Assessment of tourism marketing strategy in tourism destination: A case study in Bale Mountain National Park-Bale Zone
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Marketing strategies are among the factors which slow up Ethiopian tourism in general and BMNP in particular from rewarding its tourism potential. So far, various studies attempted to study on “impact of tourism on the economic growth”, “Tourism as Tools for Promoting Sustainability” and “Tourism Development” has been done in Ethiopia, and no study is conducted on assessment of marketing strategies for tourism promotion in Ethiopia particularly in BMNPto the best ofthe researcher’s knowledge. Thus this study was envisaged with the objective of examining strategic marketing, marketing mixes elements devised for strategic marketing and challenges to implement marketing strategy of BMNP Bale Zone, East Ethiopia. In order to achieve the objective of the study, both qualitative and quantitative research method were being used and the most important data were sourced by primary and secondary data.Primary data were collected from 24 employees of the park which were selected purposely from tourism department and 157 foreign and domestic tourists by using convenience sampling. The quantitative data was analyzed using frequency, percentage, mean, and standard deviation when appropriate while qualitative data was used to substantiate the study. On the basis of the analysis of the data which was collected during the interview and surveys, the study revealed that Bale Mountain National Park has abundance of opportunities of ecotourism attraction. But its effective practice and implementation of marketing strategies is not promising due to Current international perceptions of Ethiopia, lack of manpower, Standard accommodations, financial problems and support of government body. Differentiation strategy is adopted to promote tourism attraction and the park is recognized as Premium Park with “one park many worlds” slogan by considering abundances of tourism attraction as a competitive advantage over other park within and out of the country. However the selected strategy is not effective due to lack of the organization marketing ability like promotion and distribution. As a result the park fails to communicate its tourism potential to the target market. Finally it is not enough that the country possesses a potential for becoming a covetable tourist destination. To turn that possibility into reality, marketing is a pre-condition.