Bolivia: The development of a sustainable destination brand

Vigdis A. Qvale & Ingibjörg Björnsdóttir

Student thesis: Master thesis


Bolivia is the second poorest country in South America, with few incoming tourists. However, tourism can be an important source of income for a developing country. Poverty alleviation through tourism can be achieved through tourism types as community-based tourism. However, Bolivia is currently a rather unknown tourist destination, with a destination brand that is not competitive on the global market, despite being rich in tourism offerings. The destination brand is what convinces a tourist to visit a destination, which is a complex decision, thus giving the brand a high importance. Therefore, in order for Bolivia to increase its income through tourism and potentially alleviate poverty, the destination brand of Bolivia should be improved. Destination brands are created through a process, conducted by the destination management organization of a destination. Theories on destination branding process argue that word-of-mouth, created by the tourists experience at the destination, is crucial to a destination competiveness, and therefore the destination branding should be based on the host community at the destination, as these are the ones who are creating the experience together with the tourist. However, in order to be successful, a coherent marketing of the brand is important as well. In the thesis, the destination branding process executed in Bolivia was analyzed, based on and challenging theories, in order to conclude on recommendation to Bolivia to follow in order to develop a successful destination brand which might lead to poverty alleviation. These recommendations were, summarized: (1) Collect the desired image of independent DMOs and organizations working with tourism-related development, and the word-of-mouth of actual tourist. (2) Conduct a positioning process, deciding on target market, and develop an extensive marketing plan. (3) Focus the brand on the (a) unifying characteristics representing the experience, (b) suiting market segment (c) responding to negative word-of-mouth, (d) attracting tourist to communitybased tourism. (4) Market the destination brand to the host community through public advertisement and stakeholder management (travel agencies and embassies), focus on websites with search engine optimization and public relations with travel magazines, as well as market community tourism to tourist in the country. (5) Implement the actions in the National Community Tourism Program. In addition, the market segments interested in community tourism, independent travels and authentic experiences are recommended.

EducationsMSocSc in Service Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages131