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Smart Destinations: Rising Trend in World Tourism

According to DMO Theory; “The real product within TT Mechanism is ‘the destination itself’ that needs to be organized for all the related products in coverage, within the physical destination”. This directly requires a Destination Management Organization!

Tourism destination is a very elastic concept which reflects the place visited in Travel & Tourism (TT) activity. Since the physical place can be used to describe many scales of concepts, it can easily define a large varieties of places from a simple village to Regions, Countries or even Continents. But we must underline the fact that; Tourism Destination plays a vital role in the theory and practice of TT, which is not fully understood yet and corresponding attention could not be effectively built and fulfilled within worldwide industrial development.

When we simply overlook at general contemporary trends in TT Development, we can easily find that the utilization of destination concept is becoming more intensive. But the macro functional mechanism is not fully realized and ‘vital gaps’ are arising in parallel to this defect. According to DMO Theory; “The real product within TT Mechanism is ‘the destination itself’ that needs to be organized for all the related products in coverage, within the physical destination”. This directly requires a Destination Management Organization!

DMO Concept was introduced by UNWTO within recent Decade and special efforts were spent towards ‘advising national authorities to utilize this concept’ for building up strong TT structures. But after a period of campaign calls for attendance, the ‘national authorities’ could not possibly react to this program and recently this service is contracted into a role for ‘supporting the specific market developments’ within partial roles of DMO Concept in action. These roles defined at active UNWTO Website are, listed below are very clear: (*)

1) Product Development and Diversification
2) Marketing and Promotion Planning
3) Value Chains and Local Economic Development
4) Institutional Public-Private Partnership Strengthening
5) Physical Planning and Resort Development
6) Strategic  Development and Master Plans
7) National and Destinational Tourism Policy

Hence; DMO Concept covers a wide range of ‘management roles’ in order to facilitate a proper Destination Management for a given physical area. But because these activities are quite complex and overrides the existing administrative roles of the present organisations, the realization needs a totally new approach. This specific requirement is not perceived and “traditional ‘top authority to rule’ tourism” cannot be possible. But simply, the need is a very strong coordination between the related stakeholders of sub-sectors within TT.

Since Tourism Industry is functioning within many economic sectors, there is a specific need of a wide technical coordination within every single destination. The activation of this need from ‘central governments’ is almost impossible for developed scales of TT performance. Therefore, DMO Theory purposes to function the ‘multi-level coordination’ at regional destinations and realize this by national policy supports. Thus; A local DMO is simply expected to take appropriate decisions on local needs, without any traditional authority.

This dilemma cannot be possibly realized and necessary solutions of DMOs could not be widely applied in the actual markets within the whole sphere. But it is also evident that, the conscious need and practical sub-solutions are developing within the actual functions of the real markets. We strongly believe that, the present barriers of ‘unnecessary hesitations’ will be surpassed and successful destinations will emerge all over the World. The single requirement is regional ability to apply modern NGO covering all stakeholders.

The State of Actual Developments and Ongoing Defects
Within the developments of recent TT Industry features, we can identify that (1) the socio-economic value of tourism is highly recognized and there are serious efforts to develop towards a better state of action within various sectors and related disciplines, but (2) the basic nature of attempts are far from the holistic macro needs of the market efficiency and wider coordination,  where (3) clever solutions are needed to be exercised towards better performance, where (good-old) DMO Concept required to be properly activated.
Cultivated from intensive practical market experiences and within analytically derived lessons, it is clarified that each tourism destination is starving for better applications. But the dominant fashion is concentrated mainly on Marketing within some emphasis on ‘branding and promotional IT’ techniques. My clear warning argument is; “Without a complete Management approach, a destination is strictly limited within inefficient viscous circles, where you are only ‘Marketing whatever available on hand’ and losing control in process”.
Everyday progressing innovative applications are released within Marketing concept, that utilizes the wide varieties of new IT variances into the market. Now each Hotel or City is seeking for improved marketing techniques to apply and lost within big data pool. These methods can be undoubtedly successful but cannot reach climax, unless a full coverage of TT Industry can be coordinated within ‘modern management and  planning criteria’ implemented widely in Global Markets. Macro solutions can only be attained by DMO!

In order to realize the global size of this innovative requirement, we can simply assume 10 average regions per national boundaries with 10 sub-regional destinations each in need of building DMO Approach, which results in 20.000 DMOs required to be effectively in operation for a better TT Industry. Since the earlier realizations will surely enjoy the better prosperous benefits of efficient market operations, we can foresee a massive interest and competing Nations & Destinations within this ‘emerging rising trend’ in World Tourism.
We kindly call the attention of UNWTO towards ‘revising the old version of DMO Campaign’ with targeting the individual Destination Synergies to be activated within democratic NGO systems to be developed. When all the regional stakeholders of TT Industry can come together within the joint interests of ‘forming and managing an effective organization’ within all levels of Destinations Scales, no one can possibly stand against this enormous synergy of ‘healthy TT progress’ where regional performances shall inevitably rise World TT.



Turkish Tourism Expert - Independent

Zafer Cengiz has gained extraordinary ​experiences within Turkish Tourism development as multi-disciplinary expert and recently supporting professional media on 'macro analyzed articles' within the recent Decade.

He is a mediatic activist on patiently advocating the Turkish Tourism Strategy, as a member of Turkish Journalists Association TUYED in Istanbul.