Destination Marketing Organizations and Climate Change—The Need for Leadership and Education
Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) operate at many levels ranging from the national to the municipal and have evolved over the years to respond to the geographical and political realities that are associated with tourism supply. Alongside providing information to potential visitors, DMOs work to make a destination attractive by showcasing its unique aspects and attractions. As the appeal of destinations, cost of doing business and the destination brand may be affected by the possible effects of climate change, this study aims to identify opportunities and threats to municipal and provincial/territorial DMOs and their members as well as identify measures they are undertaking to address the potential impacts. A study conducted of Canada’s provincial and municipal large DMOs was conducted in 2009. This research found that awareness of climate change in Canada’s tourism industry is increasing, but more efforts must be undertaken to mitigate climate change. To address climate change and tourism, this paper suggests doing three things: (a) DMOs need to demonstrate leadership about climate change education and mitigation to all their members; (b) government policy and action are needed to provide incentives for industry to address climate change; and (c) industry members require further education to take the steps necessary mitigate risk and to adapt. The internet has changed the DMOs’ roles and how they provide information to the consumer; as such, they have been presented with an opportunity to take on new roles as educational and marketing providers. This paper will outline in the current shifts among Canadian DMOs and will discuss the key issues that are applicable to DMOs worldwide.
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