• Classifying residents' roles as online place-ambassadors

      Uchinaka, S.; Yoganathan, Vignesh; Osburg, V-S (2018)
      Residents are pivotal in the competitiveness of tourism destinations. Yet, their role as place-brand ambassadors needs better understanding, particularly in relation to social media, which directly link visitors to residents through user-generated-content (UGC). This paper explores residents’ roles as place-brand ambassadors on Twitter, using the case of Onomichi (Japan), where decreasing population meets economic dependence on tourism. From a content analysis of residents’ tweets, four distinct roles are identified, and corresponding types of content are mapped on a two-dimensional continuum based on direct vs. indirect word-of-mouth and the level of sentiment. Authors discuss implications for Destination Management Organizations (DMOs). Findings highlight the increasingly shifting role of residents towards being primary sources of place-marketing, especially due to social media, and as active proponents (rather than passive targets) of place-branding in the digital age. Such organic place-marketing may be the key to sustaining tourism in the face of rising anti-tourist sentiments worldwide.