The Key Parameters in Making and Managing Brands in Rural Geotourism Destinations of Isfahan Province (Case Study: Mesr and Garme Villages)

Document Type : علمی


Art University of Isfahan


Extended abstract
Increase in global competition, higher awareness of consumers and many other issues have made branding destinations an important and influential strategy in the field of tourism marketing. Due to the development of tourism in rural areas, attention to brand making and brand management with respect to the potentials of these destinations can influence the attraction of more tourists and provide better services and better customer trust.
According to Lane (1994) rural tourism is the tourism which occurs in the country side. Some rural areas encompass geo-heritage and have high potential for promoting geo-tourism. Rural geo-tourism is nature tourism and takes place in the countryside which includes unique geological and geomorphological landscapes. In these villages, making and managing a geo-brand not only introduces geo-heritage of the territory as tourist attraction but also promotes local economy. Nowadays, brand is an important factor in influencing tourists in choosing a destination and the role of branding in marketing purposes is very important.
This study was conducted in Isfahan Province (Mesr and Garme villages). This study has three major purposes: 1) to identify the important parameters in making and managing of a rural tourism brand in geotourism destinations; 2) to identify the challenges and problems of the failure of a rural tourism brand; and 3) to propose a rural geo-tourism brand for villages of Isfahan province which are known as desert tourism destinations. In order to achieve these goals, Delphi method was used to identify the key components in making and managing a rural tourism brand in geo-tourism destinations. Data were gathered through an interview and two questionnaires. Fifteen experts filled in the forms and data were collected through snowball sampling method. Then, the qualitative data were analyzed through coding method and the quantitative data were analyzed through SPSS software.
As previously mentioned, identifying the challenges and problems of the failure of a rural tourism brand is one of the objectives of the present research. In this regard, the researchers designed an interview form whose first question inquired the challenges and problems. The data were analyzed through qualitative method (using open coding procedure) and 21 codes were identified. The second question investigated the idea of experts about designing a geo-brand and seven codes were determined. Lastly, the third question explored key parameters for making and managing a rural tourism brand for a geo-tourism destination and 11 codes for making and 15 codes for managing a brand were identified. In the next step, the first questionnaire was designed and the responses were made on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 to 5 and the data was analyzed by using SPSS tools (Binomial test). Further analysis of the data from the second questionnaire and telephone questionnaire illustrated that experts reached a consensus on 9 key parameters in making and 10 key parameters in rural tourism brand management.
The results identified nine key parameters in making and ten key components in managing a tourism brand in rural areas with potential in geo-tourism. Furthermore, lack of marketing, mismanagement, lack of support from the local community and the public sector, lack of educational program for local people, the lack of using specific symbols of the region, lack of attention to cultural factors, lack of brand fits with the niche tourism of the region, lack of implementation of the brand and its applications correctly, lack of creativity in branding, lack of attention to the local community, misidentification of resources, lack of planning for identification of investment opportunities, tourism destination branding complexity, lack of attention to the economic benefits of a brand for the region, creating new experience for tourists, lack of tourism experts, lack of standardization of services and infrastructure, non-competitive destination, weakness of private sector investment in tourism development planning, the attention of tourism on intangible products and interdisciplinary have been the challenges faced in branding. Finally, it can be said that geo-tourism can be a tool for making brand in Mesr and Garme villages. In the nest step according to idea of experts a geo-brand was proposed for the villages.


1. Aaker, D.A. (1991). Managing brand equity: capitalizing on the value of brand name. New York, the free press.
2. Amrikazemi, AR. (1391/2012). Geo-Heritage atlas of Iran (1th Ed.). Tehran: Geological Survey of Iran Publications. [In Persian]
3. Blain, C.R. (2001). Destination branding in destination marketing organizations. Unpublished master thesis, University of Calgary.
4. Cai, L. A. (2002). Cooperative branding for rural destinations. Annals of Tourism Research, 29(3), 720-742.
5. Dalkey, N. C. (1969). The Delphi method: An experimental study of group opinion (Vol. 3). Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation.
6. Dowling, R., & Newsome, D. (Eds.). (2006). Geotourism, sustainability, impacts and management. Elsevier, Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford.
7. Farhatjah, B., & Amrikazemi, A. R. (1391/2012). Geotourism. Tehran: Geological Survey of Iran Publications. [In Persian]
8. Farsani, N. T. (2012). Sustainable Tourism in Geoparks through Geotourism and Networking, (Unpublished doctoral dissertation), University of Aveiro, Portugal: 9-116.
9. Farsani, N. T., Coelho C., & Costa C. (2013). Rural Geotourism: A new tourism Product, Acta Geoturistica 4(2): 1-10.
10. Farsani, N. T., Coelho, C., & Costa, C. (2012). Geoparks and geotourism: New approaches to sustainability for the 21st century. Florida, USA: Universal-Publishers. ‏
11. Fennell, D.A. (2003). Ecotourism. An introduction. London and New York: Routledge.
12. Gannon, A. (1994). Rural tourism as a factor in rural community economic development for economies in transition. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 2(1-2), 51-60.
13. Greffe, X. (1993). Rural tourism a lever for economic and social development. clevedon, channel view publication.
14. Hall, M. (2010). Tourism destination branding and its effects on national branding strategies: branding New Zealand, clean and green but is it smart? European Journal of Tourism, Hospitality & Recreation, 1(1), 71.
15. Hose, T.A. (2000). European 'Geotourism' – geological interpretation and geoconservation promotion for tourists. In: Barettino, D., Wimbledon, W.A.P., and Gallego, E. (Eds.). Geological Heritage: its Conservation and Management, Madrid, Spain: 127-146.
16. James, h. C. L., & Hose, T. A. (2008). Are We in Danger of Losing the “Geo” in Geotourism? An assessment of the geological potential of selected sites in southern-central Britain. In: Dowling, R. K. and Newsome, D. (Eds.). Geotourism. Proceedings of the Inaugural Global Geotourism.
17. Kardovani, P. (1387/2008). The great central desert of Iran and neighboring areas. Tehran: Tehran University publication. [In Persian]
18. Lane, R. (1994). What is Rural Tourism? Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 2(12), 7-21.
19. Lomsend, L. (1380/2002). Tourism Marketing, (M. E. Goharian, Trans.). Tehran: Office of Cultural Research. [In Persian]
20. Movahed, A. (1386/2007). Urban Tourism. Ahvaz: Shahid Chamran University publication. [In Persian]
21. OECD. (1993). What Future for our Countryside: A Rural Development Policy. Paris: OECD.
22. Pralong, P. J. (2006). Geotourism: A new form of tourism utilizing natural landscapes and based on imagination and emotion. Tourism Review, 61(3), 20-25.
23. Rokniddin-e-Eftekhari, A., & Ghaderi, A. (2002). The role of Rural Tourism in Rural Development (Critique and analysis of theoretical frameworks). Tehran: Modares Publications. [In Persian]
24. Rooney, J. A. (1995). Branding a trend for today and tomorrow. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 4(4), 48 – 55.
25. Shafiei, Z. (1391/2012). Strategic Marketing in Tourism Services. Isfahan: Kankash publication. [In Persian]
26. Slee, B., Farr, H., & Snowdon, P. (1997). The economic impact of alternative types of rural tourism. Journal of Agricultural Economics, 48(1‐3), 179-192.
27. Stokes, A., Cook, S., & Drew, D. (2003). Geotourism: The New Trend in Travel, Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) and National Geographic Traveler, Washington, DC, USA.
28. Tourtellot, J. B. (2000). Geotourism for your community: a guide for a geotourism strategy. National Geographic, Washington.
29. Voeth, M., & Herbst, U. (2008). The concept of brand personality as an instrument for advanced non-profit branding–An empirical analysis. Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, 19(1), 71-97. ‏