World heritage brand personality comparative analysis

Currently, World Heritage Sites (hereafter, WHSs) are perceived as a prominent tourism brand, a fact that encourages many countries to increase their listed WHSs (Su & Lin, 2014) so that they may benefit from the use of WH for tourism economies (Buckley, Sh ekari, Mohammadi, Azizi, and Ziaee, 2020). However, even though there is a growing body of literature that recognises the WH significance, previously published studies on the effect of World Heritage (WH) on tourism marketing are not consistent (Y. Yang, Xue, & Jones, 2019). There is much debate as to whether WH has more profound tourism effects on listed WHSs, such as increasing domestic or international visitors, tourism receipts, and socio-economic development in the WH areas (Yang & Lin, 2014) or less significant effects (Mariani & Guizzardi, 2020; Y. Yang et al., 2019). Prior to Covid-19, the increase in tourism demand and the competition between tourism destinations put pressure on Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) to constantly explore competitive advantages, different from the traditional promotional tools that do not focus only on the tangible aspects of destinations which on some occasions have become easily substituted (Lee & Kim, 2018; Shankar, 2018). Consequently, marketing experts started paying attention to the intangible qualities of WH for tourism promotion (Mariani & Guizzardi, 2020). Even though WH’s main objective is to protect WHSs with outstanding universal values (OUVs), tourism destination managers are in favor of new tools for competitive advantages such as WH intangible meanings (V. Kumar & Nayak, 2018; Rojas-Méndez & Hine, 2016; Skinner, 2018). However, the way intangible meanings are perceived both by visitors and experts has not been closely examined. To note, the generalisability of much-published research on WH in tourism is problematic (Buckley, 2018; Y. Yang et al., 2019). By examining BP lexical approaches, this doctoral thesis sought to bridge gaps in WH studies. While BP is prominent, its approaches still need to be further developed (Davies, Rojas-Méndez, Whelan, Mete, & Loo, 2018). This doctoral thesis therefore extended and updated the BP to the field of WHSs as a micro-element of tourism destinations (Kirilenko, Stepchenkova, & Hernandez, 2019). Therefore, three studies were conducted in this doctoral thesis in order to identify the WHSs intangible meanings through extending and developing BP lexical approaches. This doctoral research will first present the introduction, followed by the Aims of the dissertation and a summary of the three studies. Following on, the three studies will be presented and the general conclusions and discussions ​
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