Places not destinations: a conscious shift with thinkers and followers

A previous post called for conversations on places rather than destinations.

A number of voices and sources can be drawn on to support the case against places that are contrived, often from elsewhere (i.e. destinations), and in favour of places that are enabled to flourish from within (richly textured and distinctive places; places with integrity).

Greg Richards and Julie Wilson, for example, suggest that creating places as products for their marketing as destinations is of limited value, as it can often lead to the serial reproduction of culture (Richards & Wilson, 2005).

Similarly, Chris Murray concludes that “the notion of designing identities for places should be rejected as in the end it leads to disaffection (…) and there is insufficient evidence that it works” (Murray, 2001: 73).   He proposes that a more appropriate process is to identify and build on distinctive local cultural resources for successful place branding and marketing.

Anna Pollock’s framework on conscious travel indicates a similar shift from product-led thinking, which sees destinations treated as products, albeit complex ones, by their marketers and some “been-there-done-that” consumers, towards concerning ourselves with “people and place”:

Instead of discounting their primary asset – the Place – [conscious travel advocates] focus on protecting, expressing and celebrating its unique Personality to sustain and increase its value to guests.

Advertisement