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The Seven Steps of Effective Destination Management

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

On 05 April, we joined the Sustainable Destination Management international event brought by the Tourism Society's Consultants Network (TCN).

Introduced by the TCN chairman, Roger Goodacre and hosted by TCN Hon Secretary Richard Denman, the event featured representatives from the Slovenian Tourist Board, 4 VI (formerly known as Tourism Vancouver Island) as well as the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions. All 3 destinations addressed how they adopted imaginative new approaches to contemporary challenges to managing tourist destinations, including over-tourism, environmental impacts and accommodating the concerns of local communities.

During his presentation, Ewout Veslott, Strategist for the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions (NBTC), outlined Perspective 2030, a roadmap from the NBTC built to maximise the positive impact of the hospitality industry and benefit every Dutch person by 2030; allowing inbound tourism to help towards a flourishing economy but also contribute to local communities and the environment.

Veslott then went on to highlight 7 steps through which DMOs can effectively work towards a so-called conscious destination; with each other and for the sector. The steps can be applied at any scale; from a local to a national level and we are sharing them with you below.

Step 1: Analysis

A good analysis is the starting point for developing effective policies. What is the state of supply and demand? What is the impact of visitors? What about pressure and bearing capacity? And what forecasts, trends and developments can we take into account?

Collection and interpretation of data are incredibly important in this step.

Step 2: Ambition

When it comes to the sustainable development of the hospitality domain, it is important to know in which direction a city or region wants to move. We call this ambition. One must pay close attention to reciprocity between the tourism industry and the physical and social environment of a destination.

Step 3: Development Framework

The development framework defines the strategy and measures through which a destination intends to achieve its ambition. It provides direction for both zoning development and demand management. It is committed to attract visitors who contribute to the ambition and who fit the unique characteristics of the destination.

Step 4: Destination Development

Destination development involves the further development of the existing offer and the

development of new, additional offers - linked to area development or otherwise. Think of it as actions that contribute to better accessibility, availability and experience, for example.

Step 5: Demand Management

By demand management, we mean all possible ways of getting potential visitors on the move. This includes tools for visitor management or marketing. Demand management is not only about encouraging additional visits, it can also be about demotivating a certain type of visit and discouraging undesirable behaviour.

Step 6: Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring helps us determine the extent to which our interventions contribute to the ambition for our destination. Here, we look for optimum, where the impact of visit contributes as much as possible to the broader prosperity of residents of the destination. Based on this, we can evaluate our approach and adjust efforts where necessary.

Step 7: Organisation

Effective destination management requires a collaborative approach that involves a large number of stakeholders with diverse interests at different scales, both within and outside the hospitality domain. This requires integral management of performance in time, money and budget. It is effective to establish structural horizontal and vertical partnerships early in the process.

For a full recording of the Sustainable Destination Management international event including the presentations from the Slovenian Tourist Board, 4 VI, the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions as well as the Q&A that followed, please contact the Tourism Society secretariat:

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