Yes, Iraq’s turbulent history is unique, as are some of its domestic challenges, but its aims going forward mirror those of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia and Jordan - to increase tourism (or put a new destination on the map) and foreign investment. Tourism is big business, attributing between 1 – 80% of national GDP’s worldwide, hence every government in the world wanting a sizeable piece of the pie.
Recent international news has been littered with images and sound bites about the enormous amount of construction underway (albeit stalled during the 8 month-long revolution) in Libya. The perception is that Libya wants progress and wants it fast - as do all the others.
There is already talk of aggressive campaigns as each nation seeks to position itself as the next big thing in tourism and boost GDP. There’s a race on, a race to re-shape and re-position the aforementioned nation brands. Who will unite for the greater national good? Which governments will seize the opportunities available to them? Who will not or cannot?
Changing perceptions is what nation branding does – and the closer the perception is to the reality the better. Nobody knows who will succeed on the new world tourism front yet, but something worth considering is the appetite size of those in the race.
Iraq isn’t the only nation in the region that’s re-positioning itself now - the competition is on the rise. Come on brand Iraq – take note!
Lisa Knight is Creative Director & Founder of The Brand Foundation, a Dubai-based branding agency. Prior to that, Lisa led the creative team of the UK’s governing political party, firstly under Rt. Hon Tony Blair and latterly, Rt. Hon Gordon Brown. Lisa’s career spans 17 years and numerous industries; arts & entertainment, business & finance, fashion, travel, youth, sport & international development.