Destination branding analytical study applied to Sultanate of Oman as a tourism destination

Mansour, F 2018, Destination branding analytical study applied to Sultanate of Oman as a tourism destination , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

The aim of this study is to develop a model for tourism destination branding using Oman as a case study by examining the Omani context and its characteristics from the perspective of both potential tourists (the demand side) and the Omani tourism providers (the supply side) while taking into consideration the impact of cross-cultural communication. Although several studies have recognised the importance of both sides of the market for effective destination branding, there is still a gap in knowledge in terms of providing a holistic model which could satisfy the brand expectations of destination personnel and tourists.

A mixed methods approach was applied to analysing the destination brand components of the Sultanate of Oman. The study adopted a quantitative questionnaire as a tool to identify the perceptions and attitudes of potential international tourists towards Oman. This was done because a large number of responses from potential tourists was required in order to identify differences in perceptions of potential tourists towards Oman’s destination image. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect supply-side data, to explore the attributes involved in the projected image of Oman in developing its brand. In this way, government officials (managers and senior staff), tour operators and tourist guides were consulted.

The findings of these people show a positive relationship between word of mouth and brand image. Word of mouth and other sources such as social media represent the most significant information sources used by actual visitors. Education level influences the demand-side responses, particularly among those who have visited before. However, Oman also has a significant positive image in terms of safety and atmosphere, which should be incorporated into the brand. The Oman logo was also an issue because it has little meaning for non-Arab tourists; therefore, a clear understanding of the logo is a very important aspect of branding.

The findings also showed that limited strategy, cooperation and coordination among Omani planners and marketers have had an impact on branding and gaps between the supply and demand sides were identified as a result of limited promotion of the country’s brand identity.

The model presented as a result of this study includes both supply- and demand-sides. The supply-side includes coordination and cooperation between supply-side members; it also defines the brand identity attributes offered by providers and highlights the importance of understanding other aspects of destination branding such as brand naming, memorable logo elements and structure design, and highlighted the importance of brand position.

On the other hand, the demand side includes brand image and awareness. It considers variable influences on the image brand such as tourists’ level of satisfaction, experience, word of mouth, and education. The study highlights the importance of communication marketing and identifies concerns such as customer feedback and noise; noise is distributed everywhere in the model, because it occurs in the brand message. The model will help Omani tourism marketers to develop their brand and understand the process of developing destination branding. Also, it can be applied to other destinations which need to develop their own tourism brand.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Maccarrone-Eaglen, A (Supervisor) and Reeves, P (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > Salford Business School
Depositing User: Fatma Mansour
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2018 12:34
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2018 12:39
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/49238

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