Destination Management

  • Post last modified:8 August 2021
  • Reading time:19 mins read
  • Post category:Tourism

What is Destination Management?

Destination management is the co-ordination of all destination elements that make up a destination complete like attractions, amenities, accessibility, marketing and pricing. Destination management takes a strategic approach to join these separate entities for the better management of the destination.

To give tourist a better level of satisfaction. Joined up management can help to avoid duplication of effort with regards to promotion, tourist services, training, business support and identify any management gaps that are not being addressed.

The elements of the destination are supported by destination marketing to get tourists to visit at the place and delivery of quality services to ensure that expectations of tourist are met at the destination. Focusing on these activities is needed to ensure a suitability of environment, (physical, social and economic) in which the tourism to be developed. The Destination Management Organization manages and co – ordinates these different aspects of the destination.

The elements of destinations are the attractions and events, facilities (hotels, restaurants, etc.), transportation, access to the destination, infrastructure, and hospitality resources. In addition, destination management enhances the brand, image making, and marketing and communications of all that the place has to offer to tourists.

To compete effectively, destinations should give wonderful experiences and excellent value to tourists. The business of tourism is complex and uneven and from that time the tourists arrive in the destination, till they stay and leave, the quality of their experience towards that destination is affected by many services and experiences, including a range of public and private services, interaction to community, their hospitality and environment.

Creating a suitable destination environment

ination and the impact of the experience are dependent. Before the tourists are attracted thorugh marketing or arrives at the destination the right social, economic and physical environment in which to develop tourism must exist. A strong and authoritative Destination management organization is necessary to take initiative, the leadership and to drive and co-ordinate this process.

Following factors are involved in creating the right environment.

• Planning and infrastructure;
• Human resources development;
• Product development;
• Technology and systems development;
• Related industries and procurement

Marketing for Destination

Marketing for Destination marketing involves acivities to attract tourists to the area. It should promote what is most attractive to potential tourists and most likely to persuade them to come. The key functions.

• Destination promotion, including branding and image;
• Campaigns to drive business, particularly to SMMEs (Small medium and micro enterprises);
• Unbiased information services;
• Operation/facilitation of bookings;
• CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

Delivery on the Ground

DMO ensures the quality of every aspect of the tourists experience once they arrive at the destination

  • Coordination and Destination management for tourist ‘quality of experience’ especially the public realm
  • “start-ups” of Product
  • Development and management of Events
  • Development and management of attractions
  • Training and Education for Destination management
  • Business advice to enhance destination
  • Strategy, research and development

Many destinations now have Destination Management Organisations or DMOs to lead these functions.

Traditionally responsible for destination marketing, the role of the DMO (often Tourist Boards) is becoming far broader. DMO’s today should not only lead on marketing, but must also be strategic leaders in developing destinations.

This role requires them to drive and coordinate destination management activities within the framework of a coherent strategy. Promotion must attract people to visit in the first place; creating a appropriate environment and quality delivery on the ground would ensure that tourists’ expectations are met at the destination and that they then both recommend the destination to others and return themselves on a future occasion.

Why to Manage Destination

Tourism is an extremely competitive industry and to compete effectively destinations have to give excellent value and experience to tourists. From the time that the tourists arrives at the destination, and until he/she leaves, the value of tourists is affected by many services and experiences including a range of public services, private products and community interactions and hospitality.

It is important that the various components of the tourists stay are managed and coordinated to maximize tourists value throughout the visit. Effective destination management allows destinations to maximize tourism value for tourists while ensuring local benefits and sustainability.

What is Destination Development Organization (DMO)?

Destination management organizations (DMOs) have the overall responsibility for the coordination and integration of the destination mix elements, and for destination marketing. DMO is spreaded throughout the world and has many different organizational sizes and types, DMOs have existed for at least.

Many Destination Management Organizations are government departments, while others are quasi – governmental. DMO structures vary according to local practices and governmental systems.

Role of Destination Management organization (DMO)

  1. Leadership and coordination
  2. Planning and research
  3. Product development

Leadership and coordination

The Destination Management Organization has a role of leadership in tourism within the destination; it sets the overall direction for tourism in the future. There are many others involved in tourism in the destination, hence the Destination management Organization also acts as a coordinator of the efforts of everyone on the destination team.

Planning and research

The Destination Management Organization has a key role in preparing tourism policies, plans and strategies for the destination. It conducts research on existing and potential target markets to guide future marketing and product development decisions. The Destination Management Organization tracks the programs of its main competitors and continually seeks out best practice case studies to improve product development and marketing.

Product development

The Destination Management Organization has the overall responsibility for the sustainable development of the tourism product including physical products, people, packages, and programs. It takes the inventory of the current destination offerings and assisting the tourist with continuous improvement in product quality. Additionally, the DMO always identifies new opportunities of product development and provides assistance in realizing these projects and programs.

Advantages of Destination Management

Some advantages of destination management are outlined below:

  1. Establishing a competitiveness
  2. Ensuring tourism sustainability
  3. Spreading the benefits of tourism
  4. Improving tourism practices
  5. Building a strong and vibrant brand identity

Establishing a competitiveness

Two requirements are critical for destinations to achieve a competitiveness over their rivals, namely: Establishing a strong and unique positions, i.e. offering a different kind of experience compared to other destinations, by developing the attractions of destination’s and resources in a way that highlights its unique characteristics.

Delivering excellent quality experiences and superior value for money to the tourists, by ensuring that all aspects of the tourist experience are of the highest standard are co-ordinated. Both these success factors require a proper coordinated management approach based on a collective vision and strong partnerships.

Ensuring tourism sustainability

Sustainable tourism development with proper management and planning make sure that the destination maintains its environmental integrity and the resources and character that made it attractive in the first place are properly protected. Good tourism management can also help to avoid social and cultural conflicts and prevent tourism from affecting by local lifestyles, traditions and people adversely.

Spreading the benefits of tourism

Tourism benefits could be spread e.g. by supporting the development of community based products and experiences, advancing rural, promoting small and large business development, exploring the potential of arts and crafts industries, developing sports etc.

Improving tourism practices

By improving tourism practices and facilities and through focused special development and targeted marketing, destinations could lengthen the average tourist length of stay, increase per capita tourist expenditure and reduce unwanted seasonality in tourist arrivals; all contributing to an improved return on investment and yield per tourist.

Building a strong and vibrant brand identity

Destination Management Organizations are making efforts in realising the value and power of strong destination brands. By giving efforts to deliverexcellent value of destination to the tourists, brand loyalty increases and tourists return to the destination again on a regular basis.

Elements of Tourist Destinations

The market ultimately decides the boundaries of a destination, influenced by marketing, as well as physical and cultural limits. Thus the market may perceive an entire country as a destination (as marketed by a tourism ministry) or a single national park.

The term site overlaps significantly with destination but tends to center on a particular place bound by physical or cultural characteristics. Many sites often inhabit a single destination.

  1. Attraction or Physical Products
  2. Amenities
  3. Accessibility
  4. Image
  5. Price
  6. People
  7. Programs

Attraction or Physical Products

These are often the focus of tourist attention and may provide the initial motivation for the tourist to visit the destination. These can be categorized as natural (e.g. beaches, mountains, parks, weather), built (e.g. iconic buildings such as the Eiffel tower, heritage monuments, religious buildings, conference and sports facilities), or cultural (e.g. museums, theaters, art galleries, cultural events).

They could be in the public realm such as a nature park, cultural or historical sites or could be community attractions and services such as culture, heritage or lifestyle. Other, less tangible factors, such as uniqueness and emotional or experiential triggers are also attracting tourists to destinations.

An attraction is any object, person, place, or concept that draws people either geographically or through remote electronic means so that they might have an experience. The experience can be recreational, spiritual, or otherwise. An attraction is an outstanding example (for whatever criteria used) of a resource which includes all the elements in a particular class.


These are the wide range of services and facilities which support the tourists’ stay and include basic infrastructure such as utilities, public transport, and roads as well as direct services for the tourist such as accommodation, tourist information, recreations facilities, guides, operators and catering and shopping facilities.


The destination should be accessible to a large population base via road, air passenger services, rail or cruise ships. Tourists should also be able to travel with relative ease within the destination. Visa requirements, ports of entry, and specific entry conditions should be considered as part of the accessibility of the destination.


A unique character or image is crucial in attracting tourists to the destination. It is not sufficient to have a good range of attractions and amenities if potential tourists are not aware of this. Various means can be used to promote the destinations image (e.g. marketing and branding, travel media, e-marketing). The image of the destination includes uniqueness, sights, scenes, environmental quality, safety, service levels, and the friendliness of people.


Pricing is an important aspect of the destination’s competition with other destinations. Price factors relate to the cost of transport to and from the destination as well as the cost on the ground of accommodation, attractions, food and tour services. A tourist’s decision may also be based on other economic features such as currency exchange.


Local people provide the hospitality resources as the hosts and providers of personal services. Local cultures and lifestyles are also often very appealing to tourists. Community residents should be made aware of the benefits of tourism.


Events, festivals, and activities are arranged or programmed for tourists. Well-designed and well Promoted festivals and events draw tourists to destinations, so they share this role with attractions. Programs of activities are also prearranged for tourists with specific interests

Tourism Products

Despite products’ being the central feature of the industry, much confusion washes over the concept. Products like attractions are often confused with the activity and with services, but a product is more than these. Though each industry defines product components according to its own realities, tourism can be thought of as six components aligned in logical sequence.

  • Attraction: All tourism products begin with an attraction, without which no further discussion is needed.

  • Access: An attraction must have access or else no further discussion is needed. Do note, however, that most often access refers to tourist capacity to arrive. Sometimes access means the opposite. Sometimes an attraction is attractive because it is difficult to get to, such as wilderness areas and for adventure activities. Either way, access is essential to the exploitation of the attraction.

  • Activity: Every tourist experiences an attraction, but how they experience depends on the activity they select (see “Experience” below). A person can experience Mount Everest vicariously through the Internet or from the porch of a cushy mountain lodge. They could also experience it by scaling the mountain to its death-defying icy peak. Thus it is erroneous to say that Mount Everest offers a particular kind of experience; it may be short-hand for mountaineering, but experience depends on the activity.

  • Services: To realize an activity requires services. Services are all those functions that a tourist might or might not be able to do for him or herself but in all cases chooses someone else to do it for them. Services include actually allowing the activity to take place, the security of park guards and wilderness responders, the food, the housing, the transportation, the communication, the provision of souvenirs, etc. If an activity requires no services, then we are not talking about a tourism product.

  • Qualified personnel: Service provision, in turn, requires that someone qualified provide that service, whether a guide, chef, driver, transportation company, national park staff, police, or street juggler. Even if that someone is an auto mated robot, it still requires some one (and someone also to service the robot, of course).

  • Promotion: Despite the best of tourism product designs, if no one knows the product exists, then all is for naught. A tourism product must also include promotions, even if that is “only” word-of mouth.

  • Experience: Some people might include the experience as one of the tourist components, but no product can provide an experience, only an opportunity to have an experience. Mount Everest cannot provide an experience, no matter what kind. The tour operator does not provide an experience. Only the tourist can create the experience based on certain factors.

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