Kauppatieteellinen tiedekunta, 2014
Master's Degree Programme in International Business
Cultural tourism has become one of the fastest-growing segments in the tourism industry. At the same time competition in the tourism industry is increasing, as the growing number of destinations wants to benefit from tourism. Destination branding has become increasingly important in distinguishing a destination from its competitors. Even though the interest towards the cultural tourism and destination branding is growing, research lacks of studies combining these topics. Therefore the purpose of this thesis is to combine international branding and destination branding strategies and find ways to brand Finnish cultural destinations internationally. Furthermore, the affecting factors of the international branding strategy are studied. Based on the theory, the framework on international branding strategy for cultural destinations and affecting factors of the brand strategy is developed.
The data for empirical analysis was conducted through a qualitative cross-case study with interviewing the executive directors and marketing managers of seven cultural festival organizations in Finland. The case organizations were part of an export project “It’s All About Passion” organized by Finland Festivals. The data was collected in spring 2012. The empirical findings show the theoretical framework is appropriate for international branding of cultural destinations. Moreover, the affecting factors of branding strategy are discovered. The international branding strategy is affected by many factors negatively and positively. However, it can be suggested the international branding strategy is influenced greatly by resources, marketing channels and network relations.
International branding, destination branding, cultural tourism, branding of cultural destination