Branding as an Essential Element in the Creation Process of the Image of the Brand in National Tourism Destinations
Purpose: Presentation of branding as an important element in the creation process of the brand image of national tourism destinations on the example of the operation of 39 National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) in Europe. Design/Methodology/Approach: For the selection of NTOs the following criteria were taken into account. 1. The functional criterion: the main functions attributed to NTOs were accepted as the grounds for the verification, firstly, it was considered whether the promotion of a given country on foreign markets is included among these tasks. 2. The economic criterion: possession of an autonomous financial budget by a given organization (regardless of the percentage share of funds from the budget of the state or from the private sector, or from any other sources) was accepted as the grounds for verification. 3. The organizational criterion: a separation of a given organization in the structure of a superior body was accepted as the grounds for verification. The research methods used include a method of diagnostic survey including a questionnaire technique, a direct interview and a statistical analysis. Findings: The analysis demonstrated among others that the vast majority of the NTOs examined (92.3%) implement the objectives of branding in practice. At the same time, a significant part of these organizations (86.1%) recognized the activities taken within branding to be very effective. Moreover, the vast majority of the NTOs analysed (91.7%) undertake the initiatives realized as part of branding on the global tourist market. Practical Implications: The conclusions following the study can be used by various entities which are responsible for an effective realization of the management process of the brand of tourism destinations on the different levels of administration. Originality/Value: The study constitutes an entirely new insight into the functioning of NTOs while presenting a substantially broader spectrum of the areas of interest for this type organizations as compared to those presented in the source literature till now.