CITY TOURISM ? NATIONAL CAPITAL PERSPECTIVES

City breaks are at the forefront of the short break market, so it is perhaps surprising that a book looking at the capital city perspective hasn&rsquo,t emerged until now. The book is a comparative study of tourism in national capitals with case studies drawn from across the world, from Cardiff to Canberra and Brussels to Budapest, taking in Hanoi and Wellington among others, along the way. The book is written from a largely planning and urbanist point of view, though Image and Branding comprises the first and largest of its four main sections. The other sections are Visitor Experiences, Tourism Markets and Tourism Development. The book includes a useful summary table of the key questions for each of its themes. National Capital Perspectives explores a wide spectrum of different types of capital city and makes some interesting observations about national capital city tourism. Traditional national capitals are political, administrative and cultural centres and newer capitals, such as Cardiff, set out to emulate that model and fill any product gaps. The book points out that there is a certain cache associated with being a capital city. Some cities are not capitals but achieve the equivalent status through market positioning and their product offer, e.g. Barcelona, while others that are capitals struggle to be recognised as a destination, such as Wellington in New Zealand. , There is some discussion around defining capital cities by their iconic images and the importance of connecting those generic associations to individual people and their experiences. In some countries, the national capital brand can be as strong or stronger than the brand of the country and the book looks at the challenges associated with that. The conclusion is that national capital city tourism has not been fully and properly explored, despite wide recognition of its significance. The complexity of the offer means there is a tendency towards a copy and paste response to visitor markets and urbanists do not properly integrate tourism within their work. It is largely an academic book and, while interesting, it left me wondering how practioners might use it. However, maybe that is for another book.