History and horses: the potential of destination marketing in a rural community : a study from Iceland

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Gunnarsdóttir, Guđrún Póra

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University of Guelph


This thesis is an investigation of rural tourism destination marketing, in both domestic and international markets. It explores the role of image creation in branding a rural locality to its target markets. For this study, tourists were surveyed to evaluate how well the study area of the Skagafjörður region, North Iceland articulated itself to target markets. A Delphi study using tourism experts and practitioners was also conducted to identify the important elements for the development of Skagafjörður as a tourism destination. The results indicate that Skagafjörður is lacking a distinctive destination image, and shows that it is problematic for rural regions to develop a distinctive identity within their target markets. There exists, however, an opportunity to enhance the tourists' experience through local connections. Consequently, rural regions should utilize national and sub-national marketing efforts, while at the same time offering products that emphasize the unique characteristics of the region.



rural tourism, destination marketing, domestic markets, international markets, image creation, branding, Skagafjörður region, North Iceland, target markets