Re-branding of Zimbabwe to enhance sustainable tourism development : panacea or villain

08 Jul 2014

The main purpose of this study was to explore the concept of “re-branding a destination” as a key element to enhance sustainable tourism development. The study sought to measure the destination’s attributes that determine sustainable tourism development vis-a-vis the perceived tourists’ image. The study concludes that the concept of re-branding a destination is vital in destination marketing. Cognizant of the strategic role of destination re-branding, the study notes that there are a number of non-tourism factors which are still prevailing, such as political, social and environmental issues, which can significantly impact negatively on brand equity and the overall destination’s competitiveness. Furthermore, the study observes that the concept of re-branding a destination may become more of rhetoric than practice if authorities fail to embrace the holistic nature of destination branding. Whilst there has been stability on the economic front, there are contradictory political undertones which have a strong bearing on sustainable tourism development. As such, the bad image generated by such negative publicity has the potential to derail the re-branding process thereby rendering it ineffective. The study concludes that for sustainable tourism development to be realized, the destination needs to deal with some of the political hot spots of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which have the potential to tarnish the image of a destination. The study recommends an integrated sustainable tourism development agenda, since re-branding alone may be unsustainable. It also needs to be nurtured and supported by all stakeholders. The study recommends urgent address of political, social and environmental issues. Finally, the study recommends a structured tourism growth strategy and a conducive environment for sustainable tourism development.