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Towards a Competitive Destination Brand in a Mass Market

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This study examined the attribute-based image of China's Heilongjiang Province as perceived by international tourists, and assessed the viability of the destination's brand statement, "Heilongjiang: Cool Province of China." The correspondence analysis revealed that in the minds of international tourists, Heilongjiang was uniquely associated with the image of "snow and ice" and "border sightseeing." No other competing destinations were as distinctively identified with these two attributes. However, when the trip purpose was introduced into the analysis, it was found that the strength of the association of the destination with these two attributes differed between the business and leisure segments. The business segment perceived the attribute of "nature scenery" as the most distinctive of the destination, followed by the attribute of "people and culture." The findings suggested that while the destination's brand statement was in line with the perceptions of its international market in general, the perceptual differences between the business and leisure segments warranted prioritization of communication strategies specific to each segment. The findings were discussed in the context of building a competitive destination brands versus marketing China as a homogenous destination. Given the mass tourism nature of China's market, a local branding approach was recommended, especially for those destinations that are on the margins and traditionally left out of popular sightseeing routes.
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Keywords: CHINA; COMPETITIVE BRAND; DESTINATION IMAGE; MARKET SEGMENTS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-12-01

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  • The aim of Tourism Analysis is to promote a forum for practitioners and academicians in the fields of Leisure, Recreation, Tourism, and Hospitality (LRTH). As a interdisciplinary journal, it is an appropriate outlet for articles, research notes, and computer software packages designed to be of interest, concern, and of applied value to its audience of professionals, scholars, and students of LRTH programs the world over.
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