Regional imagery and Irish tourism promotion
Gaffey, Sheila M.
Gillmor, Desmond A.
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Cawley, Mary, Gaffey, Sheila M., & Gillmor, Desmond A. (1999). Regional imagery and Irish tourism promotion. Belgeo - Revue Belge de Géographie, 123(3), 231-240.
Regional images may be defined as representations of places which consist of one or more of a variety of elements which may include people, landscapes, flora or animals (Gold and Ward, 1994; Kneafsey, 1997). Sound, when sound media are used, and, arguably, taste and smell through their evocation, may also function as regional images. Individually and collectively these elements serve to convey characteristics of places. Regional imagery is identified by both the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union (EU) as having important contributions to make to the marketing of the products of rural economies. A recent OECD (1995) report on Niche markets as a rural development strategy, refers to specific landscapes, cultural traditions or historic monuments as creating territorial linkages which can function as a niche marketing strategy. The commercial value of regional imagery for rural economies that have become isolated from mainstream activity is also recognised by the EU Committee of the Regions. In an Opinion document of 18 September 1996 on ‘Promoting and protecting local products- a trump card for the regions’, it is stated that “a region’s image may contribute to that of products and services offered on wider markets” (CEC, p. 2). Regional identification marks (labels) are viewed as enabling a link to be forged between the product and “a region’s landscape and culture” (ibid.). Regional images as constructs are therefore being defined increasingly as having a commercial value for the products and services of underdeveloped areas.