Interview with Federico Moreno-Nickerson
We asked Federico Moreno-Nickerson, Vice President of Development, Apple Leisure Group, to share his take on the key trends affecting place branding.
CNP: Why do you think that this is a good time to be launching City Nation Place Latin America & Caribbean to bring together national, regional and city place branders to explore the unique challenges that the region faces?
FM: The economic importance of travel & tourism in the region in undeniable. According to WTTC, travel & tourism in the LATAM and Caribbean regions combined in 2017 represented nearly US$ 400 BN a year and over 9% of GDP. In a majority of countries in the Caribbean region, tourism supports more than 25% of the economy, and tourism dependence is on the rise. In recent years, a vast part of this region’s travel & tourism industry has been adversely impacted by a common event. Zika, devastating hurricanes, etc. It is time for the benefit of all to share and learn both best practices and success stories.
CNP: What do you consider to be the biggest challenge facing place branding and marketing teams working for cities, states and places across Latin America and the Caribbean?
FM: Consensus, commitment and continuity. The biggest challenge for the travel & tourism community is to work together and join in unison at city, regional, and national levels to successfully create and deploy a well-defined, coherent, long-term, branding and marketing strategies designed to increase the number of regional / international visitors.
CNP: How are international perceptions of Latin America and the Caribbean changing on the world stage? Is this affecting your own place brand strategy?
FM: Perception in the eyes of the United States consumer, is reality. The US remains the largest travel market and the biggest opportunity in the region. The 24-hour news cycle these days is characterized by repetitive, very superficial and incomplete coverage of events and often favours negative situations that are grossly overstated. This new reality adversely impacts the image of travel destinations in general. Social media has further accentuated this new reality we need to address. There needs to be a carefully crafted, well targeted and effective multi-media communications campaign, incorporating social media, in order to share relevant and pertinent facts, in an effort to achieve balance with the negative content and information disseminated in all media. A great opportunity lies with the new generations. Millennials and Generation Nexters, particularly those living the United States, seek exotic destinations that offer diverse cultural experiences in terms of culinary choices, music offering, and local traditions.
CNP: What do you see as being the key difference between place branding and place marketing?
FM: Place branding has two important building blocks: First, to articulate a unique value proposition for the place / city / nation in regional and global contexts; and second, research to identify suitable socio-economic target markets. Place marketing is about attracting new and repeat visitors by effectively communicating the Unique Value Proposition locally, regionally, and internationally.