A Theoretical Reflection on the Importance of Branding to Promote Thermal Destinations





Tourism Destination, Branding Strategy, Strategic Communication, Thermalism


Based on a Systematic Literature Review (SLR), the aim of this article is to present a conceptual approach to the importance of communication in thermal destinations. Through an in-depth analysis of scientific publications, characteristics of thermalism are identified that may be important for the creation of a brand strategy to promote thermal destinations.

An SLR was conducted, using the PRISMA Statement method, carried out in May 2021 using the Web of Science and Scopus databases. A total of 133 articles were found, of which only 31 were used for the qualitative analysis. EndNote20 and Nvivo software were used to identify the articles for the study, their analysis and systematisation of the collected information.

The results, among others, identified important characteristics of thermalism, presenting a framework of destination attributes in the international context of thermalism. By elaborating a conceptual model contributes to identifying operationalised strategies and guidelines impacting on publications for the strategic creation of a thermal destination brand. The main contribution of this study is to leverage the characteristics of thermalism to generate unique and differentiating brands that reflect the way customers perceive them, providing relevant findings for better understanding of the destination perspective in the international thermal tourism context for future research and the practices of a destination's tourism communication strategy. The analysis highlights the need to develop further knowledge in a sector with great potential for growth, the thermalism.

Author Biographies

Vera Antunes, Universidade da Beira Interior, LabCom

Vera Antunes, attending a PhD in Communication Sciences at the University of Beira Interior, with the work plan entitled "The Influence of Strategic Communication in the Projection of Portugal as a Thermal Tourism Destination”, funded by FCT. She is a researcher in LabCom and member of SOPCOM. Her current research interests are strategic communication and thermalism.

Gisela Gonçalves, Universidade da Beira Interior, LabCom

Gisela Gonçalves has a PhD in communication sciences and is professor at the University of Beira Interior, where she coordinates the Master in Strategic Communication: Advertising and Public Relations. She is an integrated researcher in LabCom — Communication and Arts Center. Her current research interests are communication ethics, public relations theory, political and governmental communication.

Cristina Estevão, Universidade da Beira Interior, NECE

Cristina Estevão is Assistant Professor at the University of Beira Interior. She holds a PhD in Management and a post-doctorate in Tourism. She is a researcher at the NECE - Research Center in Business Sciences and her research areas are Management, Competitiveness, Marketing and Strategy. She has already published 2 books, book chapters, as well as several scientific articles at national and international level.



2022-05-11 — Updated on 2022-05-13