29 November 2012

We did it (URSI Conference) - Place Branding and Strategic Planning

Place Branding and Strategic Spatial Planning: Towards a conceptual model to brand regions

Eduardo Henrique da Silva Oliveira
Eduardo is a Ph.D. researcher at the Department of Spatial Planning & Environment, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. He was born in Braga, Portugal, and studied Geography and Planning at the University of Minho, Portugal. Then, he completed a post-degree in Tourism and Regional Development at the Portuguese Catholic University and he currently holds a M.Sc. in Marketing and Strategic Management from the School of Economics and Management, University of Minho and University Sains Malaysia. His work focuses on the theory and practice of place branding in strategic spatial planning.

Place branding aims to make a country, a region, or a city stand out in the complex and changing marketplace, enhance the place reputation and contribute to the development. A place branding strategy asserts the place’s uniqueness and factors of differentiation. This assertion of uniqueness often emphasises the historical, social, human, and cultural assets of the place. These assets are fundamental for place development and competitiveness and could integrate a wide strategy for places, such as regions. Therefore, place branding, as strategic spatial planning instrument, will contribute to improve places and act as an active force in enabling strategic change (e.g. image re-orientation; define a new position).
The scope of the present research is to explore a possible place branding strategy for regions, such as the Northern part of Portugal by linking place branding and strategic spatial planning. The argument is that place branding, as a strategic planning instrument, could contribute to a radical change, for example in their economic and social structure, manage the regional complexity and uncertainty, and reshape the response to contemporary challenges (e.g. financial and economic crisis, unemployment).
The novelty of this research lies in the theoretical approach that positions place branding as strategic spatial planning instrument and intends to contribute to the literature by discussing ‘why’ and ‘how’ place branding can be used as a tool to support strategic change in the direction of regions. Moreover, the lack of conceptual explanations of the links between place branding and strategic planning create further research opportunities.

North of Portugal, Place branding, Strategic spatial planning

Urban and Regional Studies Institute Conference
Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen
29th of November 2012


22 November 2012

Reblogged - Qatar: All that glitters… by Samantha J. Manniex

Qatar: All that glitters…

Shiny towers stand next to on-going construction work: Doha Corniche
(Photo: Author’s own)
By Samantha J. Manniex
Ten years ago, how many average people in the Western world had any reason to think about Qatar? How many people had even heard of it?
Fast forward to 2012, and Qatar has become the country everyone’s talking about. And usually for the right reasons, thanks to the determined image building and reputation management strategy implemented by the country’s leader.
Qatar has been getting richer since its independence from Britain in 1971, when it began to fully exploit its enormous reserves of oil and natural gas. After ousting his father from the throne in 1995, the current Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has put this tiny country firmly on the map.
As discussed in detail by Kenneth Wardrop in his recent article for Place Management & Branding, Qatar’s nation branding efforts have been extravagant, as befits a country with unlimited wealth. As Mr. Wardrop pointed out, Qatar showcases a unique and fascinating ‘if money were no object’ nation branding exercise. Qatar is ambitious, and its efforts range from mega construction projects such as the New Doha International Airport and super-luxury dwelling complex the Pearl, to hosting major international events such as the World Petroleum Congress, Asian Games, and bidding for the 2020 Olympics. This month, Qatar will host its biggest international event yet – COP18, the United Nations conference on climate change. But Qatar’s biggest achievement so far has been winning the right to host the football World Cup in 2022 – the first ever Middle Eastern country to do so.

Read more http://blog.inpolis.com/2012/11/22/qatar-all-that-glitters/

12 November 2012

Reblogged - Tourism in Berlin – Opportunities and Challanges for the City

Tourism in Berlin – Opportunities and Challanges for the City


Tourism in Berlin – Opportunities and Challanges for the City

by Ares
by Ares Kalandides
On Saturday 10th November 2012, several Berlin groups of the German Green party organized a one-day conference to talk about tourism and its consequences for Berlin. The context is important: in 2011, before the Berlin elections, there had been several very controversial public discussions on tourism, which were covered by the media (1)(2)(3) and led to a substantial polarization of the discussion. I did not manage to stay for the whole conference, but I was on the initial panel and would like to repeat here what I said:

9 November 2012

Best in Travel 2013 - Top 10 regions

Best in Travel 2013 - Top 10 regions

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/themes/best-in-travel-2013/top-10-regions/?intaffil=lpemail#ixzz2BiKhSQDG

Best in Travel 2013 - Top 10 regions

1. Corsica, France

Melting pot of Med to host Tour
Best for: Activities, events, food
Mixing the cultures of Italy and France yet fiercely Corsican, the French Mediterranean island of Corsica has a furious beauty. It is this epic beauty combined with its challenging topography that make it a spectacular choice to host the historic centenary of the initial stages of the Tour de France. Race organisers wanted the hundredth Tour to start in an enchanting location, and decided Corsica was the place; this will be the first time the race has braved its challenges.

2. The Negev, Israel

Desert in throes of transformation
Best for: Adventure, activities, off the beaten track
For decades the Negev was regarded as nothing but a desolate desert. But today, this region is a giant greenhouse of development. Think eco-villages, spa resorts and even wineries. In the next few years a new international airport at Timna is scheduled to open, followed by a high-speed railway to Eilat and more hotels. Time is running out to experience the desert as nature intended.

3. Mustang, Nepal

Last chance to see 'forbidden kingdom'
Best for: Activities, off the beaten track, culture
The completion of a road connecting Mustang to China in the north and the rest of Nepal to the south will make all the difference to this remote region. Lo Manthang, or Mustang as it’s usually called, has been dubbed ‘little Tibet’ or ‘the last forbidden kingdom’; though politically part of Nepal, in language, culture, climate and geography, it’s Tibet. Until 1992 nobody from outside was allowed in; for a while after that it was opened up to a few hundred a year, and these days anyone can enter, though the pricey trekking permit keeps the numbers down. Expect that to change.

4. The Yukon, Canada

Putting the 'wild' in wilderness
Best for: Activities, adventure, off the beaten track
This vast and thinly populated wilderness has a grandeur and beauty that can only be properly appreciated in person. But while few places in the world today are so unchanged over the course of time, change has started coming fast to the Yukon. In 2013 it is still one of the least densely populated regions on the planet (there’s almost 14.2 sq km/5.5 sq miles for each hardy local) but its tremendous mineral wealth is drawing new residents in a reprise of the fabled Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. Climate change means that parts of the far north are actually dissolving into the Arctic Ocean and the glacier-clad parks are undergoing profound change.

5. Chachapoyas & Kuelap, Peru

Hidden gem of the Andes
Best for: Adventure, culture, off the beaten track

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/themes/best-in-travel-2013/top-10-regions/?intaffil=lpemail#ixzz2BiL7WUvO

8 November 2012

Where to Go This Winter | Travel News from Fodor's Travel Guides

Where to Go This Winter | Travel News from Fodor's Travel Guides

Winter getaways are often divided into two camps: hitting the slopes or sun worshipping. And while we're big fans of both vacation styles, there are plenty of other getaways that are perfect for the winter months. Here, some clever escapes from winter doldrums—think a soul-searching trip to Sedona and a city break in Lisbon, one of Europe's best under-the-radar gems.


Why Go Now: Escape dreary winter days with a sun-drenched getaway to South America's premier wine region, which further beckons with affordable rates on hotels and restaurants and as much world-renowned Malbec as you can throw back. Mendoza City draws urbanites with an easily navigable geography and impressive culinary scene. The vineyard-rich countryside is as much an appeal for outdoor-lovers as it is oenophiles, with mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding against the dramatic backdrop of the Andes Mountains.
Where to Stay: The 11-room Bohemia Hotel Boutique in Mendoza Cityoffers superb value, with artsy décor, and free WiFi and breakfast included, from about $110 a night. For an indulgent splurge in the heart of wine country, Cavas Wine Lodge is the place, with 14 white-adobe cottages that feature private plunge pools and outdoor fireplaces.
Where to Eat: A mix of gourmet grocery store, upscale-homey restaurant, and beautiful wine cellar bursting with selections, Azafran is a Mendoza mainstay and a must-do for at least one dinner. Take advantage of the on-site wine concierge, who will graciously help you plan your meal—think local favorites like sweetbread and mushroom empanadas and petit filet in an airy blue cheese and phyllo crust—around your wine.
Insider Tip: Argentines are notoriously nocturnal, though not quite as much in areas beyond Buenos Aires. Still, don't head to dinner before 8 pm, unless you don't mind being the only ones in the place.


Why Go Now: The geography of Portugal's capital—nestled on the far west coast of the Iberian Peninsula—provides a bit of respite from the well-worn paths of Europe's tourist circuit. And that's not a bad thing, especially for travelers who visit in the offseason, as they can discover the charms of this grand old city, from friendly locals and antique trams rumbling through quaint neighborhoods to lively cafes and bars pulsing with local music called fado, with blessedly minimal tourist crowds.
Where to Stay: Opened in 2009, the Internacional Design Hotel offers a fresh, fun home-away-from home, if home resembles a funky design showroom, that is, in the bustling Baixa neighborhood. The stark-white façade and décor is punctuated with vibrant bursts of color; some rooms feature balconies that open onto Rossio Square for excellent people-watching.
Where to Eat: A newish addition to the city's culinary scene is Pedro e Lobo, an upscale, modern bar and restaurant that serves creative takes on traditional Portuguese fare—opt for the tasting menu for the full appreciation of the chefs' talents. An English-speaking staff makes for a pleasant experience for travelers with minimal (or nonexistent) Portuguese. For an authentic meal minus any trace of fusion, head toCafe de Sao Bento, one of the city's oldest steak restaurants. It's everything a good steakhouse should be: a bit dark, a bit dated, and they do meats just right; the specialty here is the famous Lisbon steak, served with egg.
Insider Tip: Lisbon is spread out over seven hills—great for dramatic photos, but not so great for uncomfortable shoes. This is not the city for stilettos, ladies. Opt for cute and comfy flats with, frankly, some traction.

President Obama

Nothing special about the world: President Obama:
Sophia wrote to President Obama President Obama replied

7 November 2012

Destination Branding & Marketing IV


World-leading research centre for all things tourism; specialisms 
Welsh Centre for Tourism Research,
Cardiff School of Management,
Visit us at: www.uwic.ac.uk/wctr

1 November 2012

English where she is spoke

Language skills

English where she is spoke

Oct 24th 2012, 14:27 by R.L.G. | NEW YORK
LAST YEAR we looked at the first-ever global survey of English-language skills by EF Education First, a teaching company. This year, EF has produced its second study of the same subject. It's worth revisiting for the changes between last year and this one. 
First, I'll repeat my caveat from last year: "This was not a statistically controlled study: the subjects took a free test online and of their own accord.  They were by definition connected to the internet and interested in testing their English; they will also be younger and more urban than the population at large. But Philip Hult, the boss of EF, says that his sample shows results similar to a more scientifically controlled but smaller study by the British Council."
The test will obviously not reach poor and rural folk who lack internet access.  So if a country has an urban elite who are good with English, and a lot of rural poor people who cannot take the test, its score might be relatively inflated. In another country where nearly everyone is online but English skills are mediocre, the scores might be relatively depressed. 
Despite that, the index has value. It is based on the test results of a huge sample: 1.7m people over three years in more than 50 countries. For the first time this year, gender, age, industry and job-level are broken out for those who want to get further into the data. (Spoiler alert: women do better than men, and the 30-35 set does best in terms of age. Those working in tourism do better than those working in mining and energy.)  Fascinating individual country reports, including regional maps, are here. We learn, for example, that Moscow compares with Austria in its English skill, while Russia's Urals region compares with Qatar or Mexico. 
Last year, the biggest surprise to me was that China and India were ranked alongside each other, despite India's much better reputation for English skill. That has changed this year, owing to a methodological tweak. India is now well ahead. Michael Lu of EF explains in an e-mail:
The 1st EF EPI report was based on four tests and in the 2nd report, we removed one of the four tests that didn’t fully test listening skills (it was optional).   This change was made to ensure the EPI gets more accurate over time. Countries that are better at vocabulary/grammar/reading and weaker at listening had their rankings slightly inflated in the 1st report, as was the case with China. Conversely, countries such as India which are better at listening moved up in rankings.
In addition, he notes that 12 countries were added to the survey, and that the scores are very close to each other. For that reason, countries may seem to have moved quickly up or down the rankings despite no great real-world change in their English skills in the year.  Many of the newly added countries ranked ahead of Brazil, for example, and that plus a slight score change caused Brazil to fall 15 places in the rankings. The index, Mr Lu says, should get more accurate over time as data continue to come in and the methodology is refined.
Clarification: This post originally referred to the company that undertook the study as "EF Englishtown". EF Englishtown is one divison of EF Education First, the parent company responsible for the survey.

According to the New York Times

According to the New York Times, the job market wants YOU :)!

University of Groningen ranked 81 in NY Times Top 100 when it comes to employability of graduates. 


Journal of Vacation Marketing Online Table of Contents Alert

Journal of Vacation Marketing Online Table of Contents Alert
A new issue of Journal of Vacation Marketing is available online:
October 2012; Vol. 18, No. 4 
The below Table of Contents is available online at: http://jvm.sagepub.com/content/vol18/issue4/?etoc

Validation of cognitive image dimensions for rural tourist destinations: A contribution to the management of rural tourist destinations
Ana Isabel Polo Peña, Dolores María Frías Jamilena, and Miguel Ángel Rodríguez Molina
Journal of Vacation Marketing 2012;18 261-273

An advanced framework for food trail performance
Allison Anderson and Lisa Law
Journal of Vacation Marketing 2012;18 275-286

Recognising new market opportunities and selecting appropriate segments: Targeting Chinese outbound tourists
Bruce Prideaux, Jenny Cave, Michelle Thompson, and Jonathan Sibtain
Journal of Vacation Marketing 2012;18 287-299

Connecting Oenological and gastronomical tourisms at the Wine Roads, Veneto, Italy, for the promotion and development of agrotourism
Evgenia Bitsani and Androniki Kavoura
Journal of Vacation Marketing 2012;18 301-312

Examining the guest experience in themed amusement parks: Preliminary evidence from China
Ady Milman, Xu Li, Youcheng Wang, and Qiuyang Yu
Journal of Vacation Marketing 2012;18 313-325

Tourist destination brand equity and internal stakeholders: An empirical research
Andrea Sartori, Cristina Mottironi, and Magda Antonioli Corigliano
Journal of Vacation Marketing 2012;18 327-340

Attracting divergent segments to a destination:: Assessing segment compatibility by activities sought—a case study of Macao
Siu-Ian (A) So, Leonardo AN Dioko, and Hoc N Fong
Journal of Vacation Marketing 2012;18 341-357

Special issue in European Planning Studies Spatial planning and place branding: rethinking relations and synergies

Introduction:  Kristof Van Assche, Raoul Beunen and Eduardo Oliveira  Rethinking planning-branding relations: an introduction . https:...