Crisis Communication and Battling Stereotypes of Terror and Wars: Media Strategies for Attracting Tourism to Middle Eastern Countries

TitleCrisis Communication and Battling Stereotypes of Terror and Wars: Media Strategies for Attracting Tourism to Middle Eastern Countries
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Avraham, E.
Affiliation (1st Author)University of Haifa
Section or WGCrisis Communication Working Group
DateFri 28 June
Slot CodeCRIF4a
Slot Code (Keyword)CRIF4a
Time of Session16:00-17:30
RoomHG17
Session TitlePolitics, Culture and Crisis Communication
Submission ID4905
Abstract

The constant media coverage of the Middle East in terms of conflicts, terror attacks and wars affects the public image of countries in this area. Very often, small incidents that occur in one of the countries in the area result in a prolonged tourism crisis in most of the neighboring countries. Recovery from the crisis presents a major challenge for local decision makers. While the impact of a negative image on destinations has been discussed in the theoretical literature, there is a lack of studies concerning the image restoration strategies used by marketers in general and those dealing with the Middle East specifically.In order to uncover the strategies used by Middle Eastern marketers to restore a positive image to their respective countries and thus bring back tourism, the following three research questions were asked: 1. What public relations crisis techniques and advertising campaign components, such as text, slogans, and visuals, have been used by Middle Eastern marketers in order to combat their respective countries’ negative image characteristics? 2. What media policy and relationships with the international media have been adopted by Middle Eastern officials? 3. Which marketing initiatives (such as cultural and sports events or hosting leaders) have been promoted by Middle Eastern marketers? In order to answer these questions we can use many models in the field of crisis communication, where several existing models provide suggestions on how organizations can restore their image. we adopted the "multi-step model for altering place image" (Avraham & Ketter, 2008*), which suggests analyzing the use of the SAM (Source, Audience, Message) strategy by officials and marketers so as to perform an integral and holistic analysis to truly understand how places react to image crises. The study is based on a qualitative content analysis of four types of data: (1) advertising components; (2) press interviews with Middle Eastern officials and marketers; (3) official media policy adopted by governmental decision-makers; and (4) marketing initiatives. While at first glance, the variety of the types of data may indicate a lack of focus, the idea is to analyze the central tools used by countries’ marketers and officials to restore their countries’ image. These include a relatively broad range of tools, including ads, press interviews, statements and reactions to press inquiries, media policy and marketing initiatives. These tools were located during a ten-year period (2002-2011). The items that were included in the sample contain information on the marketing strategies of Middle Eastern countries, advertisements, and marketing initiatives taken after or during a tourism crisis. The analysis shows that Middle Eastern marketers employed three types of strategies in order to restore a positive image: source, message and audience.* Avraham, E. and E. Ketter (2008). Media strategies for marketing places in crises: Improving the image of cities, countries and tourist destinations. Oxford, England: Butterworth Heinemann.

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