Strengthening the Branding of Lake Toba
Lake Toba is the largest caldera (giant volcanic crater) lake in the world, and it is located in North Sumatra Province. Lake Toba is designated as a priority destination by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. Furthermore, efforts to preserve nature and culture as well as ancestral heritage are needed to support the acceleration of tourism development. Foreign tourist visits to Lake Toba reached the highest point in 2017, which was 270,292 people. However, in 2018 this fell 14% to 231,465 people. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that the level of tourist visits is not stable; that is, apart from the increase, there has also been a decrease in the level of tourist visits; and this was due to the weak approach used in destination branding. Descriptive qualitative methods were employed, using SWOT analysis, and data were collected through a literature review and social media analysis. The findings showed the need for strengthening the branding of priority destinations of Lake Toba, by strengthening and emphasizing the integrated marketing process and the brand value chain. This strength can come from the lake’s main advantages, namely nature tourism and cultural tourism. Accessibility to Lake Toba should also be improved. It is necessary to prioritize the process of creating branding of destinations and cooperation between the government, tourism industry, community, media and academics. Keywords: branding destinations, tourism promotion, priority destinations
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