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Destination Branding, E-Marketing, Brand Image, Tourism Marketing
The marketing of tourism destinations has become increasingly competitive. However, a tourism destination cannot be seen as a single destination-based entity competing with other destinations. Each tourism destination manager must typically integrate a network of interested stakeholders and mediate between political aims and operational realities. Websites are an increasingly important focus for competitive differentiation of tourism destinations. This research examines the effects of cultural differences on website development by comparing cultural environments typified by a prevalence of “collectivism” with those typified by “individualism”. Websites from a sample of French and English seaside tourism destinations are compared, with a focus on tourism destination brand image elements. Our approach combines two methods. First, we analyse specific communicated images. Second, interviews with officials of these cities are undertaken to compare the communicated image to the desired one. We find that cities with a similar environment communicate elements of their natural settings as well as other brand elements, but the communicated image often does not correspond to the desired brand image. Therefore we propose a model to promote the desired destination brand image.