DEVELOPING THE POSITIONING OF THE IRISH RURAL TOURISM PRODUCT – THE ROLE OF IMAGE AND MARKET FOCUS

John Power, David Haberlin, Anthony Foley

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

    Abstract

    While the Irish tourism industry has experienced rapid growth in recent years, the demand for rural tourism has effectively declined. Therefore, it is an opportune time to examine how the positioning of the Irish rural tourism experience can be improved. To achieve this improvement means examining the role of image in supporting the positioning strategy. We do know that image is valuable in understanding the destination selection process of tourists (Baloglu and McCleary 1999). This is of itself complex, as image is composed of not simply the image of the destination, as projected by the Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO), but also the image of the service provider – and not least, the self-image of the visitor. Tourists who perceive little difference between a destination’s image and their actual or ideal self-image are more satisfied with the destination (Chon, 1992). Ideally, there should be congruence between the image of the destination, the image of the service provider and the self-image of the visitor. The key question then arises – how do we determine what this image is? This paper proposes that market orientation, with its emphasis on the generation and dissemination of market intelligence (Kohli and Jaworski 1990) facilitates an understanding of visitor self-image, and contributes to achieving congruence between this self-image, and the image projected by the DMOs and the service provider. A conceptual model and a number of propositions are presented which link image and market orientation to the positioning of the rural destination. The focus in this paper on understanding the complexity of image at visitor, service provider and destination level will also address the lack of research examining the role of different stakeholders in the development of destination brands (Hankinson, 2004).
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2005
    EventTourism & Hospitality Research in Ireland: Exploring the Issues Conference - University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland, University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland
    Duration: 01 Jan 2005 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceTourism & Hospitality Research in Ireland: Exploring the Issues Conference
    CityUniversity of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland
    Period01/01/2005 → …

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