Destination Management Organizations (DMO) & Sustainable Tourism

DMO's are the leading entity in a tourism destination that has a crucial role in promoting a greater engagement of the tourism sector, its industries, as well as policy and decision makers with sustainable development.

In recent years we have become more conscious of our impacts on tourism destinations. This especially became apparent in the pandemic as major tourist destinations were given a chance to breathe again. Amazing things started happening to these places like turtles and other animals coming back to their nesting grounds, trash nowhere to be seen, and other magical experiences with the rest in tourism. Examples like these only prove that we need to rethink how we manage tourist destinations.

So why are Destination Management Organizations crucial in sustainable tourism? Let's find out!

By David Reynolds

What Is Destination Management?

Destination management is the coordinated management of all the elements that make up a tourism destination (attractions, amenities, access, marketing and pricing)

With that being said, we have a DMO checklist for responsible and sustainable destination management:

  • Should entail a process that effectively and harmoniously addresses the interactions between the visitors, the industry that serves them, the community that hosts them and the environment

  • Bring together resources and expertise, not control them

  • Increasingly formulating and implementing strategies aimed at increasing the competitiveness of their destinations through an enhanced and responsible exploitation of their natural and cultural attractions which ensures its sustainability in the long-term

Therefore, the ultimate goal is to stimulate sustainable consumption and production that facilitates visitor interaction with the destination and its residents.

Great Wall By Melissa

Cue The DMO Definition

Destination management organization is the leading organizational entity which may encompass the various authorities, stakeholders and professionals and facilitates partnerships towards a collective destination vision

Oh, we love a good definition. So we have a check list, but what functions do DMO's do? Ask and you shall receive! Straight from UNWTO:

By Marten Bjork

  • Strategic planning

  • Formulation (or participation in the formulation process) and implementation of the destination’s tourism policy

  • Market intelligence (data gathering and analysis, market research, etc.)

  • Tourism product and business development

  • Digitalization and innovation

  • Monitoring

  • Crisis management

  • Training and capacity building (not only of its human resources but also facilitate training and capacity building activities for local tourism professionals

  • Promotion, marketing and branding

  • Funding and fostering investments

Let's Regroup

So after we just flooded you with that info, shall we sum it up?

Basically, DMO's can be a really great tool in using tourism as a force for good when it comes to managing destinations sustainably and responsibly. It's important to remember before traveling to check out your destinations DMO's and gather what vision they are promoting, how you can contribute in your travels, and learn more about the people and culture! It's our job, as the responsible tourist to be informed and try to navigate to the end goal of participating in good travel for the people, planet, and prosperity.

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