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Methodological Aspects Regarding the Quantification of the Role Of Tourism Promotion Centers in Creating the Destination Image in Romania

Aspects méthodologiques concernant la quantification du rôle des centres de promotion du tourisme dans la création de l'image de la destination en Roumanie
Aspectos metodológicos sobre la cuantificación del papel de los centros de promoción turística en la creación de la imagen de destino en Rumania
Grigore Vasile Herman, Dorina Camelia Ilieș, Răzvan Dumbravă, Jan Wendt et Alexandru Ilieș

Résumés

La présente étude a pour objectif de créer et de mettre en œuvre une méthodologie permettant de quantifier les fonctions des centres d’information et de promotion touristiques dans la création de l’image de destination touristique. Ce desideratum découle de la nécessité d’une allocation judicieuse des ressources nécessaires à la construction et au fonctionnement de telles structures, en corrélation étroite avec la nécessité de les mettre en œuvre compte tenu de la répartition spatiale. Ainsi, à partir de 10 indicateurs de définition (10 attributions), un modèle de quantification du rôle du Centre national d’information et de tourisme touristiques (TIPC) a été créé pour quatre niveaux de valeur (insignifiant, mineur, moyen et majeur), modèle qui a ensuite été appliqué à tous les répondants NTIPC en Roumanie. Selon la méthodologie développée dans la présente étude, il est clair que les NTIPC jouent un rôle mineur dans la création et la promotion de l'image de la destination touristique, alors qu'au niveau particulier, la situation est relativement similaire, avec l’existence de particularités les définissant, qui sont dissociées de l'analyse de chaque centre d'information et de promotion touristique.

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Entrées d’index

Index géographique :

Roumanie
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Texte intégral

Introduction

1Tourist Information and Promotion Centers are specialized structures with well-established roles and functions (according to the romanian legislation in force), which operate under the local and county councils (The Ministry Order 1096, 2008). They represent the interface between tourist demand and supply, respectively among tourists and the tourist destination area, with the aim of creating and fortifying the image of the destination (Chaşovschi et al., 2016; Herman et al., 2018).

2The tourist destinations are spatial entities, of different shapes and dimensions, defined by a well-outlined time and space tourism process. In the emergence and evolution of tourist destinations, TIPC has an important contribution, through the functions performed. The main functions of the tourist information centers are: diseminating information (regarding tourist objectives, local offer of accommodation, local public transport, tourist guide services), organizing (of local and regional tourist exhibitions and general internal and external marketing activities), tourist counseling (on the choice of various local, regional and national tourism products), cooperation (with local, regional and central tourism institutions) and research (analysis studies, planning, local tourism development and tourism marketing, etc.) (The Ministry Order 1096, 2008, paragraph 4.1). The way in which TIPC defining functions are fulfilled is indirectly reflected in a number of representative aspects of tourism behavior (Cai et al., 2004; Connell and Reynolds, 1999; Fesenmaier, 1994; Wong and McKercher, 2011; Tierney, 1993).

3For example, the counseling and information functions attributed to tourism information and promotion centers are designed to facilitate: identification and evaluation of options before purchasing decisions (Moutinho, 1987); shaping and making a substantiated decision regarding the purchase and implicit consumption of a tourist product, increasement of the duration of the tourist act in the destination area (Fesenmaier et al., 1993; Tierney, 1993), by enhancing the quality of the travel experience (McIntosh and Goeldner, 1990) and optimization of available resources (Capella and Greco, 1987; Fodness and Murray, 1997, 1999; Gitelson and Crompton, 1983). Therefore, TIPCs are indispensable entities, structural components, essential to the tourist phenomenon with implications in the emergence, affirmation and promotion of local tourist destinations. Through their roles and functions they contribute to the development of local economies (Herman et al., 2017; Ilie et al., 2017), in the spirit of a sustainable and responsible development of the territory (Herman et al., 2016a, 2016b; Ilieș et al., 2014, 2015, 2017). This is more necessary since tourism has proved to be a viable local economic alternative for some geographical areas. Economic viability derives from the superior capacity of tourism to capitalize on a number of environmental elements specific to the place (Black and Veloutsou, 2017; Del Biaggio, 2015; Dincă et al., 2012; Downey, 2017; Filimon et al., 2011; Hayward and Kuwahara, 2014; Helga, 2016; Herman, 2012; Herman and Wendt, 2011; Herman and Gherman, 2016; Herman and Benchiș, 2017; Ilieș et al., 2009, 2010, 2016, 2018a, 2018b, 2018c; Stașac and Herman, 2010; Tătar and Herman, 2013; Tu et al., 2012), characterized by uniqueness, novelty and sometimes by size and old age (Cocean, 2007).

4On this background, we can say that identifying and creating a mechanism to quantify the role and importance of NTIPC in creating the image of a tourist destination is a priority order. Otherwise, we risk repeating some errors made willingly or unintentionally in the past. It is sufficed to recall the results and benefits of the implementation of structural funds related to the “Regional Operational Program 2007-2013; Priority axis: 5. Sustainable development and tourism promotion; Major area of intervention: 5.3. Promote the tourist potential and create the necessary infrastructure, in order to increase the attractiveness of Romania as a tourist destination, the Operation Creation of National Tourist Information Centers (NTIC) and its endowment”.

5It is well-known that the recent development of tourist information centers in various areas, especially rural ones, was made without a prior analysis of the needs for such infrastructure or a judicious analysis of the resources that these centers will use. Hence, the role of these centers becomes a decorative one, generating an impression of inefficient management of resources and a negative image of public perception of this type of investment.

Work Methodology

  • 1 Available at the following link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSecZh2iwuU_6v8YSLbWjbDAAx (...)

6In order to quantify the role of NTIPCs in creating the destination image in Romania, 10 evaluation criteria were used (Table 1). These were derived from the items that entered the structure of the questionnaire on "the role and importance of information and promotion centers in creating the image of a tourist destination". Each of the 10 items consisted of an evaluation criterion, with a value equal to 1 (Table 1). Based on them, a value scale was created for the NTIPC role, with ranges between: 1 and 4 points (insignificant role); 5 and 6 points (minor role); 7 and 8 points (average role); 9 and 10 points (major role). The necessary information was obtained using the research method based on questionnaires. (Babbie, 2010; Bar et al., 2016; Bryman, 2012; Chelcea, 2007; Ilieș et al., 2015; Tătar et al., 2018). During the period starting with October 1st, 2017 and ending with April 20, 2018, the representatives of «tourist promotion and information centers in Romania, financed through the Regional Operational Program 2007-2013; Priority axis: 5. Sustainable development and tourism promotion; Major area of intervention: 5.3. Promote the tourism potential and create the necessary infrastructure, in order to increase the attractiveness of Romania as a tourist destination, the operation Creation of National Tourist Information Centers (NTIC) and their endowment» were consulted. Through the methodology TIPC officers were asked (via a message, e-mail, telephone) to provide the necessary information, by completing an on-line questionnaire analising “the role and importance of information and promotion centers in creating the image of a tourist destination1. Although the requested information is “public, and the information center employees should provide it to any applicant”, only 35 tourist information and promotion centers (31% of all the centers questioned) responded to the invitation to complete the questionnaire. Therefore, we mention that the relevance and representativeness of this study is closely correlated with the number of centers that provided the requested information on the one hand and the quality of the information provided on the other.

Results and Discussions

7The analysis of the situation about the role of NTIPCs in Romania highlighted the existence of some malfunctions regarding the access to the public transport infrastructure, the tourist guiding activity, the recommendation for local tourist products, local tourist circulation and other defining aspects in creating the image of tourist destination. A better situation was recorded in the accommodation infrastructure, the tourism exhibitions, the existence of the tourist destinations and in the the aspects regarding tourist attractions and promoting materials. At this level, Romania is well represented (Fig. 1, table 1).

Figure 1. Distribution of the numerical values of the analyzed indicators

Figure 1. Distribution of the numerical values of the analyzed indicators

Table 1. Criteria used to quantify the role of tourism promotion and information centers

Crt. no.

Relevant criteria in shaping the role of tourist information and promotion centers in creating the tourist destination image - Romania

Nominal value

Total value 1

The NTIPC role

No.

%

No.

%

1

Tourist attractions

1

10

34

97

Major

2

Tourist promotion materials

1

10

35

100

Major

3

Accommodation infrastructure

1

10

25

71

Mediu

4

Tourists access to public transport infrastructure

1

10

18

51

Minor

5

Tour guiding activity

1

10

21

60

Minor

6

Tourist exhibitions

1

10

26

74

Medium

7

Recommended local tourist products

1

10

19

54

Minor

8

Local tourist circulation

1

10

20

57

Minor

9

Other defining aspects in creating a tourist destination image

1

10

16

45

Insignificant

10

The existence of tourist destinations

1

10

29

82

Medium

Total

10

100

243

69

Minor

1 Total value 350 points (1 point for each criterion for the 35 analyzed tourist information and promotion centers)

Figure 2. Quantification of the studied indicators to highlight the role of NTIPC in promoting the image of tourist destination

Figure 2. Quantification of the studied indicators to highlight the role of NTIPC in promoting the image of tourist destination

8Following the quantification of the role and importance of NTIPCs in creating the image of tourist destination - Romania, according to the methodology elaborated in the present study, it is clear that TIPCs have a minor role (Table 1, Fig. 2). This resulted from the quantification of the score obtained (243 points, 69%) for each of the 10 indicators analyzed at the level of the 35 respondent centers (1 point for each indicator, a total of 350 points).

9A relatively similar situation, with some particularities, is also detached from the analysis of each tourist information and promotion center, in part (Fig. 3). However, we can observe the existence of TIPCs that have a well-defined role in promoting the image of tourist destination (Arad county National Tourist Information and Promotion Center, Sighetu Marmatiei National Tourist Information and Promotion Center, Predeal National Tourist Information and Promotion Center, Zarnesti National Tourist Information and Promotion Center, Sinaia National Tourist Information and Promotion Center, Bihor County National Tourist Information and Promotion Center etc.), while others are on the opposite side (Darmanesti National Tourist Information and Promotion Center, Cluj National Tourist Information and Promotion Center, Teiuş National Tourist Information and Promotion Center, etc.).

10NTIPC's analysis of their role in promoting the image of tourist destination revealed the existence of four categories of values: insignificant (10%); minor (40%); medium (30%) and major (20%). Regarding their distribution on landscape typology, we observe the information centers concentration in mountain areas, followed by the ones found on hill areas and plain areas. From the spatial point of view, NTIPC's respondents are located on the territory of 17 county administrative territorial units, in the major urban centers (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. NTIPC's distribution according to their role in promoting the image of the tourist destination

Figure 3. NTIPC's distribution according to their role in promoting the image of the tourist destination

Conclusions

11Tourist Information and Promotion Centers are areas of interference and influence between tourists / potential tourists and the tourist destination, where tourists can make decisions about spending their holiday. The main attributions of NTIPC are information and tourism promotion. In addition to these tasks, there is still a need to plan and prioritize public investments in tourism and related sectors, to inventory tourism resources, to continually update information and to carry out quantitative and qualitative studies on tourist traffic, generating real information on visitor profile, etc. These studies should be the base of the action plan, type of activities and promotional materials in the tourist information centers.

12Creating the image of a tourist destination for a certain area is the result of concerted activities, aiming at a unitary tourist promotion. This is often non-existent at the level of tourist information centers. The tourist promotion activity should be part of a tourism development strategy, being part of the destination marketing plan. If the promotion is random, the results are often unsatisfactory, the efforts being in more cases without a real impact. Many tourist destinations have identity and uniqueness and the Tourist Information Centers play their role in direct transmission of this information to the target audience, as there is already created a brand of the destination and a prioritization of the tourism resources, bringing in front what differentiates it from competition. If these elements do not exist, they must be created. NTIPC's are playing an important role in identifying them.

13With this backdrop, as a result of the quantification of NTIPCs role in Romania in the creation of the image of tourist destination, based on the methodology developed in the present study, it was revealed that there were some disfunctions regarding the access to the public transport infrastructure, the tourist guiding activity, the reccomendation for local tourist products, local tourist traffic and other defining aspects in creating the image of tourist destination. These malfunctions in quantitative and qualitative extent have highlighted the minor role of NTIPCs in Romania in creating the tourist destination image. The analysis of each center reveals a situation similar to that existing in the whole country, with some exceptions (the National Tourist Information and Promotion Center of Arad County, Sighetu Marmatiei National Tourist Information and Promotion Center, Predeal National Tourist Information and Promotion Center, Zarnesti National Tourist Information and Promotion Center, Sinaia National Tourist Information and Promotion Center, Bihor National Tourist Information and Promotion Center etc.).

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Notes

1 Available at the following link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSecZh2iwuU_6v8YSLbWjbDAAxtD6eBMMSIV8i8vA14DG0taQ/viewform

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1. Distribution of the numerical values of the analyzed indicators
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/16642/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 13k
Titre Figure 2. Quantification of the studied indicators to highlight the role of NTIPC in promoting the image of tourist destination
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/16642/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 208k
Titre Figure 3. NTIPC's distribution according to their role in promoting the image of the tourist destination
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/16642/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 160k
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Référence électronique

Grigore Vasile Herman, Dorina Camelia Ilieș, Răzvan Dumbravă, Jan Wendt et Alexandru Ilieș, « Methodological Aspects Regarding the Quantification of the Role Of Tourism Promotion Centers in Creating the Destination Image in Romania », Études caribéennes [En ligne], 43-44 | Août-Décembre 2019, mis en ligne le 24 novembre 2019, consulté le 14 décembre 2019. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/16642 ; DOI : 10.4000/etudescaribeennes.16642

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Auteurs

Grigore Vasile Herman

University of Oradea, Department of Geography, Tourism and Territorial Planning, grigoreherman@yahoo.com

Dorina Camelia Ilieș

University of Oradea, Department of Geography, Tourism and Territorial Planning, iliesdorina@yahoo.com

Răzvan Dumbravă

PH.D candidate, University of Oradea, Department of Geography, Tourism and Territorial Planning, razvid@yahoo.com

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Jan Wendt

Gdańsk University, Faculty of Oceanography and Geography, Institute of Geography, Bażyńskiego St. 4, 80-309 Gdańsk, Poland, jan.wendt@ug.edu.pl

Alexandru Ilieș

University of Oradea, Department of Geography, Tourism and Territorial Planning,

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