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Marketing perceptions of national and nature parks managers –
the case of Croatia

Durdana Ozretic-Dosen1* , Kristina Malesevic2 , Tanja Komarac3
and Vatroslav Skare4

   
Received: 14/03/2019 Accepted: 19/06/2019
        
1Marketing Department, Faculty of Economics & Business, University of Zagreb, Croatia; J. F. Kennedy 6, 10000 Zagreb, CROATIA, Tel: + 38512383463, E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
2Faculty of Economics & Business, University of Zagreb, Croatia
3Marketing Department, Faculty of Economics & Business, University of Zagreb, Croatia;
4Marketing Department, Faculty of Economics & Business, University of Zagreb, Croatia;
*Corresponding author
    
Coordinating editor: Martina G. Gallarza
  
Abstract
  
The purpose of this paper is to explore the perceptions of Croatian national and nature parks managers of the current role of marketing in creating and managing parks’ offer. Through identifying and evaluating the scope and importance of marketing in national and nature parks, the paper also aims to reveal the possibilities for improving existing practices. The theoretical framework includes a review of contributions from the fields of marketing in national and nature parks' changing environment and the literature on place branding in tourism. Exploratory qualitative research was conducted. An in-depth analysis of secondary data collected from internal materials, print media, and internet resources preceded to a content analysis of primary data collected through personal, semi-structured interviews with 15 key informants. The overall results suggest that umbrella branding emerges as a novel and promising approach. In some cases, the role of marketing in responding to changes in the competitive tourism environment is acknowledged, while in others not, as conservative parks are primarily focused on protection and conservation, which results in fewer resources to implement active marketing management. Research limitations are related to single informant bias and the subjective nature of data (the perceptions of respondents). To the best of the authors' knowledge, the study is the first that enables insight into the umbrella branding approach in the frame of the marketing management of national and nature parks. It brings evidence from one of the Central and Eastern European markets, a domain in which the role of marketing in national and nature parks has been under-researched.
 
Keywords: national and nature parks, marketing, umbrella branding, marketing mix, Croatia
 
Citation: Ozretic-Dosen, D., K. Malesevic, T. Komarac and V. Skare (2019) Marketing perceptions
of national and nature parks managers – the case of Croatia. European Journal of Tourism Research 23, pp. 191-207
  
 
European Journal of Тourism Research