Destination Management – Summary

Destination Management

Destination Management – Summary

The distinctive features of a tourism destination are administrative boundary, accommodations, destination mix, tourism marketing efforts, coordinating organizational structure, adherence to government laws and regulations, mixture of tourism stakeholders and presence of destination image in the minds of tourists. Destination management refers to the process of planning, coordinating and managing tourism activities in a tourism destination. Tourism marketing is the process of communicating to potential customers in order to influence their preference for a tourism destination. The main roles of destination management include partnership and team building, enhancing good relations with community, leading and coordinating, product development, planning and research and marketing and promoting a tourism destination. Thus, destination management is a broad concept and destination marketing is just one of its key roles. Stakeholders in destination management can be divided into five main groups, namely, tourists, government, community, tourism sector organizations and environment.

The 10 As of successful tourism destinations are awareness, appearance, action, attractiveness, accountability, activities, availability, assurance, access and appreciation. Destination governance refers to creation of rules and mechanisms for policy and business strategies. The recent trends in destination marketing include increased scrutiny by the public and the government, higher accountability and transparency and movement away from government-run destination marketing organizations (DMOs) to public-private partnerships. DMOs exist at four geographic levels namely country or national, state/province/territory, county and city and regional levels.

Tourism planning has been in existence for about 50 years. Initially, it was mainly applied in regional development mostly in rural areas in countries such as France and Ireland. Governments used to develop plans which were then applied by urban or regional planners. Emphases were put on physical planning and there was minimal participation by the public. Tourism planning for destinations is influenced by consumers, surrounding communities and non-profit organizations, management and marketing professionals, tourism scholars and planning authorities and professionals. The main benefits of long-term tourism planning include identification of opportunities, ownership of a shared plan, development of clear goals and vision for tourism, greater attention and emphasis for tourism, clearer future directions and effective implementation and evaluation guidelines. The desired outcomes of tourism planning include identification of alternative approaches, adapting to the unexpected, maintaining uniqueness, avoiding undesirable and creating the desirable. The contents of a tourism plan for a destination are the 10 As of successful tourism destinations mentioned earlier.

Tourism planning destinations occur at four main geographic levels, namely, national, sub-national, area and local levels. The tourism planning process for destination management involves development of planning policies and principles, engaging key participants in the process and communicating the plans. The difference between strategic planning and visioning is that strategic planning involves applying the present goals to build the future while visioning starts with the future and works back to the present. Destination visioning refers creation of a clear description of how a destination should look like after the laid strategies are fully implemented and full potential is achieved. It involves coming up with an expression or creation of a clear picture of how a destination should be in the future. The advantages of using tourism planning toolkits include description of the roles of the local government in tourism, assisting local authorities in financial and strategic planning, ensuring that there is appropriate investment in services and infrastructure for tourism, provide examples of good practice and providing links to existing resources and reports covering the main topics.