The aim of this paper is to develop a destination brand framework for rural tourism destination. Bario a rural community in Sarawak (Borneo) in Malaysia was chosen as a study context. The choice of Bario over other pre-selected rural destinations is because of its unique remote destination. The primary data collection method for this paper was the in-depth interview with 48 participants; this was supplemented by participant observation and documentary evidence. From the perspective of relationship-based approach adopted in this paper, the findings outline three components for a theoretical construction of rural tourism destination brand framework that comprise tourism destination appeals, branding strategies, and stakeholders’ roles. Findings also indicate that the development of rural tourism destination brand should be from the bottom-up, where community-driven strategies can be most effectively delegated to the local leadership system and community’s association. Implications for practice and host community well-being are discussed in detail.
Part of the book: Tourism