Do We Need to Reinvent Destination Marketing Organizations?

Doug Lansky, travel writer, speaker and destinations expert, really got our attention with this TED talk on how to fix travel and tourism’s worsening authenticity crisis. Thankfully, Doug doesn’t just complain, but offers a set of innovative solutions.

One of his key suggestions is to reinvent destination marketing organizations (DMO) and turn them into destination management organizations. Place brands, he argues, are too much influenced by advertising promises, and not enough connected to local communities. And with a destination’s carrying capacity often entirely ignored or miscalculated, the situation is getting worse by the day.

The Problem with Travel and How DMO Can Fix it

As Doug points out, “Travel has improved over the years in some ways, but it has come off the rails in others. It’s great that a journey from Europe to the U.S. takes eight hours instead of several weeks in the hull of a rat-infested sailboat boat, but tourism is also homogenizing the planet’s cultures and growing unsustainably.”

“How can Stockholm, for example, find room for twice as many tourists in the summer in popular areas where it’s already so crowded visitors can barely move down the street?”

From an economic development perspective, growing visitor numbers are something to celebrate, since they mean more jobs and profits. However, having lived in downtown Barcelona for a while, we know how close the Catalan capital has come to reaching its visitor carrying capacity.

What can/should DMO do to ensure sustainable tourism development? Is a refocus from destination marketing to management the right strategy?

Please watch the short video, and share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Doug Lansky

…is an American travel writer based in Sweden who has written books for Lonely Planet, Rough Guides and contributed to Esquire, Men’s Journal, The Guardian, National Geographic Adventure, Readers Digest and many others.

He also wrote a nationally syndicated travel column in over 40 newspapers, hosted a Travel Channel show and served as travel editor for Scandinavian Airlines inflight magazine.

Find more on Doug here:

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