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Classifying residents’ roles as online place-ambassadors

Uchinaka, Sanae; Yoganathan, Vignesh; Osburg, Victoria-Sophie


Sanae Uchinaka

Vignesh Yoganathan

Victoria-Sophie Osburg


Residents are pivotal in the competitiveness of tourism destinations. Yet, their role as place-brand ambassadors needs better understanding, particularly in relation to social media, which directly link visitors to residents through user-generated-content (UGC). This paper explores residents' roles as place-brand ambassadors on Twitter, using the case of Onomichi (Japan), where decreasing population meets economic dependence on tourism. From a content analysis of residents’ tweets, four distinct roles are identified, and corresponding types of content are mapped on a two-dimensional continuum based on direct vs. Indirect word-of-mouth and the level of sentiment. Authors discuss implications for Destination Management Organizations (DMOs). Findings highlight the increasingly shifting role of residents towards being primary sources of place-marketing, especially due to social media, and as active proponents (rather than passive targets) of place-branding in the digital age. Such organic place-marketing may be the key to sustaining tourism in the face of rising anti-tourist sentiments worldwide.


Uchinaka, S., Yoganathan, V., & Osburg, V. (2019). Classifying residents’ roles as online place-ambassadors. Tourism Management, 71, 137-150.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 8, 2018
Online Publication Date Oct 15, 2018
Publication Date Apr 1, 2019
Deposit Date Oct 9, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 16, 2020
Print ISSN 0261-5177
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 71
Pages 137-150
Keywords Residents; Place Marketing; Destination branding; Word-of-mouth; Social media
Public URL
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