This paper aims to explore how destination image can be shaped, created and crafted, from an induced-source, supply-side perspective to better cater to Arab visitors, drawing on empirical research conducted on the Gold Coast, Australia.
Two sequential stages of research were implemented. The first stage conducted an analysis of websites to compare and contrast the image of the Gold Coast projected with the image perceived by Arab visitors. The second stage conducted semi-structured interviews with professionals from two destination marketing organisations (DMOs) directly responsible for marketing the Gold Coast to Arab visitors.
Key findings indicate that the DMOs sought to portray a strong destination brand to Arab visitors, specifically around its current branding of “Gold Coast: Famous for Fun”. The Gold Coast has highly evolved strategies to target Arab visitors, including productive working relationships between DMOs and strategic partnerships with tourism organisations in the Arab world. However, analysis of websites revealed some incongruence between core attractions. Arab websites emphasise the beach more than do the Australian, state and local DMOs, and entertainment did not rate as highly as the need for beaches, shopping and accommodation.
Importantly, this research highlights the need for DMOs to clearly understand the needs of Arab visitors and integrating such information into targeted marketing campaigns aligned with the core destination brand.
The contribution of this research is in providing a more nuanced understanding of the importance of using culture as a key segmentation tool not only to help attract more tourists but to assist DMOs to understand the special needs of various cultures in the destination.
Abodeeb, J., Wilson, E. and Moyle, B. (2015), "Shaping destination image and identity: insights for Arab tourism at the Gold Coast, Australia", International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 6-21. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCTHR-06-2014-0051
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