by Tonino Pencarelli, Simone Splendiani and Claudia Fraboni
Focusing on the Blue Flag, the paper aims to illustrate the role played by certification programmes in destination management and branding, as well as their potential for destination enhancement. The awareness of the benefits and the importance of the Eco-label as perceived by the Italian Blue Flag-awarded destinations and the degree to which the certification is effectively used in their communication strategies have been investigated. The research was conducted by submitting two different questionnaires to all Italian 2012-Blue Flag municipalities. The study reveals that the dynamics leading local authorities to join the Programme have more to do with the return in terms of brand image than with their environmental concerns, although they do little to promote the obtained award.