Destination image repair while combatting crises: tourism marketing in Africa

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The current study analyzes the media strategies used by Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries to repair their destination image during and after crisis, and attract international tourism. There has been to date a dearth of academic studies that looked at the marketing and branding of destinations in SSA. The few studies that have appeared on this topic focused primarily on a single case study, rather than examining various models and theories that belong to the field of image repair. We, therefore, sought to analyze a variety of case studies to look for common strategies among SSA nations. The conceptual framework used in this research was the ‘multi-step model for altering place image.’ The study was based on qualitative content analyses of news reports, press interviews, campaigns and other marketing initiatives. These items were located in three sources between the years 2008 and 2015: official websites and social media pages of the national tourism boards of SSA countries, news, reports about African countries published in three main international media outlets and reports in a global tourism news website.The study's conclusions show that SSA marketers and policy-makers used three groups of strategies to promote their destinations during and after tourism crises: (1) source-focused strategies (media cooperation and media relations, physical/economic threats and media blockage, and internet use as an alternative source), (2) message-focused strategies (ignoring the crisis, negative image acknowledgement, scale of crisis reduction, counter-message delivery, association with well-known brands and celebrities, tackling the crisis and the spin of liabilities into assets), and (3) audience-focused strategies (patriotism and personal/national heritage, and target audience change). We discovered that despite the differences among the countries, marketers in this area have adopted similar strategies to combat crises in order to repair destination images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)780-800
Number of pages21
JournalTourism Geographies
Issue number5
StatePublished - 20 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • African tourism
  • Destination image
  • Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)
  • crisis recovery
  • image repair
  • tourism marketing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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