CHALLENGES OF NATION RE-BRANDING SYRIA: PERSPECTIVES OF SYRIAN TOURISM SUPPLIERS
Keywords:Branding, Nation Rebranding, Tourism, Conflict, Syria.
This paper examined the marketing strategies and directions of the Syrian Ministry of Tourism (MOT) since the start of the war in 2011, and also to identify the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing the nation branding strategy and changing its prolonged negative image related with the war, and terrorism at the tourism level. By using the case study approach, and conducting eight semi-structured interviews with officials and workers in the public-private tourism sector, a SWOT analysis was performed. The paper concluded that MOT has adopted the strategic approach in setting plans to resume the tourism sector on the strategic term, targeting the markets of friendly countries, and activating cultural, religious and domestic tourism. It was also found adopting a collective amnesia approach, as it did not refer to the products of war in its marketing programmes. The most prominent challenges were: lack of awareness of the concept of nation branding, development of legislative and regulatory frameworks for infrastructure restoration, lack of effective participation of stakeholders and the economic sanctions imposed by the US and EU. So, the importance of this study is that it is the first of its kind that examines in-depth the MOT’ plans and the challenges of implementing the nation brand strategy in Syria.