The importance of destination image analysis to UK rural tourism

Nicola Greaves, Heather Skinner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The Forest of Dean attracts relatively low numbers of staying visitors and low visitor spend. The paper aims to explore the image of this destination and identify the potential to visit along with any underlying factors that may deter visitors.

    A mix of qualitative and quantitative methods were used to gather and analyse responses to an online survey. Respondents offered a range of words and pictures from which they were asked to select those they felt best represented the destination, and also then asked to explain their selection. Quantitative data were also analysed for frequency of occurrence. A content analysis of qualitative data was conducted to generate destination image clusters of the Forest of Dean.

    The findings show there is a very positive and unique image associated with the Forest of Dean among previous visitors, with many expressing an intention to visiting the area again.

    Research limitations/implications
    Although response rates are relatively low, and results are heavily concentrated on actual visitors, the research provides very broad ranging and meaningful data that have offered a deeper and richer insight into the image of the Forest of Dean.

    Practical implications
    The paper has provided important data from which new competitive brand image strategies can be developed for the destination. The paper also provides a first step towards a comprehensive image analysis for the Forest of Dean, from which future promotional strategies can be developed.

    Many visitor guides promote UK rural destinations on their superb scenery, relaxation, outdoor leisure activities, quality accommodation, locally-sourced food, a range of attractions and a full calendar of events and festivals. To date there has been very little research carried out on UK rural destination brands and no academic research carried out on the image or branding of the Forest of Dean as a unique rural destination.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)486 - 507
    Number of pages21
    JournalMarketing Intelligence and Planning
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


    • brand image
    • tourism
    • rural areas
    • forests
    • United Kingdom
    • Forest of Dean
    • UK rural destination brands


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