The aestheticisation of tourism branding


The Sunday Mail

Charles Mavhunga

DYNAMICS of the 21st century industrial revolution and constructs of globalisation have led to a new economic landscape called the experience economy.

In the experience economy, tourism branding models have shifted the gears to engage value-creation experience trajectories required to maintain competitiveness.

Tourism branding, in this context, is shaped by the provision of experiences that shape the identity and image of destinations.

In the experience economy, customers understand the value of the brand through the service experience during consumption.

In this regard, the Museum of African Liberation in Harare is the new golden brand for Africa that can be globalised in the experience economy.

To become globalised and visible in tourism branding, African countries, and Zimbabwe in particular, have to deliver the African experience. This is done through aestheticisation of the fundamental principles of the service delivery experience.

Africa’s 55 nations, including Zimbabwe, suffered the brunt of colonisation, and the identity and image of the African heritage got lost along the way.

Contemporary First World cultures have dominated the African brand and disrupted the direction and knowledge of innovative mindsets.

Television programmes and films have promoted the domination of the First World brand in Africa.

For instance, American movies have affected cultures across the world.

United States brands, including the American currency, have become a part of Africa’s culture.

The domination and acceptance of the American dollar in the global economy were largely driven by the pervasive influence of American culture.

It is, therefore, against this background that Africans should now become liberated from First World cultures through the promotion of a deeper understanding of the African heritage as an identity of choice and an important brand worthy of respect across the globe.

The Museum of African Liberation is thus a step in the right direction.

Brand identity has moved from a goods-dominant view to a service-dominant view, in which exhibitions are used to shape the mindset of people to become well-cultured and globalised.

The African story of why the continent is underdeveloped can be traced to the historical background of colonisation, where distortions of the African brand were developed and encouraged.

Zimbabwe is one of the countries that liberated itself from colonisation in 1980, after a protracted armed struggle.

However, the residual impact of colonial culture tended to make some people self-deprecatory.

The colonialists, unfortunately, created a culture where Africans themselves became active participants in the drive to destroy their own identity.

The construction of the Museum of African Liberation is, therefore, a noble development.

The founding of the museum makes it easy for the African identity to stand out, be branded and modelled across the world.

In the experience economy, the image and identity of destinations are defined by exhibitions.

The museum provides a platform for Africans to exhibit their heroes and display the African experience and culture.

In essence, the experience economy landscape shifts the focus of tourism branding to identity creation through value propositions that are defined by exhibitions.

Africans, in particular, should be identified through their history and exhibitions of their heroes, which promotes the value and innovations of African heritage.

African people should become aware of their history.

Therefore, experience that is defined by exhibitions at the entry level invokes the spirit of innovation, which contributes to economic development.

The philosophy of promoting the African experience through exhibitions of the histories of the continent’s heroes at the Museum of the African Liberation supports the idea of the value of brand identity.

It also provides an opportunity for Africans to shift focus from the customised poverty-directed mindset to value-creation activities that can drive growth of the African economy.

Aestheticisation of the African brand in the experience economy, through construction of such museums, can introduce a new experiential setting that is interactive and motivational to build the confidence of the African people.

 Charles Mavhunga co-authored textbooks in business enterprising skills and is currently studying for a PhD in Management at Bindura University of Science Education. He can be contacted at: [email protected]/ Cell: +263772989816


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