What is Destination Management?
Growth in global travel means that some destinations around the world are under pressure from tourism, resulting in overcrowding and negative effects on the quality of the visitor experience, the environment and communities.
Security concerns, climate change and changing technology are influencing visitors’ decision making; their needs and expectations are evolving, with more travellers concerned about making responsible travel choices.
Visitors are also seeking greater connection and meaning from their travel experiences, wanting to immerse themselves more in communities and to connect with local people and cultures.
New Zealand has shared in this growth and many of these challenges and opportunities are having an influence on our situation.
Tourism is New Zealand’s largest export industry and a significant part of the economy. International visitor growth has been steady over much of the last decade, primarily driven by the decreasing cost of travel and favourable global economic conditions. This has been complemented by a buoyant New Zealand economy and growth in domestic spending on tourism. While the number of international arrivals has been slowing since 2017, visitor numbers are expected to grow over the longer term.
The New Zealand-Aotearoa Government Tourism Strategy was launched in May 2019 and aims to enrich New Zealand through sustainable tourism growth, underpinned by productive, sustainable and inclusive tourism.
Destination Management (DM) is a key focus of the strategy and will contribute to the following strategy goals:
- Tourism supports thriving and sustainable regions
- Tourism sector productivity improves
- New Zealand-Aotearoa delivers exceptional visitor experiences
- Tourism protects, restores and champions New Zealand-Aotearoa’s natural environment, culture and historic heritage
- New Zealanders’ lives are improved by tourism.
DM and planning is also a priority area of the Tourism Industry Aotearoa’s (TIA’s) strategy.
Destination Management involves the management of all aspects of a destination that contribute to a visitor’s experience, including the perspectives, needs and expectations of:
- tourism industry
- wider businesses
- local residents
- central & local government
DM brings together different stakeholders to achieve the common goal of developing a well-managed, sustainable visitor destination. It is an ongoing process that requires destinations to plan for the future and considers the social, economic, cultural and environmental risks and opportunities.
Adopting a DM approach enables communities and destinations to respond to changing conditions and determine the type of tourism they would like to have and the benefits they would like to receive, taking an active role in managing these.
Every region is different, with unique attributes, assets, challenges and opportunities. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to DM; solutions should be customised for the destination. However, we can learn from international experiences and enable productive, resilient, inclusive and sustainable destinations across New Zealand-Aotearoa, creating better value for visitors and residents alike.