have to be deliverable and need to be communicated. The promises about the brand have to be true and practicable otherwise the expectations are too high and the visitors will be disappointed. Conveying powerful and different ideas, which can differentiate the destination from competitors and are interesting for the travel, can bind a strong emotional relationship to the customer. Enthusing for stakeholders and partners highlights the cooperation of all stakeholders and their importance to ensure a cooperative brand. Is the unity of the touristic players missing, brand fragmentation can occur and destroy the destination brand unity. The last point lines out the resonation with the customer, which means the resonance of the presented brand from the customer side. Regarding the vitality of destination branding, conversant the needs and wishes of the customer, get feedback and implement this in the destination brand strategy is a good way to get recognized and resonance from the target market. (Baker & Cameron, 2008; Morgan et al., 2010)

Also other authors highlight the importance of emotional bandages between the destination and its tourists. Outlined in the research of Veasna et al. (2013, p. 524), destination marketers should concentrate more in building "emotional linkages between tourist´s beliefs and destination choices by increasing tourist attachment and satisfaction with their destination experiences [...]". There should be no gap between the communicated or advertised destination brand and the experienced one. Otherwise, the tourists are disappointed, will not come back and can course bad word-of-mouth propaganda against the destination. (Veasna et al., 2013)

The brand building process by Morgen et al., (2010) can be seen as a framework to build a destination brand. Other meaningful aspects like factors for success or occurring challenges have to be considered and are outlined in the next chapters.

2.3 Challenges in Destination Branding

The decision making process of choosing a destination is an extensive one and mainly based on the character of tourism products. Those are intangible and have a risky nature. The tourists cannot, like physical goods, touch or try tourism products. A holiday and included products are booked before seen or tried out. This is one of the challenges in destination branding. (Tasci & Kozak, 2006)

Compared to global brands such as Nike or Adidas, the branding in the tourism industry has a more limited budget, regarding their annual global budget for advertisement. So the communication to promote the destination has to be smart instead of outspending. Bringing up another disadvantage, which is the positive correlation between the expenditures of tourists and the promotional budget of a destination. Meaning, as more money is invested in communication and advertisement for the destination as more money the tourist is willing to spend to travel to the destination or spend at the destination. (Tasci & Kozak, 2006)

Another challenge is the "complexity of the tourism product" (Baker & Cameron, 2008, p. 81) as well as the high number and complexity of stakeholders, which can lead to a problem in effective destination branding. Tourism products, experiences and services are amalgam, hard to analyze or regard as single products, services or experiences. Taking a hotel overnight stay as example, several services, like the drive to the hotel, the employees in the hotel, the food, the location around the hotel etc. are involved in a single overnight stay. As shown in Figure 2, the destination consists of multiple layers of geographical entities, and reaches from the operational level, such as hotels or resorts until the global destination level, where whole countries or even continents are involved. Making clear, a single organization has neither the possibility nor the resources to have the full control over all tourism products. (Wang & Pizam, 2011)

Figure 2: Multiple Destination Layers

illustration not visible in this excerpt

(Source: Own illustration based on Wang & Pizam, 2011, p. 116)

Through to the various stakeholders and their interests and objectives, image-related problems can appear. Taking the stakeholder group of tourists, several values about a destination are important. Tourists looking for functional values, like grocery stores, shops or for social values, like the suitability of a destination for all ages. Emotional values, considering e.g. the atmosphere at a certain place. Also epistemic values, like to get to know other cultures, or conditional values, which would be for example the availability of cheap hotel overnight stays at a destination. Several problems can occur only by considering the single stakeholder group of tourists, taking into account the other stakeholders as well; the complexity of destination branding becomes clear. (Baker & Cameron, 2008)

The "heterogeneity of travel motives" (Baker & Cameron, 2008, p. 90) is another challenge in destination branding. Tourists can have different motives to visit a certain destination. Those can be relaxation, adventure, get to know the culture, native people and so forth. The challenge is to find a base of associations, which are relevant and unique to each target group and later integrate them in a joint effort. This could lead to a different brand image perception of the tourist and the intended self-image of the brand identity. (Baker & Cameron, 2008) Furthermore, Fan (2006) points out that, defining a target group is crucial "because some aspects of a destination may seem positive to one segment while ineffective to another" (Fan, 2006, cited in Qu et al ., 2011, p. 466). The statement illustrates the subjective perception and heterogeneity of tourism products.

The internal stakeholder groups, like local residents and businesses are also very important for the destination branding success. The customer decision making process for a destination is a vital one and so it should be that "residents, too, need to be actively involved in destination branding as they are part of the destination’s marketing mix and marketing professionals cannot afford to be out of touch with the ‘message on the street‘" (Baker & Cameron, 2008, p.90). Baker and Cameron (2008) state the importance of the locals and residents of a destination to ensure a successful destination brand. Internal stakeholders must understand the positive impact and potential of the brand and need to be aware of it. The internal marketing and analysis of the core values of a brand have to be taken serious and need to be communicated until those are understood and supported by the internal stakeholder. A strong and effective leadership, e.g. by private-public partnerships, can help to overcome the problems mentioned above, balance the power in decision making of strong stakeholders to small stakeholders, guaranty a broader brand identity, ensure an appropriate use of resources and capabilities and can provide strategies for future uncertainties. (Baker & Cameron, 2008)

Nonetheless, destination marketers have just little control over the various stakeholders through to the involvement of different sectors, businesses etc.. External happenings like environmental or natural catastrophes', terrorist attacks, as 9/11, or epidemics are out of any ones control. The brand has to build on values, which connect the visitor and destination in a unique way and cannot be copied by the competitors. Successful brands need strong and consistent marketing heritages and the destination marketers have to stay on course, because the creation of brand awareness takes years and should not be changed from month to month but developed and straightened. (Baker & Cameron, 2008)

2.4 Critical Factors of Success in Destination Branding

After pointing out the challenges of destination branding, this chapter gives an outline of critical factors of success. Those need to be considered to get advantages out of destination branding. Baker and Cameron (2008) based the success factors for destination branding on the phases of the brand building process from Morgan and Pritchard (2004). The authors (Baker & Cameron, 2008) developed four stages, which are involved in the brand building process and are seen as fundamental for the success in marketing a destination. Success factors "try to explain why place marketing practices are successful or unsuccessful and represent the ability and capacity of a location to take these into account in developing an effective marketing strategy for a location" (Rainisto, 2003, cited in Baker & Cameron, 2008, p. 91). The four stages involved are the "strategic orientation, destination identity and image, stakeholder involvement and implementation, monitoring and review" (Baker & Cameron, 2008, p. 92), which are developed out of 33 success factors analyzed by Baker and Cameron (2008). (Baker & Cameron, 2008)

2.4.1 Strategic Orientation

Starting with the strategic orientation and its main elements named goals and objectives as well as strategy and situational analysis factors. A strategy is defined by Johnson and Scoles in 2002 as the "direction and scope of an organization over the long term" (Johnson and Scoles, 2002, cited in Baker & Cameron, 2008, p. 92). A long term strategy and scope is necessary for the destination branding. This is based to the fact that the development, implementation and successful integration of a destination brand needs a long time and cannot be based only on short time scopes or objectives. Bieger (2005) adds the development of trust to the market, which needs a long time and assume qualified staff and conceptual action. This includes financial investments, e.g. for the communication or building investments, over a long period. (Bieger, 2005) The direction of a strategy must be clear to leave no uncertainties about the actions that have to be done by the involved stakeholder. If the directions, objectives, strategies and scopes are not clearly described and understood by the stakeholder, the destination branding process will take longer time to be successful or even fail. The holistic, strategic approach of the destination brand strategy is another important fact to consider getting a sustainable advantage to competitors. The main aims are to satisfy the visitors, enhance the prosperity of local people for a long-term, optimize tourism impacts and maximize the profitability of local enterprises. (Baker & Cameron, 2008)

2.4.2 Destination Identity and Image

The destination identity and image have to be developed and communicated. The destination identity is set up via certain concise characteristics about a destination. It must be clearly communicated and advertised how the country wants to be perceived in the public. An example is the country New Zealand, which is advertised as country with breathtaking landscape and nature, full of adventures. The aim is to differentiate the destination, e.g. via unique characteristics, from the competitors. The destination image should be an identity for the destination. Morgan et al. (2010, p. 227) point out that "the key to successful brand building is identifying what the brand stands for and effectively delivering that message". The brand image is the customer site of view about a brand. The image is a sum of believes, impressions or ideas that people have about a destination. To be successful, there has to be an interface between those two. This could be done through brand positioning and marketing communication. The brand identity must fit to the customer believes of the image and vice versa. (Baker & Cameron, 2008; Morgan, et al., 2010)

2.4.3 Stakeholder Involvement

The third factor of success is the stakeholder involvement. The destination brand is a complex building with a lot of different stakeholders involved. Figure 3 gives an overview about the different stakeholders their interrelations, interests and beliefs. The objectives and needs of the stakeholder should be satisfied to guaranty a successful destination brand. Furthermore, they ought to be involved in the decision making process to guaranty the congruity of the destination brand scope and strategy. (Baker & Cameron, 2008)

Figure 3: Stakeholder Interrelation, Interests and Beliefs

illustration not visible in this excerpt

(Source: Own illustration based on Baker & Cameron, 2008, p. 82)

Marzano and Scott (2009, pp. 249-250) state that the destination brand is "the tangible and positive outcome of the achievement of unity and collaboration amongst stakeholders of a tourism destination" and set a clear focus at the stakeholder cooperation for the destination brand success. This involves all individuals, groups, organization etc. that are affected by the tourism development or playing a role in the direction of development. An example is the service chain, if just one thing goes wrong or does not happening the way, the tourist expect it to be during the holidays, he or she will be disappointed. A strong cooperation can overcome such service chain failures. Another advantage of a strong relationship between the stakeholders is the building of interdisciplinary ties and local networks. Out of this, weaker or less developed destinations can profit from stronger ones and develop a better performance. (Haugland et al., 2011) It is only possible to market a brand effective if a cohesion is created and the brand is lived by every single stakeholder or like Kotler and Gertner (2002, p. 254) state that "the process must involve government, citizens and businesses, all with a shared vision". Also a strong leadership must be addressed to give greater guidance in the development process. (Kotler & Gertner, 2002; Baker & Cameron, 2008; Marzano & Scott, 2009)

2.4.4 Brand Implementation, Monitoring and Review

The last point mentioned by Baker and Cameron (2008) is the brand implementation as well as monitoring and review of the process. Especially in the end phase of destination branding, the right presentation on the market and communication with the customer is mandatory. Implementation, monitoring and review of the destination brand need to be included in the process and should be effectively planned. Prioritizing objectives, estimate costs, set timescales, assignments for responsibility, all of these elements are necessary to involve and think about in the last phase of destination branding. For the right positioning on the market, the uses and advantages a customer has from the brand, need to be clear and recognized by the customer. Pointing out what makes the certain destination special and why travelers should visit the certain place. Especially unique sights, like the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Mahal must be communicated and clearly advertised to the target groups because no other destination can offer them and thereby an advantage can be created. (Bieger, 2005) A constant evaluation and monitoring about what is done and how effective it was, need to take place. This is a continual process, which should be done time by time, to guaranty the control about the effectiveness of destination branding. Changes from the external environment like the media or natural catastrophes can happen very fast. Therefore monitoring the market and being prepared is important. (Baker & Cameron, 2008)

2.5 Benefits of a strong Destination Brand

As elucidated in the chapters before, brand building involves many challenges and critical factors of success to be reconsidered. It is a complex and hard task but after prosperous branding, numerous benefits exist. (Wang & Pizam, 2011) Successful destination branding "can differentiate products, represent a promise of value, quality trust and assurance, evokes anticipation, expectation and emotions, incites beliefs, prompts behaviors and reduces costs and perceived risk for consumer" (Wang & Pizam, 2011, p. 122).

Looking at all the different competition on the tourism market, the differentiation from competitors via branding is tremendous important. Brands represent a promise of value, which is given from a company to the customer. (Kotler & Gertner, 2002) Social and emotional values are included in the brand perception on the customer side. For instance, social values can give the traveler prestige e.g. by visiting an exotic destination like the Galapagos Islands, because his or her friends or relatives are jealous or impressed from the travel. Emotional values are linked to special feelings, beliefs or experiences about or perceived in a country. If a country gives the consumer a special sort of value and security before the travel, the risk of buying or booking a holiday without knowing the country gets reduced. Branding therefore, reduces the risk factors before booking a travel on the consumer side and decrease the decision time and spending for a destination. An example is the brand of the Hilton hotel chain. It is perceived as excellent luxury chain, with outstanding and high quality service. These aspects make the brand reliable and trustable, suggesting the former buyer a feeling of confidence and security. Brands operate as indicators of quality; they signal quality, give assurance and evoke anticipation. Brands can evoke emotions and affective bond people on a destination. Hence effective branding can also lead to strong destination preference and high repeat visits, which can be described as the loyalty to a brand and also positively influence the word-of-mouth about the country. Apart from monetary benefits, through to higher revenues and tourist expenses, a strong and positive destination brand can also lead to benefits by internal stakeholders. High morale, national pride, team spirit, high living standards and increasing life quality for locals, which will at the end be beneficial for the cooperation of the internal stakeholder and lead to higher brand success. (Wang & Pizam, 2011)

An example of an already successful branded destination is Las Vegas, which gives the assurance of having an energetic, hilarious, unforgettable, funny and action-packed holiday in one of the most famous cities in the world. Other examples are the brand 100% Pure New Zealand, standing for breathtaking nature, landscape and guaranty an adventures holiday in a scenic country or Paris with the unique value proposition of the Eiffel Tower and the brand identity as one of the most romantic cities in the world. (Wang & Pizam, 2011)

2.6 Topic Conclusion

Chapter 2 shows the huge influence and impact of the destination brand on the travel behavior and the importance in successfully marketing a place. Major points in building a brand are monitoring and analyzing the market, to know about and communicate the individual brand identity and to implement the brand within the right target market. Furthermore the constant control and evaluation of the brand is indispensable because the branding process is a flexible and active one. Within this brand constitution various stakeholder are involved. A fundamental base for the success of a brand is the integration and consideration of different interests and wants of the stakeholder within the branding process, as shown in chapter 2.4.3. Especially, the internal stakeholder, like tourist information centers or on side tourism businesses, need to be involved and more importantly be integrated and informed about the various steps in branding. This is a hard task, but by generating those factors, the destination can outstand against its competitors. The whole brand development is a complex matter, as presented in this chapter. Nevertheless, it can be a big advantage for countries to develop and manage their branding to stay competitive and stick out. Consider and effectively implement the critical factors of success, outlined in chapter 2.4, destinations can positively influence their perception and strengthen their brand. The advantages are outstanding, customer loyalty, positive recommendations or increasing repeat visits are just some of them. (Kotler & Gertner, 2002; Wang & Pizam, 2011)

An influential and in the literature always mentioned part by e.g. Kotler and Gertner (2002), Tasci and Kozak (2006) or Veasna et al. in 2013, in destination branding is the destination image. How important the image is for the whole branding success, how image perception is created as well as influenced and what effects it, is argued in chapter 3.

3. Destination Image

3.1 Destination Image Definition

Especially in destination marketing is the destination image a commonly recognized and important part, because it describes how a brand is perceived by the consumer (Kozak & Baloglu, 2011). A brand image is defined as "[. . .]the concept as the embodiment of the abstract reality that people buy products or brands for something other than their physical attributes and functions" (Tasci & Kozak, 2006, p. 304).

Crompton and Coshall, give a more detailed definition for the destination image. Crompton, in 1979, defines the destination image more commonly as "the sum of beliefs, ideas, and impressions that a person has of a destination" (cited in Tasci & Kozak, 2006, p. 304). Interesting are the words beliefs and ideas, because those are fully subjective and not directly based on clear facts about a destination but on thoughts and believes about it. Also Coshall (2000) defines it as "the individual’s perceptions of the characteristics of destinations" (cited in Tasci & Kozak, 2006, p. 304). The definition is showing that the perceived destination image is an individual cognition of a destination. (Tasci & Kozak, 2006)

Lawson and Baud Bovy (1997, cited in Wang & Pizam, 2011, p. 131) gave an early and comprehensive definition of destination image as "the expression of all objective knowledge, impressions, prejudice, imaginations, and emotional thoughts an individual or group might have of a particular place". To find a holistic base for analyzing the destination image, the author has based the analysis on the definition by Lawson and Baud Bovy (1997).

The definitions make clear that an image of a destination is an important factor to take into credit for place marketing. As stated in the definition by Tasci and Kozak (2006), the brand image can help to overcome similarities of physical features within products or brands and focus more on the imagination about a brand or product. That branding can influence the imagination of a destination is a cardinal point. As mentioned in the introduction, there are several destinations with similar natural based and anthropogenic attractions; through to the destination image a destination can highlight itself among others. (Pike, 2005; Tasci & Kozak, 2006)

3.2 Characterizing the Nature of Destination Image

To understand the complexity of the destination image, in the following named DI, the different characteristics need to be described. Gallarza et al. in 2002 (cited in Wang & Pizam, 2011, p. 131), stated the four main characteristics representing the nature of destination image as "complex, multiple, relativistic and dynamic". (Wang & Pizam, 2011)

The complexity is reflected in the controversial concept and the absent of a universally agreed-upon definition or even accepted components. This makes the understanding and conceptualizing of DI even harder and can be based, among others, on the wide variety of definitions. An image of a destination consists of manifold features and many information agents, like travel agencies, television etc. are involved in the formulation. That is why DI has a multiple characteristic. The third characteristic representing the nature of DI is called relativistic. An image is highly subjective and varies from person to person. Giving an example, for one person, the city of New York is a crowded, expensive and dangerous place, for another one it is a cultural and fashion hot spot with a lot of museums, art and boutiques. It is usually not assessed in itself but rather it is compared to other destinations. Travelers evaluate one destination to another to find a suitable place for their holidays and contain the big variety of destinations. The last point mentioned by Gallarza et al. (2002) is the dynamic of DI. An image is no static building; it changes over time and space. For instance the physical closeness of tourists to a destination influences the image perception which can be different if the tourist resides at the destination than being apart from it. Several influences like media, advertisement or experiences can change the perception of a place. The image can vary from one day to another and therefore, it is very important to know about the actual tourist perception about the destination. (Wang & Pizam, 2011)

The growing interest for the destination image derives from the recognition "that what people think about a destination`s image is strategically more important than what a marketer knows about a destination" (Ahmed, 1991 cited in Wang & Pizam, 2011, p. 131). With this statement, Ahmed (1991) makes clear, that the knowledge and believes of the customer or traveler to a destination are far more important as those of the marketer. Because at the end traveler buy a holiday or a touristic product regarding certain images and thoughts about a destination. So, the biggest challenge of destination marketing organization is bringing the image which people have in their mind about a destination, as close as possible to that image a destination desires. (Wang & Pizam, 2011) After indentifying the nature of DI, the next chapter goes a step further in understanding DI and outlines the components of destination image, their interactions and dynamics.

3.3 Components of the Destination Image

Echtner and Ritchie (2003) offer a conceptual framework to understand the components of the destination image. The three-continuum model is based on three dimensions which are (1) attribute-holistic, (2) functional-psychological and (3) common-unique. (Echtner & Ritchie, 2003; Wang & Pizam, 2011)

Attribute-holistic dimension is based on the suggestion that the product information is processed from the customer via using individual attributes of a product or holistic impressions. The attribute view on a destination concentrates on several attributes or activities which are available at a destination. This includes high involvement by the consumer, because he or she assesses a destination piece by piece over the different attributes and activities. Meaning the customer has to concentrate on the destination, learn about it and find out the individual attributes describing the destination. The holistic view on a destination involves a lower involvement regarding the customer, because the processing of a destination is not done attribute by attribute. The consumer has a certain holistic imagery, a gestalt about a destination based on chosen criteria that are important to a certain situation. An example is the destination of Jamaica. The attributes can be differentiated in climate, nightlife and scenery, seen as a holistic imagery, Jamaica can be described as a sunny tropical destination with beautiful beaches and blue oceans. (Echtner & Ritchie, 2003; Ritchie & Crouch, 2003; Wang & Pizam, 2011)

The second dimension is the functional-psychological one. Functional characteristics are physical attributes like activities or nature. They are defined as directly measurable or observable e.g. the price of a holiday. Psychological characteristics describe more abstract attributes like service quality or safety of a destination. Those cannot be measured directly. Other attributes like climate are between those two ends and therefore in a grey area. (Echtner & Ritchie, 2003; Wang & Pizam, 2011)

As stated by Echtner and Ritchie (2003) the four image dimensions are interrelated and combined. Images are holistic buildings and attributes, which can be influenced by overall feelings or impressions. A clear line dividing functional and psychological characteristics do not exist but in an understandable way, the separation of functional and psychological as well as holistic and attributes is used to show the diversity of the destination image. (Echtner & Ritchie, 2003)

A third continuum has to be considered, regarding the components of destination image. These are the common functional to unique characteristics or components. The two, common and unique, can consist of both, psychological or functional traits. Common functional attributes are for instance the infrastructure or accommodation of a destination whereat psychological attributes describing the quality of service or friendliness of residents. Truly unique functional images are e.g. the Great Wall of China in China, or the Statue of Liberty in the USA. Also Pearce (1988) and MacCanell (1989) suggest the important role of unique functional aspects for the destination image, which are symbols and components of the image or "must-see-sights" (cited in Echtner & Ritchie, 2003, p. 43). Unique psychological attributes can include the image of e.g. the romantic atmosphere in Paris or the mystic one in India. (Echtner & Ritchie, 2003; Wang & Pizam, 2011)

Figure 4 : The Destination Image three-continuum Model

illustration not visible in this excerpt

(Own illustration based on Wang & Pizam, 2011, p. 132)

The three-continuum model, illustrated in Figure 4, helps to differentiate the certain components of the destination image. There are disparities in perceiving a destination but on the other hand, the image is an interrelation of the certain dimensions and cannot just be seen as certain attributes or unique sights. (Echtner & Ritchie, 2003) Therefore it is important to look at the image formation and answer the questions: How an image is created and what can influence it formation process, which is discussed in chapter 3.4.

3.4 Destination Image Formation

Tourists are overwhelmed with information about destinations. This information flood has many sources, starting from travel brochures, over stories from family, friends or relatives up to general media, like books, internet or television. (Pike, 2005)

Of course the actual visitation also modifies the image of a destination. Reynolds (1965, cited in Echtner & Ritchie, 2003, p. 38) describes the image formation as "the development of a mental construct based upon a few impressions chosen from a flood of information". The process of choosing and buying a product is often a mind-game. It can be seen as an important matter of image formation. (Hospers, 2004) Imagined knowledge can be seen as cognition. The customer is not able to know everything about a product, so he or she imagine knowledge about a product, thus they can construct their own image of reality. The view of certain things is therefore mostly contained with bias. The knowledge about a destination is gained by previous experiences or external sources like the mass media. Hospers (2004, p. 273) is pointing out more precise in saying that "the information people have of a particular place is the sum of earlier visits or stays in that area, articles in the media and stories of others". (Echtner & Ritchie, 2003; Hospers, 2004; Morgan et al., 2010)

For destination marketing organizations, in the following called DMOs, and tourism managers is the exploration of critical factors, which can influence the destination image, very important. It is vital for the decision making of future marketing activities and can give solutions about the effectiveness of marketing activities. (Echtner & Ritchie, 2003)

Therefore, the next chapter discloses the image formation considering the phases of travel experience, the three stages of image formation and points out main influences on destination image formation.

3.4.1 Different Phases of the Travel Experience

A context of the various sources of information and how important they are in forming the destination image is given by Gunn in 1988. Gunn developed a model, consisting of seven phases, to better understand the travel experience. (Gunn, 1988 cited in Echtner & Ritchie, 2003)

In the first phase, the traveler accumulates mental images about a holiday experience by reading about certain destinations by seeing e.g. news or reports about a specific country. In the second phase, those images will be more modified through to further information. This can be done via getting more specific information from a travel agency or travel brochure. The decision to make a holiday or take a vacation in a country is done in phase three. After this, the actual travel to a destination is described in phase four. In phase five is the participation in e.g. trips, events or tours at the destination important, because every experience can influence the destination image. The return back home is described as phase six and in the last phase seven, the gained experiences modify the images of a destination. The last phase is very important to integrate first hand experiences in the development of the destination image. Those experiences or adventures can totally change the destination image that existed before the travel. Out of these seven phases, Gunn (1988) developed three states to form the destination image, which are described in the next chapter. (Gunn, 1988 cited in Echtner & Ritchie, 2003)

3.4.2 Three States of Image Formation

Image formation is a construct of mental representation delivered by image formation agents like destination marketers and selected by a person, like the future tourist. Two ends of information transmission exist, the transmitter and the receiver. Thereby it can happen that the receiver or better said the tourist has a totally different image conception of a destination than the information transmitter, e.g. tourism organizations or destination marketing organizations. This is based on the fact that the original message can be changed by the receiver or altered by the influence of other information sources, which are not original from destination transmitters. (Tasci & Gartner, 2007)

This process is summarized by Gunn (1988, cited in Echtner & Ritchie, 2003) and the three states of destination image formation. The image which is formed in the first phase is called organic image. It is based on primarily information gained from non-commercial or non-touristic sources. Education, gained at school or university, general media, such as books or movies and the opinion of family, friends or relatives about a place. The second stage involves information sources that are more commercial such as travel agents, travel guidebooks and so on. By accessing this new information sources the organic image can be altered. The new and modified image in phase two is called induced image. An interesting point given by Echtner and Ritchie (2003) is that the image perception for services and products is mostly based on induced and commercial images. This is different with the destination image, because the information source spectrum is very wide. Historical, economical, political or social factors are considered in phase one to build a destination image. Therefore, the distinction between organic and induced image developed by Gunn (1988, cited in Echtner & Ritchie, 2003) is quite unique. The last image formation takes place by facing the real destination and uses the thereby gained experiences to relativize the former destination image. This happens in phase three. As a result, the image is mostly more differentiating, complex and realistic. (Echtner & Ritchie, 2003)

Considering the phases of image formation by Gunn (1988) individuals can have a certain image about a destination without ever been there, only by using different information sources. In this context, Bignè et al. (2001) state, that it is possible to influence some elements from the DI. Those elements could be advertisement, public relations or tourist information centers. Especially in the second phase of destination image formation, this manipulation can help to form the desired DI. (Bignè et al., 2001)

The last important point mentioned by Echtner and Ritchie (2003) is to differentiate the people who have already visit a country and those who have not been there yet. As described before, the image formation will be modified in the last phase and after the visit to a certain place. So, an individual can have a totally different image of a destination before the actual visit and after the visitation. (Echtner & Ritchie, 2003)

3.5 Effects of the Destination Image on the Travel Behavior

The destination image is one of the key concepts to understand the selection process of tourists. According to Veasna et al. (2013) the destination image can determinant influence the touristic attitudes towards a certain destination. Furthermore, a favorable image can create a stronger cognitive attachment towards the tourist and a destination. (Veasna et al., 2013)

Chen and Tsai (2007; p. 1116) state that the two important roles that the destination image plays in behavior can be named as "(1) to influence the destination choice decision-making process and (2) to condition the after-decision-making behaviors including participation (on-site experience), evaluation (satisfaction) and future behavioral intentions (intention to revisit and willingness to recommend".

Therefore, images can be seen as important decision drivers in the selection process for a destination. It is important to understand the consumer process of decision making. (Baloglu & McCleary, 1999) Especially for DMOs the fact to know about the influence of destination images is crucial, to later influence the decision making behavior. Bignè et al. (2001, p. 609) stating that "tourism image exercises a positive influence on perceived quality and satisfaction, because it moulds the expectations that the individual forms before the visit, and these variables depend on the comparison of such expectations with experience [...]". Saying, the image of a destination will influence the quality perception and also the satisfaction of the holiday. Afterwards, these expectations will be compared with already gained experiences and this will modify the image. (Bignè, et al., 2001) This plays an important role in returning to the destination and recommending it to other people. Especially the recommendation to friends or relatives is quite important, because word-of-mouth is one of the strongest information sources influencing the decision making process for a destination. (Baloglu & McCleary, 1999)

Tasci and Gartner (2007) go further and point out three main effects of the destination image in reference to the tourist behavior on pre-visit, the actual visitation and on post-visits. To analyze those effects an holistic view on the image perception and conducts towards the travel behavior is given. (Tasci & Gartner, 2007)

Starting with the behavior on pre-visit trips, several effects are mentioned within the literature. Goodrich (1978, cited in Tasci & Gartner, 2007, p. 419) state quite common that “the more favorable the perception of a given vacation destination, the more preferred that destination will tend to be". The DI can positively represent the destination and therefore also influence the decision making and the preference for a certain destination. For choosing one destination over another, the image has to be strong and the positive image aspects must outperform negative ones. Another proposition is that the image features should be different to the everyday life happenings of the traveler. Giving an example, people with a high everyday workload and stress might prefer a relaxing, unplugging holiday. The image dimensions play an important role in choosing a destination. Hunt (1975, cited in Tasci & Gartner, 2007, p. 419) proposes "that image dimensions pertaining to resident populations, natural environments, and climate might be more influential than the recreational attractions and activities on site when examining tourists’ destination choice". This is an interesting statement, because it means that DMOs should rather promote the country, culture and people itself then the different things to do at the destination. It also fits to the problem mentioned in chapter 3.4 that some image factors like the climate or security in the country are hard to control and influence. Furthermore Hunt (1975) implies that very exotic destination images could pose discomfort and therefore could not be chosen by tourists. The benefits and rewards, given from a certain place to a tourist are further argued to affect the travel behavior. Information about the destination through to travel brochures or tourist agencies help to make the traveler familiar with a destination, increase awareness or curiosity about the country and wants to make them learn more and at the end even visit the country. Thereby an aimed marketing and communication consisting with the target groups is mandatory. (Tasci & Gartner, 2007)

The most relevant point is to know what variables, features and so on, are important for tourists and their decision making. Those have to fit to the perception of a destination, doing this successful, the specific DI has the perfect match to the wants of the target groups. (Tasci & Gartner, 2007)

For the effect of the image during an actual visitation, two main points have been researched. First, the longer tourists are staying at a destination, the more exact, true and even better perception of the DI are created, comparing to those who stayed shorter. Another theory is that tourists are satisfied if the perceived pre-trip expectations are met, otherwise dissatisfaction takes place. (Tasci & Gartner, 2007)

The last effect is based on the post-visit behavior. This is the least researched phenomenon only examined by view researchers. Nevertheless, it is an important theory to mention and to better understand the DI effects. Milman and Pizam (1995, cited in Tasci & Gartner, 2007, p. 421) implicate that "once tourists are satisfied with their experience they might like to revisit a destination". It is a rather theoretical look at the effect and cannot be seen as the guaranty for tourists loyalty, but it is a chance for the destination to bound visitors and also generate new customers, because if travelers are satisfied with their holidays they could recommend it to others and create positive word-of-mouth. (Tasci & Gartner, 2007)

The effects of the destination image are widespread and different. Reaching from the actual decision for a destination, over satisfaction with the holiday until returning to the destination and influence others by word-of-mouth. It also gets clear that many effects are blurred, of a theoretical nature and not fully researched. But the outlined effects are tendencies how travelers could behave and act, therefore it is important to know what effects exist and how those going to influence tourists in certain situations.

3.6 The Relationship between Destination Image and Destination Brand

This chapter shall give a conclusion and correlation of the main theoretical parts of this work, chapter 2, focusing on destination branding and chapter 3, focusing on destination image. Image is a relevant factor in the development of a destination brand, because their concepts are linked to each other. Often mentioned in the literature e.g. by Baker and Cameron (2008), García et al. (2012) or Tasci & Kozak (2006) is the connection and interrelation of brands and images in terms of forming a positive cognition by the customer. Hence one of the aims in destination branding is to build a positive destination image. Considering the fact, that images are the consumer beliefs hold about a brand, brands and images are interrelated concepts. (Tasci & Kozak, 2006; Baker and Cameron, 2008; García et al., 2012)

If the image is not attractive or positive for the customer, the whole brand cannot be successful. According to Tasci and Kozak (2006, p. 314), the brand image is the key determinant of brand equity, which is "the value of a brand, based on the extent to which it has high brand loyalty, name awareness, perceived quality, strong brand associations, and other assets such as patents, trademarks, and channel relationships". So, to grow the magnitude of a destination brand, the presented image has a strong influence and must fit to the image perceived by the customer.

As outlined in chapter 2.4.3, the brand image is a critical factor for success in brand building. It influences the travel behavior and experiences significantly and therefore also the destination brand. One can philosophize what came first, brand or image, but the more important consideration is to think about an effective coalition. (Tasci & Kozak, 2006)

To show the interrelation from another point of view, Ritchie and Crouch in 2003, state the correlation of the destination image and the brand positioning on the market place. By understanding the own image, a destination can effectively position itself within the marketplace and against competitors. As stated in chapter 3.3, the image consists out of six main components: functional, holistic, unique, psychological, attribute based and common. The positioning can take place via the perception of the traveler regarding those components. Giving an example, the cities Paris in France and Vancouver in Canada are taken. Those are competing on the market against each other as livable and attractive cities. Taking the point of historical cities into consideration, then Paris competes with a city like Rome. The same for Vancouver; taking the attribute environmental quality into consideration, the city has to compete with other natural based towns like Oslo in Norway. Taking this into account, it is mandatory to know the individual image of the destination, to position the brand successful on the marketplace and know about the experiences the target group is looking for. This is the fact, because in some cases, a destination cannot compete with others. For example, a town like Mexico-City should not compete in the field of nature based city trips with cities like Oslo. (Ritchie & Crouch, 2003)

All of the mentioned points show the strong relationship and interdependence of the destination image and the destination brand. In the next chapter is the tourism industry of the chosen country Sweden presented, including the destination image presentation and communication and the destination brand strategy. Thereby, the described theories from chapter 2 and 3 are taken to connect the case of Sweden with scientific theories.

4. Current Situation of the Swedish Tourism Industry

4.1 Traveler Profile

One of the most important tasks in Destination Branding is the knowledge about the traveler and their behavior at the destination. That means to investigate the market and find a strategic orientation. Baker and Cameron (2008) point out more precise that the heterogeneity of the motives to travel is a big challenge in branding a destination. Different groups of tourists have different perceptions on their holidays. Therefore it is advantages to know what kind of people are traveling to a certain country, how they get there, where are they staying at and so on. This knowledge ensures a more precise communication with the target groups, adjust the touristic offers and secure customized holidays. (Baker & Cameron, 2008; Morgan, et al., 2010) This chapter gives a qualitative overview of the main facts about the Swedish tourism industry. The border survey from 2011, published in 2012 is taken as main source. Thereby 20,421 respondents have been interviewed about their travel behavior regarding Sweden. (IBIS, 2012)


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Destination Branding: An Analysis of the Swedish Destination Image Representation and the Perception on the German Market
University of Applied Sciences Heide
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Destination Branding, Sweden, Branding, Destination Image, Image Representation, Image Perception, Swedish tourism industry
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M.A. International Tourism Management Doreen Kupke (Author), 2013, Destination Branding: An Analysis of the Swedish Destination Image Representation and the Perception on the German Market, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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