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Digital Marketing of Bulgarian Natural Heritage for Tourism and Recreation

1
Geography of Tourism Department, Faculty of Geology and Geography, Sofia University ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’, 1504 Sofia, Bulgaria
2
Landscape Ecology Department, Faculty of Geology and Geography, Sofia University ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’, 1504 Sofia, Bulgaria
3
National Institute of Geophysics, Geodesy and Geography—Geography Department, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: William Frodella
Sustainability 2021, 13(23), 13071; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313071
Received: 27 October 2021 / Revised: 19 November 2021 / Accepted: 22 November 2021 / Published: 25 November 2021
The need for a closer and enhanced connection with nature, as the basis for human wellbeing, reinforces the importance of natural heritage governance, including wider and much improved access to information about nature-based tourism and recreation. This research seeks to reveal how Internet content can support the digital identification of nature sites and their branding as tourist destinations. To this end, it analyzes 20 exemplary websites, each known around the world, and highlights important current trends in the structuring and attractiveness of the information provided. Based on the devised benchmarking criteria, the study develops a benchmarking approach that improves digital “packaging” and marketing of natural heritage for the purposes of tourism, recreation, leisure, and sports, and then tests it in Bulgaria. The procedure includes the selection of 57 natural heritage sites and rating the content of their official websites. The results show an unsatisfactory level of representation of the heritage value of the Bulgarian NH and a severe depreciation of the provision of the necessary tourism and recreation information, in comparison to the selected global benchmark. Besides the outline of the most frequent gaps and shortcomings, the results provide managers with suggestions about the development of a “natural heritage” brand for tourism and recreation, which features amplification of site identity and messaging, plus enhancement of its visibility. The conclusions are applicable to a wide variety of geographical contexts and audiences in nature-based destination governance. View Full-Text
Keywords: natural heritage sites; benchmarking; heritage-based tourism and recreation; ecosystem services; branding natural heritage sites; benchmarking; heritage-based tourism and recreation; ecosystem services; branding
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MDPI and ACS Style

Mitova, R.; Borisova, B.; Koulov, B. Digital Marketing of Bulgarian Natural Heritage for Tourism and Recreation. Sustainability 2021, 13, 13071. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313071

AMA Style

Mitova R, Borisova B, Koulov B. Digital Marketing of Bulgarian Natural Heritage for Tourism and Recreation. Sustainability. 2021; 13(23):13071. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313071

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mitova, Radenka, Bilyana Borisova, and Boian Koulov. 2021. "Digital Marketing of Bulgarian Natural Heritage for Tourism and Recreation" Sustainability 13, no. 23: 13071. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313071

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