The role of destination management in the development of sustainable tourism is highly important. However, it is also essential to note that effective destination marketing has an equally vital role to play in shaping the success of the tourism sector. In this blog Prague Eventery shall describe how destination management can be coupled with destination marketing in order to achieve excellence in tourism.
Great destinations are those great places that provide ample reasons to live, work and of course, visit. Owing to their huge potential to generate incremental growth in visitor economies and maximize its benefit in the long term, it is necessary to ensure proper management of destinations. The role of destination management as well as destination marketing is especially significant due to the fact that an increase in the number of visitors bolsters the tourism sector as well as the economy as a whole, thereby increasing job opportunities and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well. It becomes really convenient for well-managed destinations to attract fresh investments, develop value-added jobs, recruit new talent, and boost innovation.
However, different destinations have different challenges and opportunities. Moreover, they have different stakeholders too. Due to such parameters, it is very difficult to create a universal plan for destination management and destination marketing. Given the important role of destination management in the development of tourism, local tourism sectors need to be driven by strategic visions and create joint plans called Destination Management Plans (DMPs) in order to unite Destination Management Companies (DMCs) and provide them with common statements of intent. An effective DMP is extremely essential for developing, managing and promoting a destination over specific periods of time. It also helps in identifying the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders, setting clear plans of action, and allocating resources.
In our previous blog we had discussed how destination management can be enhanced by good governance. While analyzing the different aspects of good governance in destination management, we had mentioned the importance of improving the brand image of a destination for bettering the scope of tourism. Continuing with the role that an effective DMP plays in enhancing the role of destination management along with that of destination marketing, it needs to be mentioned that DMPs, speaking ideally, have to be incorporated with elements of good governance and act as sustainable action plans that are both strategic and futuristic.
The global tourism sector has started appreciating the role of destination management and destination marketing since the past couple of decades or so. Although these are considerably new phenomena, stakeholders of the tourism industry have recognized their importance in shaping the success and sustainability of tourism destinations. These two concepts are integral to the strategies and operations of DMCs and guide them to consistently deliver their best.
Role of Destination Management in Tourism
Destination management requires the coordination as well as integration of the various elements that constitute the destination mix for a specific geographic location. It is also based on clearly defined DMPs. The elements of destination mix are similar to those of destination product. These are physical products, people, packages and programs. Put together, these elements constitute attractions, events, facilities, transportation, hospitality and infrastructure of a destination. Moreover, it also encompasses the entire gamut of destination marketing as well. The role destination management extends to the branding, marketing, and also communication activities pertaining to a particular destination, and making its offerings known to tourists.
The role of destination management in tourism can be appreciated better if the elements of destination mix are understood properly. The physical products aspect of destination mix includes the physical items like local attractions, transportation and other facilities, and the infrastructure. While the attractions play the most important role in attracting tourists to a particular destination, transportation and different other facilities provide reasons for actually visiting and staying. The role of people is also crucial in effective destination management. The local people of a destination provide all the necessary hospitality resources – both as hosts and personal services providers. By adopting an inclusive model of good governance, it is highly beneficial to treat residents of the local communities as industry stakeholders and make them aware of the different benefits of tourism. This step shall encourage them to participate more responsibly and hence, contribute positively towards the sustainable development of tourism.
Now that we have described the importance of physical products and people – the two fundamental elements of destination mix, we shall explain the significance of packages and programs in enhancing the role of destination management initiatives. Destination packages are the sets of different tourism packages as well as programs. These are developed and assembled by local travel agencies and tour operators. DMCs also design interesting destination packages by combining different aspects of the holistic travel experience and incorporate specific themes to enhance the attraction of a destination. Destination packages are products that tourists can purchase from different channels and use. Programs include various events and festivals. One such event that is a major musical attraction of Prague is the Bohemia Jazz Fest. Specially designed activities are also arranged by DMCs to attract specific tourist groups to a destination.
Role of Destination Marketing in Tourism
Destination marketing is a high-priority function of DMCs. The role of destination management cannot be effective if destination marketing is not undertaken seriously. Drawing valuable inspiration and inputs from the principles of destination management, destination marketing has to be guided by strategically designed DMPs. As marketing activities, and especially promotions, can be quite expensive, it is necessary for DMCs to undertake them with specificity. Destination marketing needs to be a well-concerted activity that has to be driven by professionalism and a well-defined mission and vision. Once a DMP is strategized meticulously, it shall ensure the success of destination marketing as well as destination management.
While destination marketing helps in positioning a particular destination as an attractive brand, the role of destination management is to ensure its sustainability over a prolonged period of time. In order to maintain the popularity of a tourism destination, it is important for DMCs to incorporate both these concepts into their organizational functions.