In 2012-13, Myanmar, a country labeled by the US government 10 years before as ‘an outpost of tyranny’ launched a nationally coordinated tourism branding campaign for the first time in decades. The purpose: to change forever a negative destination image.
A new article fresh off the press from Simon Hudson tracks the history of destination marketing in Myanmar, and focuses on these new branding efforts. Through a theoretical lens based on image theory, the paper uses a case study approach to explore how a country such as Myanmar can alter a prolonged negative destination image. The analysis shows that although marketers in Myanmar are moving beyond a cosmetic approach to destination branding, the long-term strategies in place to improve Myanmar’s image could be called into question. The country faces many challenges, including a lack of trained human resources, and insufficient public services and infrastructure for tourism, so the journey to rebrand Myanmar as a competitive tourism destination will be a long one. Dr. Hudson will present the paper at The University of Surrey’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Conference next week. The article itself appears in the Journal of Destination Marketing & Management and is online first at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212571X16300907