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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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1. Introduction

2. Budapest and Cologne as tourist destinations

Budapest is the capital of Hungary, Cologne on the other side is a city within North-Rhine Westphalia. Both are known as popular destinations in the tourism sector and are attracting the tourists with the uniqueness of their capital. In the following, I will give you an insight, why the two cities are so called tourist destinations and how the number of tourists is developing within these locations.

2.1 Definition of a Tourist Destination

A tourist destination is “a geographic area that attracts visitors” (Morrison, 2013, p. 4) and can be of different sizes. A tourist destination can be a city or a whole country, small villages and provinces as well as states and regions. The destination can be privately owned or can be public prosperity and tourism-stakeholders, such as private enterprises, non-profit organisations, governments and other agencies do profit of the industry. The destinations offer their visitors accommodation possibilities of any kinds and also other tourist facilities like restaurants, sightseeing attractions and events. Also is a tourist destination the “image [that] exists of the place in tourists' mind” (Morrison, 2013, p. 4), which contains perceptions, feelings and experiences about that specific destination and can be accurate or wrong. (Morrison, 2013, p. 4)

2.2 The tourist destination Budapest

Budapest the capital city of Hungary and one of the largest cities in Europe. In 2015 there were about 1.7 million people living in the capital city and the tourism numbers have been increasing over the last years. (UNWTO preliminary data, 2015, p. 2)

Tourism and related incomes make 10% out of Hungary's Gross Domestic Product and in 2015 the country was appointed as “Europe's fastest-growing travel destination” (Euronews, 2016). In total, Hungary's tourists can be divided into 55% foreign visitors and 45% domestic travellers. (Grajzel, 2016)

As statistics show, domestic tourists rather travel to the Lake Balaton (which is Hungary's most popular tourist region, in regard of total guest nights, while for them Budapest is only the second favourite destination.  (UNWTO preliminary data, 2015, p. 5) According to the UNWTO's preliminary data, which is looking at the tourism numbers from January to September 2015, tourist arrivals were about 42.1 %, which is an increase of 6.8% compared to the numbers of 2014 and of which 38.1% guest nights were counted. Over 80% of the tourists were foreign visitors and less then 20% were domestic tourists, visiting the capital city. (UNWTO preliminary data, 2015, p. 4)

All in all, there was also an increase in the tourist numbers from 2015 to 2016 and as the statistics office states, there was an increase of 18% in the number of international visitors and a plus of 5.9% in domestic tourism. (BBJ, 2017)

The motivation of tourists to come to the capital city of Hungary can be of different kinds. VFR tourism makes a large part of the total tourism in the domestic as well as in the international tourism sector. Other reasons may be for recreation, business trips and exhibitions or health tourism or shopping day-trips. (UNWTO preliminary data, 2015, p. 6f.)

There are many reasons to travel to Budapest but apart from the business and health motivation factors, the city offers its visitors a variety of attractions, traditional food and culture. Budapest is often seen as one of the top ten most beautiful cities in Europe but it is also a top worldwide seen destination. For example, according to the U City Guides it is number nine out of ten and its attractions and remarkable architecture and heritage is mainly highlighted in each article. (UCG, n.d.) “The Queen of the Danube” (UCG, n.d.) has a high number of sights like the Castle District and Fishermen's Bastion, the impressive parliament, the State Opera House and the St. Stephan's Basilica. More, the Mátyás Church, Chain Bridge and Váci Street are famous attraction spots in the city. (UCG, n.d.) Despite all the remarkable tourist sights, the city's uniqueness is also defined by the division through the Danube, which splits it into Buda and Pest. Also does the city offer its visitors many green areas and the Citadel on the Gellért Hill as a relaxing area close to the city centre.

Due to the Huffington Post Budapest has 13 unique reasons why it should be visited. Next to the historical buildings and services offered, the Hungarian food and culture as well as the big food markets are attracting pull-factors for tourists to come to the city. (Strutner, 2015)

The Hungarian capital is inviting people also through its affordable prices and good accessibility. It is a travel destination for city-break travellers but also for low-budget travels, due to its central location as a geographic country in the middle of Europe. All in all, it is one of the cheapest main destinations on the continent (PoT, 2017). As mentioned above, the number of tourists is constantly increasing, therefore the national marketing plan of 2014 underlined that main goal was to focus on marketing Hungary as an independent tourism destination and the image should be promoted as broadly as it was possible. (Hungarian Tourism Ltd., 2014)

In this regard, the capacity of accommodations and restaurants has been increased within the last years, to keep up with the growing tourism industry, and the city noticed a growth in net price, which can be a result due to the good rankings in the list of the top worldwide tourist destinations. Additionally, the government established a new tourism diplomacy and direct flights to the capital city were increased with the growing interest of visitors, especially of the Chinese tourism. (Grajzel, 2016)

2.3 Cologne as a tourist destination

Cologne is the city with the largest population within North Rhine-Westphalia but it is either the capital of Germany nor of the state itself. Notwithstanding, the city is a popular tourist destination and attracts a high number of domestic as well as foreign travellers every year. It is the fourth largest city of Germany and attracts its visitors with sights like the Cologne Cathedral, the Chocolate Museum and cultural experiences, like the incomparable nightlife and other events such as carnival. Not only is the city, divided by the Rhine and gives the visitors an relaxing atmosphere, while being in the middle of the centre but it attracts the tourists with an unique view at the Cathedral, while sitting next to the river on the other end of the Hohenzollern Bridge.

 Cologne has also become a destination for business travellers because it gives the location for many trade fairs (Gamescom, Photokina, Art Cologne or the Fitness & Bodybuilding) or business conventions. (EBD, n.d. and KölnTourismus, n.d.)

Figure 1: The development of the number in tourist arrivals and overnight stays in Cologne from 2002 to 2016 (in 1.000)

Source: Statistisches Landesamt. (2017).

Especially, over the weeks of the trade fairs, the tourism in Cologne is high. A few decreasing numbers did occur from time to time but summing it up, the tourism numbers have increased over the past years from 2010 on in general. The tourism number is constantly rising and in 2015 the number of overnight stays reached 5.98 million, an increase of 4.3% compared to the previous year. “The number of arrivals and overnight stays due to business and leisure activities thus rose to a record level” (KölnTourismus, 2016). According to Elisabeth Thelen (Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board), “the number of overnight stays has doubled since 2000” (KölnTourismus, 2016). A gross turnover of about 6.6 billion euros is generated per year by tourism. Nevertheless, the KölnTourismus GmbH's Chief Executive Officer Josef Sommer stated that the number of visitors exceeded the goal for the year of 2015 (KölnTourismus, 2016), which is why the responsible persons are predicting a further development of positive turnover in the tourism industry (Schulz, 2016).

3. Image Theory

“Places compete on attracting visitors, residents, and businesses” (Morgen & Pritchard & Pride, 2011, p. 3) and the factors such as accessibility, accommodations, financial incentives and other tourism infrastructure facilities are present in almost every destination. Therefore, tourism destinations need to stand out of the crowd, while building up a unique destination image and maintaining the good reputation over its competing regions.

3.1 Destination image and its influencing factors

3.2 “Virtuous circle of creative destination reputation”

The image theory is representing a fairly unanalytical extension of decision models, more in the sense of logical thinking ahead after analysing a specific model or situation (Beach, 1990).

When it comes to travel destinations, places are competing with each other, trying to attract as many tourists, domestic and foreign tourists equally. To them, it does not matter for what reasons the people are coming to the destination, may it be for business, leisure or other motivations, it does only matter that the flow of tourism is continuously working, preferably without any decreasing numbers and with making a profitable gross turnover for the industry. (Morgan & Pritchard & Pride, 2011, p. 3)

To maintain the highest number of tourists coming to the destination, there are several influencing factors. First of all, the location itself has to own so called pull-factors, which are attracting the tourists from all over the world or from neighbouring places. As defined previously, a tourist destination can be of different sizes and offers the travellers accommodation possibilities and especially, also, other tourism facilities, such as attractions, restaurants or special events (Morrison, 2013, p. 4). These are, according to Morgan, Pritchard and Pride, the so called ‘hard-factors' and are cornerstones of a destination. Therefore, every kind of destination is able to come up with these influencing factors, without being special. (2011, p. 9)

To make a destination special, there are some ‘soft' factors, to the facilities already given by the destination itself. First, it is involving the environment and the atmosphere, the feeling generated throughout the whole journey, from the moment of booking over the stay and to the post-experience impressions. These factors are a main part of creating a destination image in theory. (Morgan & Pritchard & Pride, 2011, p. 9)

A destination has a positive image, once it is earning the attention of people, is attracting them, has the necessary resources, creates jobs in the tourism sector and is preferable making profits out of the whole tourism industry. It has a competitive advantage to other regions or developed destinations, and it therefore, worth visiting. (Morgan & Pritchard & Pride, 2011, p. 3)

Therefore, the theoretical image is the overall image of a tourist destination, including what it has to offer its visitors in the total experience. The reputation of a destination cannot be measured but the industry's developments, achievements and growth possibilities give a sort of insight whether a destination is doing well or not. Once, it is profitable for every tourist-stakeholder, the reputation of a destination is good. (Morgan & Pritchard & Pride, 2011, p. 9f.)

To be able to create an image theory, different models can be used but all of them are focusing on the overall tourism facilities of a place as well as the stimulus and personal factors regarding the tourists themselves. For this thesis, I decided to take a closer look at the “virtuous circle of creative destination reputation” ((Morgan & Pritchard & Pride, 2011, p. 11), because the more creative and inimitable a destination is, the better its reputation might be.

Figure 2; Virtuous Circle of creative destination reputation

Source: Morgan & Pritchard & Pride, 2011, p. 11

The model contains six ramifications: Tone, Tradition, Tolerance, Talent, Transformability and Testimony. Each of them is helping to set up a theoretical image. The Tone is describing the identity of a place, what kind of region it is and the overall ambience. Tradition, as the word says, is taking a closer look at the culture and heritage, which is maintained throughout changes and is a unique point for every single destination. Whether a place is welcoming towards foreigners and being open-minded regarding other cultures and traditions, can be analysed by the point of tolerance. The aspect Talent is built up on Tolerance, because in a multicultural destination, there are some ideas of more talented people or arising from special situations that need to be taken advantage of to embrace change and create diversity and therefore, also creativity. Transformability is measuring the competitiveness as well as the creativity of a destination, in order to assure the best ways of living. Last but not least, Testimonies do involve the tourists' destination experiences and add up to or subtract from the real equity of destinations' image. (Morgan & Pritchard & Pride, 2011, p. 11ff)

3.2 The image of Budapest

Budapest has become one of the most popular tourist destinations and is placed in the top ranking lists of European and worldwide destinations.

3.3 The reputation of Cologne

4. Refugee Crisis

Within the last years, the number of people searching for protection and humanitarian living conditions has increased to an all-time high (Dr. Engler, 2016).

There have always been immigrants in Germany as well as Hungary. The countries, and especially Cologne but also Budapest, are very multicultural cities with people staying for education, job or family reasons over a longer time than a year.

Nevertheless, the peak migration crisis in 2015/2016 did not pass by on any of the cities uninfluential. Due to ongoing violence and growing poverty, masses of people arrive in countries as Germany, Hungary, Austria, Italy and Greece. Most of the refugees come from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Albania and many more. The affected peoples look for protection. (BBC, 2017)

Within the European Union (EU) tensions did arise among the politicians as well as the locals in each of the countries. The burden, which had to be taken care of as soon as possible, did bring countries and policies to the limits and with it a changing wind came into the EU, demanding a strong collaboration within each state and a smooth and rapid handling of the situation. (BBC, 2017)

4.1 The main aspects of the refugee crisis in Germany

The number of refugees coming to Germany cannot be measured because many people made it over the borders illegally but the number is estimated at more than one million refugees. Out of this number in 2015, more or less 476,000 people applied for new asylums, which was the highest number of requests. (BBC, 2017)

The large arrival of refugees came with significant social and other challenges, such as integration process “of hundreds of thousands of people from a distant culture and with a very different outlook concerning participation in society and the labour market” (Dr. Engler, 2016).

Nevertheless, Germany has a refugee-welcoming policy, led by Angela Merkel and camps as well as accommodation opportunities were created for the refugees. More, refugees should be offered integration and various language courses in order to make their start in the new environment as easy as possible. Thousands of people have been given the right to stay in Germany on permanent basis or at least for a longer term. Refugees who were given the residency permission, were able to bring their families to the new country, too, but only in case they could come up for the costs of living. (Dr. Engler, 2016)

During the refugee crisis, Germany went ahead as one of only a few countries, who “developed programmes for admitting temporary refugees from Syria on a larger scale” (Dr. Engler, 2016) and also for refugees coming from other regions affected by violence and political tensions. In September 2015 Austria's and Germany's governments agreed on letting the refugees, who were stuck at the Hungarian and Greek borders, come to their countries, which “triggered a knock-on effect” (Dr. Engler, 2016).

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