University of Leicester
2024MesutogluSPHD.pdf (2.91 MB)

Place Branding as a Mobilizing Force for Regional Development in Contested Regions: The Case of Cyprus

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posted on 2024-03-15, 16:40 authored by Selen Mesutoglu

Conflicts have a negative impact on place brands and place identity, which are, according to the literature, parallel processes co-created with local communities. In the recent literature on place branding, much emphasis has been placed on co-creational place branding and on the importance of inclusive, integrated and sustainable practices. The Covid-19 crisis highlighted even more the need for sustainable approaches and engagement with residents, exploiting the developments in communication technology. In contested regions, however, it is challenging to achieve engagement among local communities and implement co-creational place brands. The purpose of this research is to examine the potential of place branding as a way of responding to the economic and social challenges faced by locales suffering division and conflict. Can place branding help to overcome the negative impacts of conflicts? This research focusses on the single case of Cyprus, a contested region, applying qualitative methods for data collection and analysis. The inductive approach followed in the thesis aims to capture the variety of perspectives articulated by residents and internal stakeholders from both the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities. The findings from focus groups and interviews point to a direct link between people’s conceptions of identity and their views of tourism and development interventions. The findings also show that the division in governance shapes the understanding of identity and of tourism and development practices. The results suggest, though, that Cyprus could boost its potential in tourism and development through an integrated and inclusive place brand and identity. This would be possible, however, only through the involvement of all communities, which communication technology facilitates. The data indicate that the involvement of residents in place branding would reduce the influence of governments, help foreground locally-generated identity-related facets, and achieve consistency and an integrated approach. The message of this study is, therefore, that a co-creational approach in a contested region might not only foster sustainable tourism and development but also help promote a shared conception of that place.



James Fitchett; Georgios Patsiaouras; Massimo Giovanardi

Date of award


Author affiliation

College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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