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The Political Economy of Destination Promotion African tourism website networks Jeroen van Wijk RSM-Erasmus University Conference “Imagination,

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Presentation on theme: "The Political Economy of Destination Promotion African tourism website networks Jeroen van Wijk RSM-Erasmus University Conference “Imagination,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Political Economy of Destination Promotion African tourism website networks Jeroen van Wijk RSM-Erasmus University Conference “Imagination, Media Power and Reputation”, May 30-31st 2007, The Hague. RSM-Erasmus University and Hotelschool The

2 How can the tourism industry support economic development? Main question How can imagination, media power and reputation promote tourism destinations in developing countries and support economic development? The Political Economy of Destination Promotion

3 Global value chain analysis > Vertical (international) networks Business systems approach > Horizontal (national) networks Analysis of tourism industry actors Two theoretical approaches The Political Economy of Destination Promotion

4 Systemic approach, unit of analysis is: * not a company, a country, or a region, but * a network of companies embedded in internal and external governance systems Focus: * Who adds value where in the chain? * Who is leading actor in the chain? Normative questions: * How can chain revenues better be distributed over chain actors? * How can the chain’s negative impact on the natural system (‘earth’) be reduced? (1) Global value chain (GVC) analysis The Political Economy of Destination Promotion

5 Global value chain Retail Manufac turer Trader Supplier Consumer Supplier Coordination Brand, reputation & media “Ingredient branding” The Political Economy of Destination Promotion

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7 Global value chain Retail Manufac turer Trader Supplier Consumer Supplier Travel agency Tour operator Airline Hotel Tourist Guide Coordination Brand, reputation & media “Ingredient branding” Destination branding The Political Economy of Destination Promotion

8 Features tourism GVC Travel agency Tour operator Airline Hotel Tourist Guide Consumption and production at same time and location Chain offers B2C contact opportunity at every node Tourists may shorten and coordinate the chain the chain themselves Destinations have opportunities in branding, reputation, and media Individual service suppliers have those opportunities as well Destination branding The Political Economy of Destination Promotion

9 (2) African segmented business system Networks of: * African (indigenous) firms * Government authorities and para-statals * African minorities: Asians and Lebanese * African whites * Multinationals * Division urban/rural business The Political Economy of Destination Promotion

10 African business networks Set of social, i.e. not purely market exchange, relationships between companies (representatives) They * Share information about the transaction history of an agent * Enforce contracts informally * Interlink, they work on longer term or incomplete “contracts”. * Reproduce themselves, high barriers to entry * Often display ethnic or religious concentration, because these ties offer socialization frameworks. * May protect common interests Segmentation is reinforced by the Digital Divide The Political Economy of Destination Promotion

11 The political economy of destination promotion The African model Travel agency Tour operator Airline Hotel Chain Tourist Guide Res taurant MuseumArtistPark Local hotel The Political Economy of Destination Promotion Which are opportunities for “functional upgrading” in the GVC, both for the destination and for individual suppliers? Who decides on the destination branding? Which type of tourism is promoted? Which region? And which supplier networks? Which are the opportunities for independent marketing by small tourism firms?

12 Our research  Database of 468 tourism websites in Uganda, Rwanda, and Mozambique  Analyse network structure of website owners/registrants The Political Economy of Destination Promotion

13 Mozambique: No portals with hyperlinks; only 8 abroad (5 South Africa) Rwanda: 5 portals (4 foreign, 1 unknown) Uganda7 portals (2 foreign) Tourism portals The Political Economy of Destination Promotion

14 Website ownership UgandaRwanda N=53 N=245 Mozambique N=135 The Political Economy of Destination Promotion

15 Geographic location tourism service suppliers Hyperlinks from 6 tourism portals in Uganda The Political Economy of Destination Promotion

16 Conclusions 1. The Internet offers opportunities for functional upgrading African tourism destinations and individual firms. 2. Online destination promotion in 3 African countries is highly mediated by foreigners. 3. Rural tourism stakeholders (CBT, budget accommodation, local artisans) benefit most from foreign web owners in view of international marketing. Effective strategy to circumvent the digital divide, but limited opportunities and new dependency. 4. In Uganda, the native, urban tourism elites dominate tourism promotion, but their network excludes rural suppliers. The Political Economy of Destination Promotion


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