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Effective Destination Management Structures

The tourism sector is complex, incorporating a network of interrelated stakeholders and organisations, both public and private sector, working together. The success of a destination relies on a coordinated approach to the planning, development, management and marketing of a destination. A clearly defined destination management structure can provide destination managers and stakeholders with a place to negotiate sustainable destination development, ongoing management and effective destination marketing outcomesRead more
The tourism sector is complex, incorporating a network of interrelated stakeholders and organisations, both public and private sector, working together. The success of a destination relies on a coordinated approach to the planning, development, management and marketing of a destination. A clearly defined destination management structure can provide destination managers and stakeholders with a place to negotiate sustainable destination development, ongoing management and effective destination marketing outcomes

Lessons from around the world suggest that an effective destination management structure:

  • Is a collaborative structure that combines the interests, skills and knowledge of 'stakeholders' across government, industry and the community, as highlighted in the Barossa Valley with the establishment of the Barossa Wine and Tourism Association bringing together a range of stakeholders to guide tourism planning, development and marketing;
  • Develops a clear stakeholder agreed strategic direction for the development, management and marketing of tourism in a destination;
  • Destination Management Tip

    An effective destination management structure has proactive input from government, tourism organisations, the tourism industry and the host community rather than managed by crises or ad hoc.

  • Establishes an agreed ‘vision’ and image for a destination based on the values of the destination and its stakeholders;
  • Establishes clear roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders across all elements of destination management and decision-making;
  • Address the complexities of decision-making and approval processes by developing strategies and partnerships to minimise the levels of decision-making;
  • Recognises that public-private partnerships are an efficient way to manage and promote destinations;
  • Establishes cooperative arrangements with partners to ensure effective communication and collaboration. Partnership agreements or MoUs between stakeholders can be used to articulate the governance framework for managing a destination, as highlighted in Victoria’s Geelong Otway Tourism’s bottom up approach to destination management, establishing MOUs with Local Governments and Local Tourism Organisations and encouraging industry membership;
  • Allows local tourism leaders to become destination champions, as in the case of Leeds in the United Kingdom where tourism champions encourage stakeholder participation, foster innovation and assist in the development of a committed and shared approach to tourism management.

Additional case studies of best practice regions can be found in the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre’s Sustainable Regional Tourism Destinations report. Another of the landmark reports produced by the STCRC analysed the structure of the tourism sector in several regions across Australia. The report, The Network Structure of Tourism Operators in Three Regions of Australia, provides methodologies for assessing the relationships between tourism organisations in a destination and how these relationships influence destination structure, information exchange and collaborative management.

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