Citizens’ involvement is correlated to tourism development as a positive support facilitates its improvement whereas opposition can restrain it (1). Territorial marketing strategy mobilises the actors of the territory to contribute upstream (the diagnosis) to downstream (the operational implementation of policies). Therefore, analysing the elements that lead residents to join the strategy of the destination will help to expand the host community as well as the hospitality of a city.
Indeed, to define the brand identity of the place through its unique characteristics, inhabitants should be asked for their feeling and feedbacks. For instance, in the frame of the AT Brand project, the city of Cardiff has required its citizens’ ideas to create communication on its identity. On one hand, it will help the city to define its image by gathering numerous thoughts based on real life experiences of the city. On the other hand, it will assure the residents’ collaboration and they will be more likely to get along with the strategy.
When tourists visit a place they interact with the resident, thus the way locals are influence visitors perception of the destination. In addition, tourism trends highlight travellers wanted to experience the real city life. Through collaborative tourism, they could be hosted, having visits or dinner with locals: residents become tangibles elements of the destination image and so harmony is fundamental.
Furthermore, when residents are committed to the place brand image, they could be ambassadors for the destination, and eventually contribute in generating revenue from tourism. Among the numerous initiatives of place promotion involving locals, Brittany region has asked for selfies of residents showing how they are proud of their region. The initiative has succeeded, mainly on the social media, to boost the territory notoriety as well as making people closer from their living place.
Surely, there are other examples of places involving citizens. If you know some, we will be happy for you to share it in the comments.
(1) Kemp, E., Williams, K., & Bordelon, B. (2012). The impact of marketing on internal stakeholders in destination branding