The branding of Finland as a destination to Chinese tourists
1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, Management
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Currently, more and more Chinese tourists choose to have outbound tourism as a way to relax themselves from daily stressful work. The purchasing power of Chinese tourists is noticeable, so that they strongly boost local economy and promote the development of tourism industry. Consequently, an increasingly number of countries realize the great potential of Chinese tourists and take measures to attract Chinese tourists. Finnish government also make great efforts to attract more Chinese tourists, such as setting up more visa centers in China and strengthening the marketing of Finland from tourism perspective by launching many campaigns. Accordingly, this thesis is aimed to contribute to the branding of Finland as a destination to attract more Chinese tourists. The thesis has a very solid theoretical background. It is supported by numerous previous academic achievements and main schools of thoughts in its field, featured by relational network destination branding model, image forming agents’ theory, framework of destination competitiveness. Many related concepts have been mentioned under the three main ideas, structured by destination branding, destination image, destination competitiveness. From this perspective, the thesis exhibits the comprehensive understanding of past literatures and paves the way to the empirical study. The study applies to in-depth interviews to collect data. The interviewee can be classified as two groups. One is from the actual tourists, the other is from practitioners who work in Finnish tourism bureau and are responsible with marketing Finland as the destination. The common findings are expected to generate in the aspect of Chinese tourists and Finland as a destination. Since this thesis is abductive by nature, a new model of destination branding process is proposed to enrich the knowledge in this field. It acknowledges the great importance of Word- of-Mouth in the process of destination branding and connects destination competitiveness with destination branding. Moreover, the study figures out how the destination branding of Finland is conducted in China and examines the effect of current destination branding channels. Suggestions have been proposed in order to get an effective destination branding, represented by expanding the content of destination branding, building psychological link between Chinese tourists and Finland as destination, strengthening the cooperation with destination management organizations. This study has not only theoretical implication in destination branding research field, but also it offers practical and adaptable tools to improve the tourism development of Finland to Chinese tourists.
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