Destination and image.

(Excerpt from the doctoral thesis “Visual identity sources for Romania’s country brand,” author Bogdan Brînzaș)

A destination acquires a particular image, therefore a predominantly symbolic function. If, until a certain point, the trips were made for the sake of geographical or cultural exploration, now destinations are almost exclusively bearers of post-event messages. Visitors take photos or videos and then publicly display online the places they visited, the food and drinks they consumed, the hotel they stayed in or the shops they visited, taking care to photograph themselves in these frames – the so-called selfies, taking care to show their well-being or joy, attaching the most diverse comments, but of which the symbolic messages stand out. For example, the very attachment of the visitor to the image of a plate of necessarily novel, carefully arranged, or exotic food is a symbolic message. What is also noticeable in these images and messages is the almost obligatory manipulation of the frame, color, cropping, composition, and context, i.e., beautification and augmentation of reality, allowed by applications on mobile phones. In fact, it is another way of passing physical reality into the augmented and symbolic virtual, and simultaneously a message transmission copied from the methods and means of advertising. Therefore, the 21st century, from the perspectives listed so far, can be characterized through the prism of a few primary attributes: symbolic activity, mobility, volatility, experiences, interconnection, and speed.