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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.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 1, 2019
Print ISSN 0261-5177
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 71
Pages 137-150
APA6 Citation Uchinaka, S., Yoganathan, V., & Osburg, V. (2019). Classifying residents’ roles as online place-ambassadors. Tourism Management, 71, 137-150. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2018.10.008
Keywords Residents; Place Marketing; Destination branding; Word-of-mouth; Social media
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