Experts stress city branding
Updated: 2013-09-14 08:10
By Xu Lin and Sun Ye (China Daily)
Experts, media from home and abroad, and city tourism representatives exchanged views on city branding and marketing on Friday at the Beijing Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit of World Tourism Cities 2013.
"The marketing of a tourism city must be systematic and research-based, with long-term and short-term perspectives in its planning process," said Alastair M. Morrison, a professor at Purdue University's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
"It's important to get to the city's unique selling points. What's the core that makes the city different from other cities?"
Clemens Koltringer, marketing analyst of Strategic Destination Development, from the Vienna Tourist Board, agreed.
"As many European cities are promoting similar things, the challenge is how to stand out from others," he said.
According to Michael Sands, deputy director of International Relations and Research under the Dublin City Council, the Irish city has to compete with other nearby European cities.
He said what makes Dublin unique is its residents, who are nice, friendly and like to talk.
Another attraction is the cheap price of luxurious brands in the city. Many high-end stores hire Mandarin-speaking employees to assist Chinese customers, Sands said.
Ge Jingdong, marketing general manager of Chinese online media company Sina, said social media plays an essential role in tourism marketing. As self-guided tours are more popular, many Chinese tourists like to gather tourism information online and through others' comments.
Foreign tourism bureaus are also active on China's social networking sites to promote tourism information and attract Chinese visitors. London and Partners, the official organization to promote the city as a destination, is one of them.
"It's probably the best way to reach consumers directly. We're expanding our social media by putting more resources to it," says Julie Chappell, the organization's Director of Consumer Marketing and Digital Channels.
Some delegates said one key to successful tourism is to design a specific transportation system that fits the city.
Yangzhou, an eastern Chinese city that historically depended on water transport, has opened railways and an airport in recent years. As for inner-city transportation, there is a latticed public transport system fit with the city's layout.
"Without good transportation, there is no tourism. Without tourism, there can't be good transportation," said Dong Yuhai, vice-mayor of Yangzhou.
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Guests check out a map during the Fragrant Hills Tourism Summit for World Tourism Cities 2013 on Friday in Beijing. Kuang Linhua / China Daily
(China Daily 09/14/2013 page8)