Marketing City Tourism For Urban Development Tourism Essay

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In the long run, city holidays and weekend breaks will continue to be a vibrant and growing segment of the global tourism market. City tourism is one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in the world. The unexploited opportunities and the rising harmful effects on the urban communities, however, highlight the importance of dealing with the sector in relation to the urban economy, environment and social and cultural local specifics. In these days it is a fact that what is projected as the ‘image’ of a city, can be more important than the reality of the city itself, in shaping visitors’, investors’, and even its own inhabitants’ opinion of it. Marketing techniques are often used to help a city’s transformation into a post-industrial centre of tourism, culture and re-development. In addition, City tourism is playing an increasingly important role in deciding economic development strategies by the local governance authorities. In the current framework of the globalised economy, competition for attracting tourists is even greater. In this context, the role of city marketing is crucial. This paper examines the importance of city tourism marketing for the urban development.

Keywords: City tourism, tourism products, Brand image, marketing strategy, urban development.

Introduction Today, the image of a city in some cases seems to play a more important role than its reality in shaping the opinion held by visitors, investors and its residents with regard to the place. Marketing techniques are often used to help towards the transformation of a city into a post-industrial centre of tourism, culture and development. Urban tourism or city tourism plays an increasingly central role in defining the strategies for economic development that the respective local authorities process. On the other hand, in today’s conditions of the globalised economy, the competition for attracting tourists is even greater. City marketing plays a decisive role in this respect.

Cities, in order to create more opportunities, must have the ability to attract more investment, business, residents and visitors. Places, just like products, must be advertised with accuracy and attractiveness. City marketing is successful when workers, residents and businesses are satisfied with their living conditions, and when tourists, new businesses and new investors have their expectations met. (Kotler et al. 1999).In addition, the nature of cities as tourism destinations is extremely complicated. A complete study of urban tourism includes the examination of the reasons for visiting a city, the type of visitors, the impact of tourism on the urban environment, management and planning techniques and an examination of planning and marketing a city as a tourism destination. Also, the consequences of the emergence of new tourism resources and places on urban environments should be considered, as well as the importance of time planning in urban and tourism planning.

City marketing is a relatively new scientific field. Many think of it just as group of tools and methods in order to sell the “product” of a city. But city marketing is more than that. It involves the definition of a city’s product (the city as a product) and its image, in such a way that its recipients will see it as to the marketing intended. So, city marketing plays an important role, forming a bridge between a city’s potential and the use of this potential for the benefit of the local society. This is particularly true in the case of European cities, which are on the one hand cultural centres with strong local identities, and on the other hand, have a cosmopolitan character, not only thanks to their visitors, but also because they are in the mind of people who live far away from them or even people that may never get to visit them. There are cities with great heritage potential that are not successful. A rationally composed and responsibly carried out marketing strategy could reverse this reality. (Karmowska, 2002).The main reasons for which a marketing strategy takes place are as follows (Karmowska, 2002):

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To attract tourists

To attract investment and develop industry and entrepreneurship

To attract new residents

To influence local society – ‘internal marketing’.

There is of course another argument, according to which there are six strategies that a city or region can follow in order to improve its place in the competition (Kotler et al.1993):

Attract tourists and visitors to its businesses

Attract business from elsewhere

Maintain and expand existing business

Promote small business and help create new ones

Expansion of its exports and its investments of abroad

Expansion of its population or change in its population’s distribution.

It is obvious that these two opinions don’t really differ; the second is simply more analytical in its description, without referring to ‘internal marketing’. This notion of internal marketing is widely known, and it is argued that successful cultural projects could empower local societies, in this way becoming an internal marketing force that promotes local development. (Russo, 2003). Internal marketing can also be a determining factor in the way in which the residents of a city perceive their quality of life in that city (Rogerson, 1998).

City marketing includes four main activities (Kotler et al., 1993):

·€ Designing the provided services and defining the particular characteristics of the city

·€ Defining motives for the potential buyers of its goods and services

·€ Efficient distribution of its products

·€ Promotion of its image and values so that the potential buyers know its distinctive advantages.

A strategic city marketing plan has to include improvements in urban planning, infrastructures, basic services like health, safety and education, attractions and people. The importance of marketing in planning is even bigger when it comes to tourism planning. Urban tourism is based mainly on short breaks (overnight stays of one to three nights), rather than on long term vacations. As people have busy lifestyles and difficulty in leaving for long breaks, urban tourism increases. According to Jansen-Verbeke there are a number of primary tourism elements that have the ability to attract tourists and visitors (Ejigu et al., 2004). These are:

Primary tourism Elements

Visitor’s Attraction

Amusement facilities

·€ Night clubs

·€ Casinos

·€ Organized events

Culture facilities

·€ Museums and art galleries

·€ Theatres

·€ Concert halls

·€ Cinemas

·€ Fairs & Festivals

Visit Social and cultural characteristics

·€ Place livelihood

·€ Language

·€ Local customs

·€ Cultural heritage

·€ Hospitality

·€ Safety

Landscape particularities

·€ Historical routes traces

·€ Interesting buildings

·€ Ancient monuments and statues

·€ Religious buildings

·€ Parks and green areas

·€ Water, canals, beaches

There are also secondary or additional elements, such as:

·€ Hotels

·€ Catering facilities

·€ Commercial centres or areas

·€ Markets

·€ Accessibility

·€ Internal transport network

·€ Parking facilities

·€ Tourism facilities, e.g. information offices, maps, leaflets, guides etc.

The importance of marketing in tourism planning rises, as tourism destinations are dealt with as products. Until recently, cities were discriminated because of their resources, but with the recognition of the importance of the tourism sector, the trend has changed. The existing resources are becoming a unified package for selling the city. An essential part of tourism planning is the evaluation of the attraction towards the tourist and the decision of measures to empower it (Ejigu et al., 2004).

Tourism planning, according to marketing principles, is a complex process that includes marketing research, segmentation of the tourism market, tourism product policy, pricing of the tourism product, communication and sales procedures, the distribution system definition, advertising, informative leaflets, sales promotion of travels and tourism, direct marketing, public relations and marketing process control. (Holloway and Robinson, 1995) Finally, each city can be sold in many different ways to different tourists. The produced sales packages are not stable, but they evolve as the city changes. The city has the chance to choose the kind of tourists it wishes to attract, but this means that first of all it has to have all the necessary prerequisites.

Theoretical Framework From the decade of the 80’s, City tourism has increased in a significant way around the world. For economic reasons mainly, the governments and ministries of economy of many countries have considered tourism as an important source of income generation. In this context, the city tourism promotion represents an opportunity to revitalize the city and regional economy, and at the same time, to dignify and preserve the architectonic and cultural richness of the cities considered as centers of tourist development (Law, 1993).

From this point of view, Jansen-Verbeke (1988) as well as Buckley and Witt (1985, 1989), (cited by Law, 1993) postulate that urban regeneration for tourist purposes is not a single and valid approach for the great cities, but that also for more small towns and regions offering tourist attractions quite different from the traditional recreational destinations like sea and beaches.

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The urban tourist product has well been defined by Jansen-Verbeke (1988) as historic buildings, urban landscapes, museums and art galleries, theatres, sport and events. She classifies the elements of urban tourism in primary elements (cultural facilities, physical characteristics, sports and amusements facilities and socio-cultural features), secondary elements (hotel and catering facilities and markets) and additional elements (accessibility, parking, information offices, signposts guides, maps, etc.).

On the other hand, considering the wide recreational options that the urban tourism represents, the governments and ministries of tourism must be able to create strategic tourist marketing plans in order to assure the supply of infrastructure services contributing to create more employment and, therefore, to economic development.

Ashworth (1994) considers that the marketing of tourist destinations is a distinguishing form of commercialization of services that is founded on the traveller’s social dimension. Heath and Wall (1992), Kotler, Haider and Rein (1993) as well as Athiyaman (1995) establish that the strategy of tourism commercialization of a particular destination is based on the image that the traveller has in his mind concerning the attributes of this site.

Crompton et al. (1993) consider that images constitute the foundation of the tourist destinations choice process. Thus, every city, as a tourist destination, can be considered as a global image, which is integrated by climatic factors, tourism infrastructure, tourism superstructure, services and cultural attributes that the traveller shapes from his perceptions and his symbolic interpretation of this global image (Telisman-Kosuta, 1989).

Gunn, 1972, (cited by Chon, 1991) establishes that tourist destinations can convey images that are artificially created by a particular marketing strategy. Then, the existing contrast between the created image and the perceived reality is, often, the cause of the tourist’s dissatisfaction. On this point, Bourdeau (1991) thinks that images and attitudes that the traveler adopts towards certain tourist destinations depends on the differences resulting from the tourist’s experiences lived in situ and his tourism background.

Methodology The research on the concerned topic examines the marketing strategies that can be used for marketing a city for the urban developemnt. It specially investigates marketing aspects of city tourism that will lead to the development of the city itself. Rourkela City in western Orissa was selected as the case study area, as it has tremendous tourism potentials to be marketed which can bring in this way several benefits on the economic improvement of the city in Western Orissa. The researcher mainly had to depend upon the secondary data for carrying out the research.

City tourism in Rourkela: an Overview

Situated amidst natural surroundings, Rourkela is counted amongst the beautiful cities of Orissa. It emerged on the national panorama with the onset of steel plants in 1955. Located on the banks of Brahmani River, Rourkela holds the distinction of being the second largest city of Orissa. In the local dialect, the term ‘Rourkela’ means ‘our village’. Though this city has come a far way from the impression of village, it has still maintained the cultural roots of India.Located in the Sundargarh district in Orissa; it is the second largest city and a modern industrial town that has been able to retain its natural beauty. Surrounded by wooded hills and on the confluence of rivers Bramhani, Koel and Sankha, Rourkela has emerged a beautiful town. It is known for its rich mineral deposits and came into limelight in 1955 with the establishment of Rourkela Steel Plant. Constructed in collaboration with Germany, the steel plant is owned by Steel Authority of India. As the center of industrial activities, Rourkela has promoted expansion of diverse industries around the town such as Kalunga, Rajgangpur and Kanshbahal. Rourkela serves as the most convenient base for visiting the places of interest in the district of Sundargarh. Following are the Key tourism products of Rourkela city situated in the city and its surrounding areas:




Hanuman Vatika with a numerous Hindu shrines, Maa Vaishno Devi Temple, Lord Jagannath Temple, Jangha & Bada Dev,Maa Bhagawati Temple , Rani Sati Temple


Junagarh Fort, Vedvyas , Ushakothi rock cut caves

Fairs & Festivals

Vedavyas Mela, Dola Yatra, Chaitra Mela, Rath Yatra, Sravana Mela, Viswakarma Puja, Dusserah, Deepavali


Mandira Dam, Khandadhar water falls, Pitamahal dam, Brahmani River (Darjeeng), Ushakothi wildlife sanctuary

Recreational Parks

The Indira Gandhi Park, Nehru Traffic Park, Jubilee Park & Mrig Bihar, Green Park


Theatres: Apsara Talkies, Deepak Talkies, Konark Talkies, RajakTalkies, Uma Talkies

Dance & Music: Bhanja Bhawan and Civic Center


Sports Hostel, Ispat Stadium, Biju Pattnaik Hockey Stadium, G Stadium

The city has a good number of accommodations suiting to all categories of tourists and also restaurants offering variety of cuisines:

Mayfair Garden

Hotel Brindaban

Hotel Ajanta

Hotel Radhika

Hotel Apsara

Hotel Chandralok

Hotel Solan

Hotel ShyamHotel Anurag


Hotel Nidhi

Hotel Delux

(OTDC) Panthanivas

Marketing Rourkela city as tourism destination Destination advertising campaigns are typically evaluated by conversion studies or by advertising tracking studies. The conversion study model follows “a sequential flow over time that leads from the production of advertisements to visitor awareness, positive image development, inquiry/fulfillment, motivation and conversion” (Siegel and Ziff- Levine, 1990; McWilliams and Crompton, 1997: 127 in Kantanen, 2005).The advertising tracking model describes “changes in the levels of awareness of the destination and its image in the target markets, before and after those markets have been exposed to an advertising campaign”(McWilliams and Crompton, 1997: 129 in Kantanen, 2005).

Rourkela’s tourism products cover a wide range of historical, religious, natural and cultural attractions and the tourist amenities. Marketing the city tourism in Rourkela must be as both science and art, or a complex interplay of the two. Right marketing channels have to be developed and the network for distribution and promotion of for the tourism products at regional and national level has to be understood. Attaining the mix right in the context of a regional destination and maintaining flexibility in the approach will most certainly drive performance (Smiths, 2003).

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Marketing and advertising a certain geographical area in Rourkela city is essential for informing and convincing potential tourists to visit that area. As target group orientation is considered a prerequisite for good market communication, it is essential for the city to be aware of the frame of reference within which its promotional efforts are interpreted.

Tourism basically entails a search for that which is extraordinary (Urry, 1990) compared to one’s everyday life and environment. Hence contrasts would be materialized between the orientations of the supply side and the demand side in a tourism context in the city. This line of reasoning is sustained by Viken & Jacobsen (1997), who hold that culture specific experiences are a necessary contrast to our standardized everyday life. Faced with the growing global competition where destinations are becoming highly substitutable, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) are in a constant battle to attract travelers (Pike and Ryan, 2004 in Ekinci, 2006).As places seek to become distinctive, Rourkela as a city will be viewed as a viable metaphor for understanding tourists’ perceptions of its places and for crafting a unique destination identity. The city tourist destination may be viewed as an amalgam of individual products and experiences that will be combined to form the total experience of the area visited. Past research has demonstrated that destination image has both cognitive and affective components. (Kotler in Ekinci, 2006) Although destination image has been acknowledged to consist of both affective and cognitive components, past research has also shown a direct connection between a destination’s image and the trend of tourists recommending it through word of mouth, (Ekinci, 2006) and also a direct connection between the destination’s image and tourists expectations (Middleton, 2001). So, it is vital to create and observe Rourkela’s personality in order to position and differentiate it on the tourist market. This can be done through a whole set of marketing techniques including publicity and imaging. Very often, mature destinations rest on past laurels, forgetting that re-examination of their marketing and communication strategies and the willingness to implement change are their last hope in an increasing global market, where world-wide competition brings challenges everyday (Minghetti, 2001). In the same way, the destination Rourkela needs to identify target markets and create a unique brand platform to enter competition. In addition to that, the gain of a global competitive advantage also requires the development of local partnerships which allow the city to gain greater market power on intermediaries and other external factors. To ensure competitive advantage, the city has to offer its potential tourists a certain degree of attraction and tourist experience superior to other alternative destinations. The competitive advantage would relate to such created items as the tourism infrastructure (hotels, attractions, transport network) and amenities, festivals and events, the quality of management, skills of workers, and so on.

The city destination’s image and Brand image “In terms of tourism destination branding, provenance is even more critical because countries pre-exist any identities crafted for them by marketers and neither their advertisers nor consumers can have objective views of them” (Morgan & Pritchard, 2001, p. 281 in Therkelsen, 2001). Informing tourists before and after they reach a destination is considered a marketing component. In a city like Rourkela, it is important to create and transmit an adequate image of the city, based on the primary attractions, the facilities and the other available services. The image has to be as close to reality as possible, so that tourists won’t be disappointed but carefully so that they don’t get a wrong idea either. Beerli and Martın (2003) introduced nine dimensions with attributes determining the perceived tourist destination image, such as natural resources, general infrastructure, tourist infrastructure, tourist leisure and recreation, culture, history and art, political and economic factors, natural environment, social environment and the atmosphere of the place. All these dimensions have to be included in Rourkela for creating the brand image of the city. The organic image of the city should be based on the non-commercial sources of information, such as news of the destination in the media, information received, and opinions of friends and relatives. The induced image must be based on commercial sources of information, like different forms of advertising and information from travel agents and tour operators. As Hannigan (2003) suggests,

‘A successful brand of the city’s tourism should be instantly recognizable, play on the desire for comfort and certainty and provide a point of identification for consumers in a crowded market-place”. Major events have become a particular valuable form of cultural currency, particularly in terms of their image effects. As Hall (1992, p. 14) states that major events of the Rourkela city also have the effect of a shaping an image of the host community or country, leading to its favourable perception as a potential travel destination”. This potential has been a reason for events being used as an image- enhancement tool, particularly for large cities” (Law, 1993; Holcomb, 1993; 1999; Sassen and Roost, 1999; Judd and Fainstein, 1999; Selby, 2003 in Richards, 2004).

Competence is characterized by attributes such as intelligence, reliability, security and confidence. Sophistication is personified by attributes such as glamor, upper class, good looks and charm. Finally, ruggedness is typified by traits such as tough, outdoorsy, masculine and western! (Ekinci, 2006). Faced with growing global competition where destinations are becoming highly substitutable, destinations are increasingly embracing branding initiatives such as the use of taglines and logos in order to attract visitors and expenditures to their respective destination (Blain, Levy and Ritchie, 2005 in Ekincy, 2006). As places seek to become distinctive, destination personality of the Rourkela city will be viewed as a viable metaphor for understanding tourists’ perceptions of places and for crafting a unique identity (Caprara in Ekinci, 2006).

Conclusion-the importance of city tourism marketing in urban development

In the contemporary conditions of globalised economy, cities are in even greater competition, than they were in the recent past, in trying to attract investments, business, residents and tourism. To deal with this competition, urban management must be made with entrepreneurial rationale. It must be strategic and market-oriented. Thus, it was inevitable that marketing strategies in Rourkela city would be introduced into all levels of planning, but mainly into urban planning and tourism planning. The main targets of a marketing strategy are the success in attracting tourists, investors & the businesses in field of tourism. The four main activities of marketing city tourism in Rourkela must include the design of the provided services and the particular characteristics of the city, the definition of motives for its potential tourists, the efficient distribution of its tourism products and the efficient promotion of its image. Further segmentation of the market will play important role in the correct choice of target markets.

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The most common city tourism marketing strategies are city tourism branding, flagship project construction and mega-event hosting. In order to achieve this goal, the Rourkela city must use actions as tools; factors like the recognition of its strengths and weaknesses, market surveys, promotional policies and cooperation between local actors.

Marketing process must be evaluated within the framework of urban management. Marketing city tourism plays an even greater role as tourism destinations are now dealt with as products. In the framework of marketing processes, time planning also has an important impact. As far as it concerns urban governance, the role and contribution of local authorities is particularly important in designing promotional strategies for the city and promoting its image at an international level. Co-operation between local stakeholders is of great significance. The way in which the city must be administrated is a networked system of urban governance, in which all sectors and geographical levels participate, each with their own specific role.

In order to be successful, a marketing strategy must fulfill certain requirements, which means the city must understand the changes in the wider environment, the needs, desires and choice behaviours of their target-markets, to create a realistic vision for their future and regeneration, to come up with an action plan in order to achieve this vision, to achieve consensus of the involved actors and to evaluate at each stage the progress made.

Marketing city tourism is an integral part of urban planning for cities that wish to be really competitive in today’s conditions. A properly designed and implemented marketing plan can help the city to promote its competitive advantages, in order to succeed in the sector that is indeed more powerful than its global competitors. It seems that, if the previous years were those of human specialization, now we live in the era of city specialization.

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