• Eduardo OLIVEIRA Department of Spatial Planning & Environment Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen


Tourist destinations demand strategic thinking and dynamic instruments, methods and tool to address the contemporary digital complexity. The application of information communication technologies by tourism destinations, when correctly articulated with a destination branding strategy, could be a driving force to improve their strategic positioning, and enhance competitiveness. In addition, reinforce perceived images and to optimize the benefits they derive from tourism. Tourism is an important and dynamic sector in the economy of destinations. Our aim is to reinforce tourism as necessary for an economic and social transformation and as a response to the contemporary challenges. The novelty of this preliminary analysis lies in the strategic approach to the digital complexity in destination branding by researching developments in branding Portugal as a tourism destination. In terms of methodology, a brief content analysis, complemented with a text mining study, were developed. Perceive how online tourism-oriented promotional channels characterize Portugal as destination, and further discuss the best branding strategies, is a central element along the article.


[1] Alvarez, M.D. 2012. Guest Editorial: New Perspectives in Destination Management. Journal of Travel and Tourism Research, Special Issue Destination Management, 1-3.
[2] Alvarez, M.D. and Asugman, G. 2006. Explorers versus Planners: A Study of Turkish Tourists. Annals of Tourism Research, 33(2): 319-338.
[3] Balakrishnan, M.S. 2009. Strategic branding of destinations: a framework. European Journal of Marketing, 43(5/6): 611-629.
[4] Balmer, J.M.T. 2001. Corporate identity, corporate branding and corporate marketing – seeing through the fog, European Journal of Marketing 35(3/4): 248-291.
[5] Berson, A., Smith, S. and Thearling, K. 2000. Building Data Mining Applications for CRM, New York: McGraw Hill.
[6] Brent-Ritchie, J. and Crouch, G. 2011. The Competitive Destination: A Sustainable Tourism Perspective, Oxfordshire: CAB International.
[7] Buhalis, D. 1997. Information Technology as a Strategic Tool for Economic, Social, Culture and Environmental Benefits Enhancement of Tourism at Destination Regions, Progress in Tourism and Hospitality Research, 3(1): 71–93.
[8] Buhalis, D. 2000. Marketing the competitive destination of the future, Tourism Management, 21: 97-116.
[9] Buhalis, D. and Spada, A. 2000. Destination Management Systems: Criteria for Success: An Exploratory Research, Journal Information Technology and Tourism, 3(1): 41-58.
[10] Buhalis, D. Leung, D. and Law, R. 2011. eTourism: Critical Information and Communication Technologies for Tourism Destinations. In: Youcheng, W. and Abraham, P. (Ed.) Destination Marketing and Management, Theories and Applications, Oxfordshire: CAB International, 205-224.
[11] Caldwell, N. and Freire, J. 2004. The differences between branding a country, a region and city: Applying the Brand Box Model. Brand Management, 12(1): 50-61.
[12] Consumer Barometer, 2012. (accessed December 3rd 2013).
[13] Davidson, R. and Maitland, R. 1997. Tourism destinations, London: Hodder and Stoughton.
[14] de Chernatony, L. and Riley, F.D. 1998. Modelling the components of the brand, European Journal of Marketing, 32(11/12): 1074-1090.
[15] Echtner, C.M. and Ritchie, J.R.B. 2003. The meaning and measurement of destination image. Journal of Tourism Studies, 14(1): 37-48.
[16] Friedmann, J. 1987. Planning in the Public Domain, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
[17] Fyall, A., Wang, Y. and Garrod, B. 2012. Editorial, Journal of Destination Marketing and Management 1: 1-3.
[18] Govers, R. and Go, F. M. 2005. Projected destination image online: website content analysis of pictures and text, Information Technology and Tourism 7: 73–89.
[19] Hall, D. 2000. Evaluating the tourism–environment relationship: Central and Eastern European experiences, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 27: 411–421.
[20] Hannam, K. and Knox, D. 2005. Discourse Analysis in Tourism Research: A critique, Tourism Recreation Research, 30(2): 23-30.
[21] Kaur, H. 2010. Do ISO 14001 EMS companies in Malaysia reward employees for environmental initiatives? Journal of Environmental Management and Tourism, II: 2(2): 98-108.
[22] Krippendorff, K. 2003. Content Analysis: An Introduction to its Methodology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
[23] Laesser, C. and Beritelli, P. 2013. St. Gallen Consensus on Destination Management, Journal of Destination Marketing and Management, 2(-): 46–49.
[24] Lau, K.-N., Lee, K.-H. and Ho, Y. 2005. Text Mining for the Hotel Industry, Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 46(-): 344-362.
[25] Law, C. 1993. Urban Tourism-Attracting Visitors to Large Cities. London: Mansell.
[26] Morgan, N., Pritchard, A. and Piggott, R. 2003. Destination branding and the role of the stakeholders: the case of New Zealand, Journal of Vacation Marketing, 9(-): 285-299.
[27] Morgan, N., Pritchard, A. and Pride, R. 2011. Destination branding: Managing Place Reputation Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.
[28] Morrison, A. 2013. Marketing and Managing Tourism Destinations, New York: Routledge.
[29] Munro, J. and Richards, B. 2011. Destination Brand Challenges: The digital challenge. In: Wang, Y. and Pizam, A. Destination Marketing and Management, Theories and Applications, Oxfordshire: CAB International, 141-154.
New Media Trend Watch. 2013. (accessed December 3rd 2013).
[30] Oliveira, E. 2013a. The Digital Challenge in Destination Branding: Brief Approach to the Portuguese case (Extended version of the abstract). Conference Proceedings of the International Tourism Week Conference Series V - New Trends in Tourism Management and Marketing, 15-16 April, Akdeniz University, Antalya, Turkey.
[31] Oliveira, E. 2013b. Making Strategies in Destination Branding: What is the online tourism promotional material saying about Portugal? Conference Proceedings of the International Conference on Sustainable Issues and Challenges in Tourism, October 3-5, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey.
[32] Oliveira, E. 2013c. To Shout or to Hashtag? Digital Challenges in Destination Branding. (accessed December 5th 2013).
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (2012). OECD Economic Surveys Portugal. (accessed December 5th 2013).
[33] Page, S.J. 2009. Tourism Management. An Introduction, 4th Edition, Oxford: Elsevier Ltd.
[34] Pike, S. 2005. Tourism destination branding complexity, Journal of Product and Brand Management, 14(4): 258-259.
[35] Pike, S. 2009. Destination brand positions of a competitive set of near-home destinations, Tourism Management, 30(6): 857-866.
[36] Singh, N., Hu, C. and Roehl, W. S. 2007. Text mining a decade of progress in hospitality human resource management research: Identifying emerging thematic development. Hospitality Management, 26(-): 131–147.
[37] Zhang, Wei-Bin. 2011. Tourism and economic structure in a small-open growth model. Journal of Environmental Management and Tourism, Volume III, 2(6): 65- 68.
*** European Commission. 2013. Attitudes of Europeans towards Tourism. opinion/flash/fl_370_en.pdf (accessed December 3rd 2013).
*** eMarketer. (accessed December 3rd 2013).
*** Statistics Portugal. 2012. Tourism Statistics of 2011. (accessed December 3rd 2013).
*** The Guardian online travel page, (accessed December 5th 2013).
*** The New York Times online travel page. (accessed December 5th 2013).
*** Travel Daily News. 2013. (accessed December 6th 2013).
*** Turismo de Portugal. 2012. Plano Estratégico Nacional do Turismo Horizonte 2013-2015 (National Strategic Plan for Tourism), Documents/PENT%202012.pdf (accessed January 17th 2014).
*** Visit Portugal official Facebook page. (accessed December 1st 2013).
*** Visit Portugal official website. (accessed December 3rd 2013).
*** World Economic Forum. 2013. The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013-Reducing Barriers to Economic Growth and Job Creation. 2013. pdf (accessed December 3rd 2013).
*** World Tourism Organization. (accessed 3rd December 2013).
*** World Travel and Tourism Council. 2012. 2012. pdf (accessed December 3rd 2013).
How to Cite
OLIVEIRA, Eduardo. DIGITAL COMPLEXITY IN DESTINATION BRANDING: A PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS TO DESTINATION PORTUGAL. Journal of Environmental Management and Tourism, [S.l.], v. 4, n. 2, p. 65-76, nov. 2016. ISSN 2068-7729. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 05 dec. 2022.
Journal of Environmental Management and Tourism


content analysis; destination branding; digital complexity; Portugal; strategy; text mining