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December 10, 2012

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Bruce Dickson

Branding is so closely tied to perceptions.

And the fundamental need for African nations to wholeheartedly look to the value of carefully conceived and effectively executed destination branding would seem to already be linked to an existing limitation. One arising internationally from a common use of language and most likely a lazy one at that.

I am referring to the way so many individual nations on that continent are so consistently morphed together via the singular use of the term 'Africa' or 'African'. (Leaving little behind in the way of distinctive nation based characteristics and associations.)

This could also hold true for the use of the word 'Europe' or 'Asia', but the difference is that most of the individual countries located within these two continents still retain (or have deliberately built) strong presences in their own right, as distinct tourism destinations.

With Africa, ignorance and lack of information flow concerning worldwide knowledge of the continent is undoubtedly one prevailing factor. But another is undoubtedly the nature and focus of so many of the news stories (when they do occur) being so negative and so rarely highlighting the good news where it happens.

Destination branding offers one of the few means to successfully address and change this situation for the better ... with not only individual nations, but Africa at large standing to benefit from the development of new understandings and perceptions. Specially those that more correctly reflect the new realities, the meaningful differences and the new travel opportunities and destination choices.

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