The competitiveness of a tourism destination is not just a matter of tourism operators’ performance. Instead, the potential of a destination for competing in the travel market is determined from the top government policies regarding urban planning, public services, territory planning –protecting natural interest areas-, and tourism development planning, determining tourism related regulations, license policies, investments in facilities and infrastructures and also cross-destination marketing planning and execution.

So long as the tourism activity affects not only the tourism operators, but also the residents’ lives, other business sectors and the image of the territory, it is necessary to elaborate a thorough model attending to the needs and aspirations of all stakeholders. The complexity and challenge of tourism development planning is namely in the need for reaching a balance point, considering all the stakeholders’ interests.

A destination model is to provide answers to three main questions:

  • What can we do to develop tourism in the destination?
  • How can we do it?
  • What vision do we want to strive for?

Finding answers to these questions means choosing among different alternatives related to the tourism to be developed: the development pace, intensity, the limitations to the business growth, etc. Furthermore, a development model works like a guide and reference framework for the activities of both public and private agents, and to articulate cooperation between different public bodies and between public and private ones.

Other advantages and benefits of defining a destination development model are:

  • The territorial structure –cluster definition- of the tourism development is clearly defined.
  • The destination takes advantage of the market opportunities more effectively.
  • The destination’s resources and attractions are leveraged more adequately.
  • Government leaders and local operators have a reference framework to orient their strategy.
  • The need for infrastructures, facilities, financial, technological and human resources are clearly defined according to established goals.
  • Investors have a reference framework that provides them with valuable orientation.
  • Resources are assigned more rationally, effectively and profitably.
  • The tourism management has a reference framework to orient the decision making.
  • The reaction versus certain changes in the market is faster and more effective.

Once the model is defined, if this is brought into practice, there are even more benefits:

  • The destination creates and develops solid and sustainable competitive advantages.
  • The destination positioning and image is stronger.
  • The tourism businesses operating in the destination are more profitable and increase revenue
  • The service quality and tourists’ satisfaction increases.
  • The destination inhabitants perceive the positive impact of the tourism activity more clearly.
  • All stakeholders have more confidence in the future of the destination.

Do you think of other benefits of defining the destination development model?

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

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