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

Power, John and Haberlin, David and Foley, Anthony (2005) DEVELOPING THE POSITIONING OF THE IRISH RURAL TOURISM PRODUCT – THE ROLE OF IMAGE AND MARKET FOCUS. In: Tourism & Hospitality Research in Ireland: Exploring the Issues Conference, 14th - 15th June 2005, University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

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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).

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Departments or Groups: Waterford Crystal Marketing Studies Group
Divisions: School of Business > Department of Management and Organization
Depositing User: John Power
Date Deposited: 24 May 2007 13:51
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2016 10:25
URI: http://repository.wit.ie/id/eprint/472

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