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Branding could be regarded as one of the most imperative and critical aspects that are being used by organizations, institutes, and other authorities. It is essential because it not only makes a memorable impression on the users but it also allows them to understand and know what to expect from the company. The technique and approach is used to get distinguished from the competitors and makes it clear what is the reason that makes one option better than the other (Baumeister et al, 2015). Fact Because competition is rising in almost every industry, institutes and organizations have become keen on establishing a unique position in the sector. In order to sustain in any industry, it has become critical for companies to adapt to measures and techniques that could allow them to get distinguished from the others (Devasagayam et al, 2010).
Multiple strategies are utilized to promote the dark sites and enhance the happenings of the historical event at concentrations after World War 2. Mass people visit the place to get historical information regarding the dark activities happened in the place and the country strives to work on the aesthetics to advertise their dark tourism sites. Dark tourism is facing growth and more people are spending their wealth to experience and gain information about the concentration camp. Moreover, in promoting the dark tourism, state attempts to promote the overall tourism to increase the revenue which assist in increasing economic growth (Dark tourism, 2020).
Considering the case of Auschwitz, it could be regarded that to promote the camp site the visitors must be adequately attracted enough by communicating the unique aspects related to it. While several destinations are of high interest to tourists, it is further critical for these sites to establish a unique aspect relate to the spot which could gain maximum attention. While a set of different approaches and measures have been taken by companies all around the world, branding has been considered one of the most critical and important approaches that have been adapted by firms to meet their objectives (Bastos and Levy, 2012, p.350). Understanding the importance of branding, it could further be regarded that it does not only remain for a particular product or service but could also be carried out for destinations, countries, and more (Hampf & Lindberg-Repo, 2011).
Destination branding could be considered as one of the activities that are associated with destination marketing which is further aimed at promoting a tourist destination through the building of an associated brand. Like the way branding is carried out for products and services to establish a unique position and image, destination branding is carried out to differentiate one destination from the others based on its characteristics (Campelo et al, 2014). It has become imperative to develop an identity of a destination for tourists so that they can link certain attributes with a place along with getting attracted towards such areas to enhance the inclination. While tourists have several different spots which they consider to visit, a destination may only be visited if it can adequately attract an ample amount of individuals towards it (Merrilees et al, 2013). The destination branding is utilized to increase the pace of the traffic in the tourism destination and it is essential for the economic growth and sustainability in terms of finances and popularity. This section focuses on the dark tourism destinations and how they are in the face of promotion due to tourism promotion (Minić, 2012). Tourism points attract more people and special attention is given to enriching the experience of the tourist and promoting the destination globally. Modern tourist have different kind of motivation when they are planning, moreover this add value to the tourism destination development. Therefore, the national authorities and local tourism management require specific solutions to the distinctive tourism sites. Dark tourism promotes commercial tourism destinations and local governments adopt effective branding practices to enhance dark locations and sites. Tourism personal factors have posed a greater concern for the local authorities and the tourism development process is more complex than before (Birna, Hyde, and Farmaki, 2013).
It could be understood that a successful destination brand expresses ambition, increases expectations, and further leads to making a promise for high quality along with retaining it for a long period. Also, development, planning, branding, operations and marketing must be handles and managed for the destination as well as individual attractors, infrastructure elements and services (Qu et al, 2011, p.470). Through destination branding, it further must be ensured to the visitors that their whole experience will be worth the effort and money which is being spent. The branding must be done in a way that a huge amount of individuals agrees and show interest in the brand being promoted (Munar, 2011). The increased advertised brands offer possibilities of incrementing the dark tourism market. The destination branding is done to stimulate the minds of people from all over the world and seek the attraction of people to increase the overall country visits. In the past decade, dark tourism is positively affected and Poland adopt various methods of branding the destination of the concentration camps (Powell, Kennell, and Barton, 2018).
While destination branding has certain forms of product branding, it may on the other hand be identified as a different activity to a certain extent. Here, it is imperative to mention the identifiers and differentiators that countries have been using to attract individuals to their area. Some of these examples are ‘Malaysia-Truly Asia’, ‘Viva Las Vegas’, ‘Kerala-God owns the country’, and a few more (Tasci, 2011, p.120). Destination branding could further be identified as performing different functions. These functions could be stated as:
Brands as perceptual entities
Brands as communicators
Brands as relationship
Brand as value enhancers
While all of these functions are of immense importance, brand as a relationship could be regarded as one of the most critical and imperative functions. In this aspect, a brand is developed to have a personality that further allows it to form relationships with individuals (Morgan et al, 2011). Destination branding also promotes the ties between the countries and the government relationship is positively affected due to the increased tourism. Moreover, dark tourism affects the product used for tourism and enhances the global ranking of tourism destinations. The concept of tourism brand relates to the advertising of the destination image globally. However, local authorities pay attention to the tourist destinations to make the place more attractive to the people. Tourism destinations play a vital role in the tourism development specifically in dark tourist destinations, their efforts for the branding is increasing at Poland and influences the brand image globally. Branding as an act of impressing the product, service, and destination is a common phenomenon utilized by various organizations to stimulate the response of the people worldwide (Kumbirai et al., 2013). People plan their vacations according to the promotion of the destinations and the visual representation plays a vital role in enticing mass people.
Tourism could be considered one of the prime sources through which government generates its revenues. Having said this, the state is also involved in developing and promoting instances and opportunities for the tourists through that they may get attracted towards the spot. The fact that tourism is significantly adding to the economy and its betterment, governments are involved in the process of branding and making the destination unique and different from the others (Stone, 2013, p.310). While certain aspects and areas in a country may be taken under consideration by the government for tourism, others are also promoted through private organizations. Here it is also imperative to mention that while certain tourism spots may have some fees or pass for the visit, others may not require any money to be paid by the visitors (Hartmann, 2014, p.170).
Dark tourism on the other hand could be considered as tourism that is involved with travelling to places associated and linked with tragedy and death. Individuals involved in dark tourism have a different perspective that the rest and are willing to explore places that have some historic incidents associated with it. While the number of individuals inclined toward dark tourism may be less than the other forms of tourists, they must be amply and adequately attracted to the spots and areas for the visit (Stone, 2012). Many of the tourists involved in dark tourism have the intentions of exploration that are used for either personal or professional purposes. In this regard, the individuals must be communicated with and convinced how a travel destination may lead to offer a different and unique experience to them as compared to the other sites. Adding value to destination branding could be regarded as highly imperative as this may significantly augment the inclination toward such areas (Biran & Hyde, 2013, p.191).
With regards to dark tourism in Auschwitz, it could be further understood that now turned museum has a long history attached to it that further leads to become an evident aspect of attraction and interest. The site has become a tourist spot for people all around the world who are interested in knowing about the history associated and linked with the spot. In the year 1947, the camp was turned into a museum where the post-camp relics are protected (Pilecki & Probosz, 2012). The particular museum now serves to be an area for learning and knowing the history along with understanding what the past may have kept in store. It has been stated that over 1.1 million women, men and children have lost their lives in this camp and these devastating incidents now serve to be a strong mark in the history. There are little ways of knowing and understanding post-war Europe without an in-depth confrontation between the ideas of mankind and the remains of Auschwitz (Piotrowska et al., 2014).
Dark tourism also known as black tourism is associated with visiting spots and areas that are directly or indirectly associated with battlefields, death, museums and prison camps. Being connected with culture and heritage it could be understood that history plays a vital role in such form of tourism. The individuals visiting the sites are interested in information regarding the past and the incidents that have taken place which defines and depicts a story linked with them (Biran & Poria, 2012). It has been observed that the number of individuals who are interested in knowing the experiences, tragedies, and struggles of people in the past has been increasing significantly. A greater amount of individuals as compared to previous years have shown inclination towards such sector and this has increased the potential of tourism for many countries (White & Frew, 2013).
The Auschwitz concentration camp got opened in the year 1940 and was considered the largest Nazi death and concentration camp. The camp is located in southern Poland and it initially was a detention center for political prisoners after World War II. Auschwitz was also a killing centre and led to play a pivotal role in the effort of Germans to kill the Jews residing in Europe (Rajkowska et al., 2014, p.800). The detention centre in later stages evolved and turned out to become a network of camps in which mainly Jewish individuals along with all the others who were considered the enemies of the Nazi state were exterminated. These prisoners have been killed, used as slave laborers, and even subject to medical experiments.
Furthermore, many of these prisoners lost their lives due to overwork, disease and illnesses, insufficient nutrition, and brutal living conditions. These individuals have been subject to immense torture and pain which has created a history of its own (Kozirog et al., 2014). The biggest mass murder site in human history (Auschwitz concentration camp) is now present for the visitors to understand and get the feel and idea of the immense struggle, pain, torture, and misery that the prisoners must have gone through.
Dark tourism is evidently different from any other sort of tourism sites and so the authorizes associated to it must be ethically responsible while carrying out activities related to marketing and promotion of such areas. There have been various concerns and issues associated with dark tourism promotion as it has often also been associated with being part of the leisure economy. Considering that dark tourism is linked to unfortunate events that have taken place in history or the darker memories associated with the places, such tourism must not be a way of earning or generating money (Biran and Hyde, 2013). It has been observed in the recent past that certain place linked to dark tourism has been monetized and this has adversely impacted on the value and essence of it. While promoting dark tourism, the related authorizes must further make sure that they do not amend the history in any way to make it more attractive or fascinating for the visitors. The history and information linked with such places must be kept and maintained most adequately and correctly to retain the values and facts (Korstanje, 2015).
Moreover, the rise of social media and the internet has increased the concerns related to the ethics and values of such places. Individuals putting up pictures with such dark tourism spots or the ones writing reviews regarding it somewhat breaches the ethical boundary associated with dark tourism. To mitigate such adversities and improve the overall situation of dark tourism in terms of ethical breaches, transnational institutions such as UNESCO and others must work closely with local governments to make sure that certain standards and activities are set which have to be followed by every individual that visits such places (Stone and Sharpley, 2013). Through keen observation and close consideration of such institutes, the probability of negative activities in terms of ethics will significantly reduce and a better protection of dark tourism will be ensured. Further, educating the visitors regarding the appropriate and adequate activities and behaviors would also positively contribute to maintaining ethical standards and practices related to tourism. With more knowledge and information to visitors regarding the value of such places, the inclination toward ethical breaches may reduce (Korstanje and George, 2015).
The concept of destination branding has been evolving and the approach toward the concept has changed over the years. Considering that tourism is regarded as one of the most imperative aspects for countries, it has to be understood how destination branding could be optimized and put to use for the benefit of the nation (Schaar, 2013). A number of new ways and methods have been developed in the contemporary environment through which destination branding has augmented and who communication is taking place to reach out to the target audience. With technology establishment, new means and methods are being used to approach a wider set of individuals within less time and this has been one of the most imperative factors that have led towards augmented destination branding (Chen & Phou, 2013).
Through effective destination branding, Auschwitz could lead to attracting a huge amount of individuals to the spot and this could lead to result in positively contribute to the betterment of the economy. Considering that destination branding is related to developing and establishing value for the tourists or travellers, a set of different approach and techniques are being used to meet the objectives (Jetter & Chen, 2013, p.175). Communication strategies further play an essential role that may be adopted by Auschwitz to approach the target audience and augment the flow of tourism.
By putting the focus on tourists and promoting the area for tourism in a significant manner, the country may lead to augment and improve the economic situation. With tourism coming in and individuals visiting the area, more capital inflow would take place and this would lead to the betterment of society on the whole. Further, through promoting Auschwitz and its linked history the area could become more known and famous and this may lead to better recognition and knowledge between tourists. While the dark tourism sector has been augmenting over the past few years, there is still a great potential for the sector to further grow. Considering that the tourists involved in such tourism look for authentic places and areas that may add value to their learning and experience, the hosts must communicate and inform about the characteristics and attributes associated with the destination (Raine, 2013). To do this, branding could take place and augment the value associated with places in the minds of individuals. It is essential to inform how one place differs from that of the other and why visitors must come to a specific area for learning and exposure.
This particular research focuses on augmenting and enhancing the significance of destination branding in the development of the dark tourism sector. While there has been ample research regarding the tourism sector, less studies have been carried out regarding dark tourism sector along with its association with destination branding. The particular research would augment and explore the dynamics of dark tourism and how branding could be used to improve the associated outcomes.
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