This report discusses the role of the sharing economy in city tourism. While it’s easy to see the sharing economy as a cluster of challenges, in reality it can be a useful tool for city authorities to manage destinations effectively, connect visitors with local experiences and bring economic benefits to local people. However it also has to be regulated in a way that is fair to all stakeholders.

The more the different segments of the tourism sector realize the dynamics of the sharing economy the more we expand the scope of our work on practical aspects and implications. TOPOSOPHY has produced this free discussion paper for DMOs to help understand their role, and plan the way ahead. The paper includes:

  • Analysis of recent trends in the sharing economy, and consumer motivations for using sharing economy services
  • Discussion of how DMOs can update their regulations on sharing economy activities
  • Practical tips on building a sharing economy impact assessment, and monitoring systems
  • Step-by-step guide to making the sharing economy work in favour of the destination and local residents

Visit our new website or Click here to download the full report (free)

Smart City Branding

Cities of the future will have to be “smarter” if they want to succeed by providing better services and quality of life to its citizens. That is the reason why they will also have to manage their brands in a smart way.

The idea of ‘smart city branding’ will be covered by international academics and practitioners in the city design and city branding fields, during the ‘Smart City Branding” Forum which will take place in Barcelona on 25 &26th of September.

Among them Best Place Institute experts will present interesting cases from around the world. Juan Carlos Belloso will explain how the image of a place (city) is built and what is the right process for creating the place brand.  ‘Re-building Citizen Confidence and Identification: The case of Athens’ will be covered in the presentation of Manolis Psarros. Whereas Mihalis Kavaratzis will help to understand what are the existing city brand tools from smart city design perspective. At the end of the conference Magdalena Florek will give a lecture about “Smart Brand Communications”.

Amongst the very interesting sessions on brand building strategies, partnerships and tools, the section of Smart Citizen Engagement, will focus on how brands need to connect with the citizens for them to be successful. Citizen identification, engagement and activation are thus key for successful city brand building.

Understanding citizen characteristics, needs and aspirations are essential when defining the appropriate city brand strategy as well as involving and engaging citizens in city brand strategy and city brand building. This section will explain that today’s successful brands need to be ‘human brands’, with some examples from corporate and commercial world and its application to city brands. It will include a review of the cases of how brand Colombia and Colombian City Brands have been successfully built by engaging its citizens with the place transformation and branding process as well as the recent case of Athens on how to engage citizens in city branding and tourism promotion in difficult times.

The ‘Smart City Branding’ course is organized by by the CUIMPB (The Menéndez Pelayo International University Consortium of Barcelona – Centre Ernest Lluch), a University consortium composed of the Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP), the Barcelona Provincial Council, and the Barcelona Center for Contemporary Culture – CCCB), with the support of the Barcelona City Council.

More info and full


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Destination BrandWatch: What’s your ID?

Destinations are competing in a crowded marketplace where travellers are not particularly loyal to specific destinations and visitation decisions are affected by multiple factors. Developing a distinctive destination brand is crucial in order to clearly position the destination and differentiate themselves from competitors. The brand is not just something you promote, but the heart of what the destination is all about.

This makes it clear that successful destination brands certainly go beyond promotion, expressing and uniting stakeholders, connect with consumers emotionally bringing out the values and manage to consistently meet and exceed expectations offering quality services and experiences on the spot.

York is “Britain’s Home of Chocolate”

York has just recently announced a new marketing campaign to get known as “Britain’s Home of Chocolate” following on the strong history which was apparent in the city and its people were very passionate about.

The ancient city of York is being branded as “Britain’s Home of Chocolate” as part of a major drive to showcase its proud confectionary history which stretches back more than 100 years. Last week the launch of a new Chocolate Trail marked the start of a new marketing campaign which is set to put York on the map as the British capital of chocolate.

Spearheaded by Visit York, the “Indulge Yourself in the Home of Chocolate” will see a series of new chocolate events and festivals launched across the city which will complete the total experience along with special new attractions as well as new tourism products build around the concept.

“The city is claiming its rightful status as Home of Chocolate. Throughout its history, York has been awarded many different titles from the Romans, who chose Eboracum, meaning ‘place of the yew trees’, to the Vikings who named it Jorvik, meaning ‘horse bay’, and now we are claiming the city’s rightful association with chocolate. “For centuries, the confectionery industry has shaped the city and it continues to satisfy the nation’s undiminished appetite for one of our favourite indulgences. Now is the right time to tell York’s chocolate story to the world.” is what chief executive Gillian Cruddas said.

And there is a long story to back that claim up as well as very promising future prospects. York is the birthplace of some of the world’s biggest confectionary dynasties including Terry’s and Rowntrees, which is currently celebrating its 150th anniversary.

The industry continues to flourish in the city and 80,000 tonnes of confectionery are produced in York each year at one of the largest chocolate factories in the world, including the world’s most successful chocolate bar, Kit Kat. A surge in the number of independent chocolatiers opening in the city and a global research centre dedicated to confectionery innovation helps York to stake its claim as the ‘Home of Chocolate”.

A destination’s identity actually captures and includes all the elements of the destination values and experience to then be presented appropriately to its markets. So it is becoming apparent that especially in an era of increasing “service excellence” demand, each experience before, during and after the visit has a vital role to play in defining and delivering the promise that is inherent within the destination brand.

Nashville Claiming the “Home of Music” Title

Across the pond, Nashville has been branded as the “Music City” for a few years now, however the guitar, an iconic symbol of Nashville’s music scene mainly representing country music, is giving its place to the musical notes as the most visual icon for the city in an attempt to include all music genres represented in the city.

With the aim to change the perception of the city from a country music epicentre to a world center of music, musical notes and symbols are emerging in Nashville’s logo as city promoters seek to illustrate the variety of sounds there. The Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Grand Ole Opry and the local musicians union are in tune with the trend.

The city rolled out a “Music City” campaign about seven years ago, and the music note subsequently evolved as a favorite. Now, officials are using the notes in all branding and promotional material, while downtown, colorful blue signs have just been erected in the entertainment district signalling “Musician Loading Area.” The note also is used on some of the bureau’s branding and promotional materials and amenities sold at Nashville’s visitor center and given to visitors. The website also displays an eighth note. Even the Music City Center, Nashville’s new convention center now under construction, has music notes on signs hanging on outside fencing.

The musical element is apparent in the entire presence and content provided by NCVB as well, with updated events sections, available music lists to listen to, musical applications, radio shows information, music venues, restaurants and many more available online which actually support the brand proposition.

According to the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau “the promise of Nashville, where the music is inspired, created, recorded and performed, is to provide the ultimate musical entertainment experience, celebrated throughout our diverse cultural and entertainment offerings, and presented in an authentic, unique, friendly and unpretentious atmosphere.”

As this Washington post reveals here, the city is clearly considered the home of country music with Nashvillians still calling it the “guitar town” and also being the home of a large guitar manufacturer. The instrument has been associated with Nashville for decades as the city gained exposure across the country and even the world.

So consistent use of the representing logo, icons and messages along with targeted events and products which will showcase the diverse cultural and entertainment offerings are going to help alter the perception initially in the local community and ultimately in the target markets.


abouTourism on Territorial Reputation Management in Davos

Manolis Psarros will be in Davos this week for the 3rd World Communication Forum “Communication on Top” which takes place on 9-10 February, sharing his expertise on destination marketing and reputation management.

Manolis has been invited to join three top experts on a panel titled: Territorial Reputation Management.

Focusing on city/district positioning and communications strategies in promoting territorial reputation showcased through case studies analysis the Territorial Reputation Management panel presentations and discussion will be taking place on Friday 10 February, 09.30 a.m. at the Davos Congress Center.

Forum Davos

This year’s “Communication on Top” Forum will discuss different aspects of: privacy vs. publicity, new challenges to the PR consultancies – global vs. local , territorial reputation – the synergy between global brands, producers and country/region image, communicating scientific breakthroughinteractions in virtual economics – social media games and online trading (Second Life, Online IPO), virtual vs face-to-face communication in PR and marketing, internal communications, communications associations’ mission today…. and more.

During the “Communication on Top” Forum, Manolis will join dedicated professionals and skilled trend-makers for sharing best practices, new strategies, insights and creative ideas that will help improve the world of communications. The core of the summit is an open dialogue uniting CEOs of leading companies and communication experts from high-rank world organizations, political and state-run institutions, NGOs, research centres, media units, and Internet communities.

Global communications no longer distinguish a sharp difference amongst public, corporate, marketing, financial or political. Today’s new generation of “digital natives” have a different perception of reality, genuineness and borders and are the current and future citizens, employees, consumers, electors.

The goal is to have a global network for distributing best practices in crisis, change or reputation management, as well as useful strategies in investor relations, employee motivation, government lobbying, etc. Equally necessary is to foresee the upcoming communication trends and secure a successful method for analyzing problems, finding solutions and offering best tools to serve top managers in their decision-making or daily professional tasks and, through the exchange of ideas and opinions, help them improve their own corporate and social efficiency.

Follow abouTourism and Manolis on Twitter for latest updates from the 2012 World Communication Forum.

Mega Destinations! Place Branding for U.S., Europe & S.Africa

It seems essential-maybe now more than ever- for places, no matter their size to differentiate themselves from others and send the message that they are valued options not only as far as tourism concerned, but for people, investments, business and their economy in general. It is also important to remember that brand development is not just the creation of a logo, but a general destination-wide commitment to a long term focused strategy based on what distinguishes the destination and the brand identity, and a constant community-wide effort to effectively develop and communicate these unique products and experiences for consumers.

U.S.A Unveils First-Ever Unified Consumer Brand and Identity

The organization responsible for marketing the United States to world visitors just unveiled “Brand USA” America’s first-ever global consumer brand. Formerly known as the Corporation for Travel Promotion, but now doing business as Brand USA Inc., the group introduced its global brand positioning and strategy before an international audience of travel professionals and destinations in London.  The creation of America’s new global brand is the first critical step in the development of the nation’s first unified marketing effort. Brand USA Inc. will launch their first official advertising and marketing campaign in the spring of 2012 to invite world guests to visit America for leisure, business and scholarly purposes.

Although initially incorporated as the Corporation for Travel Promotion, the organization will now be doing business as Brand USA Inc. in an effort to more clearly align brand strategy and corporate messaging. “The United States offers a range of destinations and experiences that are unparalleled in the world market,” said Chief Executive Officer, Jim Evans.  “Now, through the creation of Brand USA, we are inviting the world’s travelers to come to visit us, and experience the limitless possibilities for themselves.”

According to Brand USA, the logo was created to be “fresh, welcoming and inclusive.” It aspires to remind the world that “the United States of Awesome Possibilities welcomes everyone.” It features a collection of dots joining together to compose the letters USA. The dots will serve as a vessel through which Brand USA can showcase diverse colors and images of people and destinations across America, emphasizing the boundless possibilities of the United States. It will not adhere to a single color scheme. The logo also displays the Brand USA’s official consumer web site.

“What is so compelling about the United States is that no one thing can explain who we are as a nation.  Each visitor and each experience helps create the fabric of American culture, and Brand USA embodies this spirit,” said Perkins.  “When we launch our global marketing and advertising campaign next year, we will be able to reach audiences around the world by showcasing the best of America and spreading the message that we welcome visitors with open arms.”

The United States first-ever nationally coordinated tourism marketing program was created by the Travel Promotion Act, federal legislation passed in March 2010.  A public-private partnership between the travel industry and the U.S. government, the Corporation for Travel Promotion – now Brand USA Inc. – was charged with increasing international visitation to the United States through marketing and promotional efforts to drive job creation and economic growth.  The organization is led by private industry with oversight from the Department of Commerce and U.S. Congress. The program is funded through a combination of private sector investment and funds collected by the Department of Homeland Security from international visitors who visit the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.  No U.S. taxpayer dollars are used to fund the program.

“Brand USA has arrived, and it is not just a tourism brand,” said Stephen J. Cloobeck, Chairman of Brand USA and Chairman and CEO of Diamond Resorts International. “It is a 21st-century global brand that will help reposition our great nation in the market for travel—and drive economic activity, including billions in new spending, tens of thousands of new outsource-proof jobs and much-needed tax revenue, to spur powerful growth throughout all corners of the United States.”


Three Cities Alliance by Cape Town, Johannesburg & Durban

Cape Town TourismJohannesburg Tourism and Durban Tourism have joined forces on the Three Cities Alliance marketing initiative after combined insights from 2010 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ reinforced the message that urban tourism and city brands are high on the agenda of most modern-day travellers.

The three organisations agree that cities are the leading brands for countries. Cities are globally recognised as the prism through which countries are viewed and are described as a country’s most durable assets. Cities have history, heritage that has stood the test of time and promising developmental futures.

Historically, messaging and marketing for South Africa has focussed on the country’s natural assets and scenic beauty, with less emphasis on South African city offerings as urban destinations. In today’s competitive world, and based on global travel trend insights, it is evident that scenic beauty and natural assets alone will not captivate and keep travellers returning to South Africa. The Three Cities Alliance hopes to see South Africa portrayed in a more holistic light, offering urban diversity of experience in combination with extraordinary beauty and natural assets.

The backbone of the joint marketing agreement consists of product and destination packaging, collaboration on events and trade shows as well as shared collateral and online campaigns. It will see collaboration on marketing and branding initiatives and knowledge exchange at an executive level.

In association with South African Tourism, an international marketing campaign is underway to attract a larger percentage of the urban tourism market. Negotiations with Discovery Channel and National Geographic have been concluded and a series of programmes have been agreed upon that will showcase the livability of the cities. In terms of domestic marketing, the three cities will collaborate to leverage local events and align our events calendars where possible, promoting each other’s events and short city break packages.

Lindiwe Kwele, CEO of Johannesburg Tourism said: “All three cities have the confidence to define themselves in the minds of our markets. Johannesburg is a frontier city and personifies urban chic, achievement and a sophisticated energy. Durban is diverse; a leading port city that exemplifies warmth and tradition. Cape Town is a city of inspiration, hope and freedom with a rich cosmopolitan culture set against the backdrop of unprecedented natural beauty.”

Phillip Sithole of eThekwini Municipality’s Business Support, Markets and Durban Tourism added: “One of the secrets of a winning destination is for cities to realize that we are brands; that we should harness our assets. Positive perception, unique identities, authentic experiences and a powerful story is the armoury of a successful city brand.  The joint marketing agreement is a formal recognition of our synergies and will go a long way to present a conducive and integrated city tourism experience for both domestic and international travellers.”

CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, concludes; “Cape Town Tourism and its partners are committed to working with Johannesburg, Durban and SA Tourism to showcase our energetic, dynamic cities – not perfect in any way – but cities in evolution that can be counted amongst the world’s cities of the future. In so doing, we believe South Africa and its urban centres can attract a much more substantial segment of the world’s urban travellers. Our three cities tell three very different and unique but compelling stories. I strongly believe that we add value to each other’s leisure and business tourism offering and I think that this will also go a long way towards providing the prospective international traveller with a seamless impression of destination South Africa. The time has come for us to use creative and innovative ways to maximise the domestic and international leisure as well as business tourism potential, for all three cities.”

Follow Your Roots: Visit Europe just announced the launch of their latest social media campaign and contest entitled, “Follow Your Roots: Visit Europe.” Hosted on’s official Facebook page, the contest invites fans to explore their European roots by sharing a family photo and description of the photo.

“Large populations of European descendants are found on nearly every continent,” says Jan Rudomina, Chairman of the European Travel Commission US Operations Group. “Our goal with this contest is to encourage our fans to explore their European heritage through photos and letters in an effort to inspire travel to Europe.”

Beginning today, fans of the Facebook page can upload their family photo and brief description (200 words or less) describing the person(s) in the photo and the significance of following his or her roots back to Europe for a chance to win a dream European vacation for two.

“Follow Your Roots: Visit Europe” is the third social media contests taking place on the European Travel Commission’s social networks over the course of the past year as part of a new digital and creative campaign to promote Europe as a tourism destination to the U.S. traveler.

Established in 1948 to promote Europe as a tourism destination, the European Travel Commission provides travelers with inspirational commentary on travel services and attractions to help vacationers plan their European journey. Today, , the ETC’s web portal along with its dynamic social networks offers travelers activities, tools and tips to help consumers organize their journey to Europe and encourages travelers to share their own experiences and read others while accessing photos, videos and social networks.


Destination BrandWatch: Airlines Teaming Up with Destinations

Tourism Australia and Singapore Airlines launch marketing campaign

An £800,000 advertising campaign to help boost tourism from the UK to Australia in the wake of flooding in Queensland and wildfires in Perth has started.

The joint Tourism Australia Singapore Airlines national ad push runs for a month on TV and online.

Each advert directs consumers to find out more at or from their travel agent.

The TV ad is a 40 second spot expected to reach 21 million of the target audience. This is supported by online spots on travel portals and social media channels.

Tourism Australia UK and Northern Europe regional general manager Rodney Harrex said: “2010 was a tough year for the travel industry yet our visitor figures out of the UK market were stable compared to 2009.

“This shows the ongoing support for Australia from British holidaymakers, who are attracted by the range of diverse experiences. This campaign will help to ensure that the demand for Australia continues through 2011 in the UK.”


Find out more:


JetBlue Airways’ “I Heart Blue York” aircraft livery for New York City

New York-based JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq: JBLU), in partnership with Empire State Development (ESD),  immortalized its hometown status with the unveiling of an Airbus A320 aircraft, aptly named “I HeartBlue York,” featuring the airline’s co-branded trademark with New York State’s iconic I LOVE NEW YORK tourism campaign and logo. The newly branded aircraft was revealed to hundreds of crewmembers at JetBlue Airways’ home base at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport by CEO Dave Barger.

Designed in collaboration with the logo’s original creator, Milton Glaser, the co-branded trademark features a deliberate intersecting of the popular I LOVE NEW YORK phrase with the famous red heart and the JetBlue logo. The logo is placed on both sides of the aircraft’s tailfin. When viewing the aircraft from its left side, the JetBlue logo appears prominently with the red heart. On the right side of the aircraft, the logo is rotated, showcasing the I LOVE NEW YORK logo more prominently.

In addition, short films to promote tourism for New York State will be shown on JetBlue’s in-flight seatback program this month. In partnership with ProMotion Pictures, New York State’s iconic tourism campaign worked with teams of students at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate School of Film to create the films. To find out more and to view the films visit

Created in 1975, the I LOVE NEW YORK logo is an icon recognized around the world. While it has often been imitated, this is the first time the powerful logo has been adapted and co-branded for joint use with another entity.

Read More:

Etihad Airways launches Essential Abu Dhabi Airbus A330-300

Etihad Airways has taken its recently launched ‘Essential Abu Dhabi’ marketing campaign to new heights, with the unveiling of special ‘Visit Abu Dhabi in 2011’ livery on an Airbus A330-300 aircraft, which is set to take the message to Etihad’s destinations around the world.

Key partners of the initiative, which aims to enhance the emirate’s position as a leading tourism and MICE (meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions) destination, including the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, and Abu Dhabi media representatives, were also on board.

The unveiling of the three-class A330-300 aircraft, which features the airline’s new Diamond First Class cabin and which will fly to London, Geneva, Frankfurt, Paris and Mumbai as part of the Essential Abu Dhabi campaign, is just the start of a number of high profile promotional activities planned in the coming months.

Peter Baumgartner said: “The unveiling of this new aircraft livery with our message to the world to come and Visit Abu Dhabi further underlines our commitment to the growth and awareness of Abu Dhabi, not only as a tourist destination but as a place to do business in a dynamic and friendly environment.

“Since we launched the Essential Abu Dhabi marketing campaign with our partners, we have seen a tremendous amount of excitement and interest from people right across the globe, as well as with local audiences.”

The initiative, which for the first time brings together all of Abu Dhabi’s major tourism operators, is designed to promote the very best the UAE’s capital has to offer through a wide range of deals in its hotels, dining outlets, shops, adventure parks, cultural attractions and sports facilities.

The website provides dedicated pages for hotels, restaurants, Yas Island, entertainment, shopping, arts and culture, adventures and golf, while an ‘Essential Abu Dhabi’ on-board brochure is available for passengers to pick and choose from.

“We wanted to provide a convenient ‘one stop shop’ that will serve as both a directory for the city whilst providing exclusive offers on a range of products and services for our visitors.”

Destination BrandWatch (ASIA): New Tourism Campaigns from Taiwan, Vietnam & Cambodia

Taiwan Tourism Board Launches New Tourism Brand

The Minister of Transportation and Communications said the new campaign could help the nation develop its tourism sector and reach 10 million visitors

The Tourism Bureau of Taiwan has launched its new global campaign slogan — “Taiwan — The Heart of Asia” — as well as a new theme song, setting the tone for tourism campaign strategies in the years to come. The bureau had been using “Taiwan, Touch Your Heart” as its global campaign motto since 2000.

Aside from the slogan, the new campaign also features a heart containing some of the crucial elements of Taiwan, including food, culture, festive events and biodiversity.

All of the bureau’s campaign materials published in the future will feature the new campaign logos, the bureau said.

Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said the nation reached a major milestone last year by having more than 5 million tourists visit the nation.

“Considering the exponential growth, I believe that the introduction of the new tourism campaign slogan could lead us toward the 10-million mark within three to five years,” he said.

“When you have only 2 million tourists, you are a peripheral market. But when you have 10 million, you become a core market,” he said, adding that the new logo not only shows the nation’s determination, but also its faith in reaching the goal of having 10 million tourists come to visit.

“The international tourists we are talking about here are not those crossing the borders and buying a bottle of water at a 7-Eleven store, like those in Hong Kong or Singapore,” he added. “We are talking about a solid number of people who come to travel in Taiwan.”

Tourism Bureau Director–General Janice Lai (賴瑟珍) said the bureau spent about two years developing the new logo.

“Over the past 10 years, many have been impressed by the old logo,” Lai said. “But we felt the need to find a new brand as we are repositioning ourselves in the market.”

Lai said the bureau first -gathered opinions from government representatives, academics and the tourism industry. It then entrusted a UK-based branding firm Winkreative with the task of executing the actual design work.

To create a sense of continuity, Lai said the new logo keeps the concept of a human heart, which should be where everything begins.


Vietnam Introduces New Tourism Brand

With increasing profits from tourism, Vietnam decides to seize the opportunity to maximize its potential. At the beginning of February, the country introduced its new logo “Vietnam, a Different Orient”.

For several years, Vietnam has been gradually increasing in popularity and with its booming economy, growing middle class and constantly improving standard of services, its profile as a bright new Asian destination has brought its rewards. The current logo “Vietnam – the hidden charm” may have done  its best and right now, local authorities were looking for a striking rebrand which would open up the window of opportunity as wide as ever.

Vietnam has become an unusually appealing destination and tourism numbers are on a constant increase. What local tourism officials need right now, is to secure a steady growth and perhaps appeal to a more diverse traveler base. As local middle class grows in power and wealth, it is likely the domestic tourism branch will grow in power, too. However, major focus of Vietnamese Tourist Administration remains on raising the number of foreign visits to Vietnam by 10 – 15% before 2015, luring some 12 million.

The International Air Transport Association estimates by 2014, Vietnam will be in the top three fastest growing markets in terms of international passengers. The increase in domestic passengers is likely to be even more significant. Simply said, the future outlooks are very positive, indeed.

Many Asian countries have made tourism their priority and it comes as no surprise Vietnam joins in with a new campaign and logo. Especially recent weeks have been fantastic for local tourism as the country welcomed thousands of visitors who wished to experience the Lunar New Year festival. However, Vietnam is only at the beginning of its four–year campaign to get a firm grip of the Asian Tourism market.


Adore Cambodia! Tourism Campaign Launched in the Heart of the Kingdom of Wonders

A thriving tourism community aims to attract thousands of gay and lesbian travelers to Siem Reap, Cambodia, home to more than 40 gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses, in 2011-2012.

Cambodian tourism businesses have launched a colorful, global campaign, Adore Cambodia!, to let GLBT travelers know they are especially welcome in the Kingdom of Wonders.

With the spread of ultra-cheap flights from regional hubs like Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, gay and lesbian tourists have discovered a quiet haven of tolerance, culture and world heritage that is actively reaching out to the economically powerful GLBT niche travel market.

“Siem Reap is remarkable because major players in the hospitality and service industries are comfortable extending a genuine welcome specifically to GLBT visitors,” explains John Goss, director of which lists more than 70 gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses around Cambodia. “These include Travel and Leisure’s #1 hotel in Cambodia, dozens of gay-run boutique accommodations, trend-setting restaurants, and fashion and design innovators that are part of a hip, emerging contemporary arts movement dubbed Cambodia Cool.”

Siem Reap also boasts Cambodia’s first men-only leisure complex combining an uber-stylish hotel, spa, and gym designed by one of the country’s leading architects. The New York Times even stood up and took notice recently, proclaiming Siem Reap to be a “gay haven” in 2010.

“Mutual respect between people is deeply a part of Khmer culture. Gays and lesbians are included as long as cultural traditions are respected,” explains openly gay business owner, Sopheara. “More and more Cambodians, in all strata of society, are living an open gay life. But you won’t find provocative displays of sexuality here, as you might in some other countries. Cambodia is refreshingly free and easy for gays wanting to blend in with our live-and-let-live lifestyle.”

The Adore Cambodia! logo design is based on the Cambodian national flower, the Rumbdul, depicted in the six colors of the internationally recognized “gay rainbow.”

For more information:


Destination BrandWatch: Digital Campaigns from Tourism Australia, Canada & VisitBritain

Tourism Australia teams up with YouTube to promote Australia

Tourism Australia has teamed up with Google and YouTube in an innovative new digital marketing campaign, which will showcase many of Australia’s most iconic visitor attractions to an international online audience of millions.

Making Tracks will see four international musicians from the US (two), the UK and Taiwan, who have recently been selected to take part in YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011, flown to Australia where they will each team up with one of Australia’s most promising musicians and take part in their very own journey Down Under.

The journeys, and the musical compilations which come out of them, will be filmed and later broadcast on YouTube and via Tourism Australia’s digital and social media channels.  Between them, the musical pairings will travel to every State and Territory and participate in a range of Australian experiences, including surfing at Bondi beach, a scenic flight over Uluru, an ocean walk on Kangaroo Island, a helicopter flight over the Twelve Apostles, journeying across the Western Wilderness in Tasmania, hot air ballooning over Canberra and a visit to the Sunshine Coast.

The campaign is the latest push in Tourism Australia’s highly successful digital strategy, highlights of which include a YouTube-branded channel and the recent There’s nothing like Australia marketing campaign, which has encouraged thousands of people around the world to share their favourite Australian experience.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy believes that the creative collaboration with YouTube will enable Tourism Australia to reach new markets by focusing on music and the arts.

“Making Tracks is Australia’s own magical musical mystery tour and will open up some of Australia’s most iconic destinations and experiences to a huge, global online audience. I’m sure the experience will prove inspiring to all the musicians taking part. What better way to showcase Australia’s music, arts and culture than through these unique and highly personalised musical road trips through our great country.”



Canada Tourist Board uses QR barcodes for Facebook campaign

The Canadian Tourism Commission is adding QR barcodes to their current advertising to promote a Facebook social media campaign.

The barcodes will give smartphone users a convenient link from CTC ads direct to the board’s website. QR barcodes allow people to use their camera and an app to read the code and the programme takes them to the CTC homepage.

This is not the first advertisement to use QR barcodes, it has already been adopted by brands like Calvin Klein. The Canadian Tourism Commission will be using the QR codes to help promote a social media competition on their Facebook page.

“We are excited about the opportunity to spread the Canada message wider than ever before since our re-organisation, and we certainly hope that all of us who have a vested interest in Canada’s tourism growth will benefit from this investment,” said Rupert Peters, managing director of Canadian Tourism Commission, London office.


VisitBritain Develop Inspirational TV Channel in Time for Royal Wedding and 2012 Olympic Games

VisitBritain, the national tourism agency has formed an innovative partnership with Geocast TV to develop, host and manage its new media site: VisitBritain TV.

Geocast TV is a specialist production company working with a range of digital media including film. Its brief is to develop a video and streaming media website which promotes British people and events, enabling the millions of overseas tourists who come to Britain to get the most out of their visit.

Justin Reid, Head of Digital and Social Media at VisitBritain said, “The Royal Wedding this year and the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 will provide unprecedented media exposure all around the world. We want to ensure we cater for the information needs and interests of both new visitors who are inspired to come to Britain for the first time and people who know us well and want to get under our skin more.

“As millions of people research ideas for holidays and days out online, we’ll be bringing them an enhanced media experience featuring news from around the country, live events, travel reports and feature programmes.”

Richard Day, Director, Geocast TV said, “We are delighted to be working with VisitBritain at this extremely exciting time. VisitBritain TV showcases Britain at its best, featuring events and programmes that will inspire people to explore more of the country. Our experienced production team will be delivering high quality programming for the site every week, enabling people to anticipate and plan their leisure itineraries.” Have a look at VisitBritainTV yourself now-


Destination BrandWatch: N.Zealand Brand Evolution & New Marketing Campaigns from S.Africa, Abu Dhabi & Korea

Continuous Brand Evolution from Tourism New Zealand unveiling ‘New Zealand 100% Pure You’

The campaign launched in Australia on 9 January with three television commercials and digital content carrying a ‘New Zealand 100% Pure You’ tagline.

Tourism New Zealand CEO Kevin Bowler said the campaign was an evolution of ‘100% Pure New Zealand’. It was a strategic response to research conducted in 2010 that found that personalising New Zealand’s marketing message and placing a greater emphasis on experiences would help increase visitor numbers.

The move has been well received by many in the industry, including the Tourism Industry Association (TIA), Tourism Holdings Limited and Destination Queenstown.

TIA Chief Executive Tim Cossar said the New Zealand 100% Pure You campaign positioned New Zealand as a modern destination with activities to suit a variety of visitor types. It recognised that New Zealand had more to offer than scenery and adventure activities, he said.

“The 100% Pure campaign has continued to evolve since it was introduced over a decade ago. The industry still feels strongly that the 100% branding remains a big asset and this new activity will take it in a new and interesting direction.

“Nothing stays the same and the last few years have illustrated that clearly to our industry. As a country our campaign activity must remain fresh and relevant while ensuring that the unique attributes and culture of New Zealand are well positioned in international customers’ minds.This new activity well help that happen and extend the reach of the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign.”

“As always, the industry will be looking at how the new activity delivers customers into their businesses. This is always the most important signal of success.”   Source:

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