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DCMS Review of DMOs

The Tourism Management Institute has welcomed the announcement that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has commissioned a review of DMO’s led by Chairman of Visit England, Nick De Bois.  TMI is recognised as the voice of Destination Management in the UK, and has for decades acted to support the development of sustainable destinations and the professionalism of those who work in the sector. We have always believed in the importance of destination management, rather than merely destination marketing, and with the help of our 300+ members are passionate about finding a new solution for UK destinations that makes use of the expertise of those members.

President of TMI, Amanda Lumley said the TMI Board and members were pleased to hear the announcement which has been mooted for several months throughout the COVID 19 pandemic.   This is long overdue and many organisations across the country have been asking for this review for a very long time. Since the loss of Regional Development Agencies in 2009 and the subsequent regional re-structuring including development of LEP’s plus the changing role of Visit England it has been like falling off a void into space. Year after year DMO’s have seen reduction in Local Authority funding driven by austerity measures nationally as well as a continuing need to pump resources into chasing increasingly sparse commercial and grant funding. To the point in some cases where you sometimes wonder if you are actually able to even do the job the DMO is supposed to do in the first place.

During the COVID19 pandemic many local authorities and partners have realised that there is a key role for DMO’s. This goes above and beyond marketing and promoting the very best about a given destination, it has involved providing empathy and support for local businesses while proactively managing visitors to the region in unimaginable circumstances. DMO’s have actively worked together to share best practice, insights, highs and lows and this has emphasised the need to ensure that this important role is strengthened for the future. As we head towards the summer and the hope that recovery is on the way there will never be a more appropriate time for this review. All tourism organisations should contribute to this incredibly important consultation. It is very clear, by supporting tourism in a longer-term sustainable way there is nothing to lose, it has been lost already, but we have everything to gain!

The review will examine the extent to which the current DMO landscape:

  • is economically efficient, effective and sustainable (with regard to funding, structure and performance)
  • best enables the government to meet its leisure and business tourism policy objectives at a national, regional and local level
  • engages within the wider local and regional economic landscape, and the current focus on English devolution and Levelling Up

The review will make recommendations on:

  • whether DMOs might be structured or funded differently, and if so how any proposals might maximise post-COVID-19 recovery and long-term success
  • what the role of DMOs should be, bearing in mind existing other local structures such as Local Enterprise Partnerships, Mayoral Combined Authorities, local authorities and other similar local/regional bodies, and where these might intersect
  • how DMOs should best engage with, and be engaged by, VisitEngland, VisitBritain and DCMS, as well as wider government/public bodies where relevant (e.g. Arts Council England; UK Sport)

DCMS will shortly be launching a written consultation process, to enable people to feed into the review.

TMI will be hosting a ‘Zoom’ webinar on 25th March from 11am to 12 noon where DMO’s will have an opportunity to have their say and to feed into the discussion on the future role and structure of DMO’s.

To book your place please click here.

We will shortly be sending out a survey for member feedback so please do send us your views.


DCMS Review of DMOs