Sustainable and smart destination management: Opportunities for the DMO to act as an intelligent agent among destination stakeholders
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Increasing mobility facilitated by reduced cost of connecting across distances has made cities become the most attractive and most frequently visited tourist destinations. For many urban destinations, especially in developing countries this increasing inflow of tourists contributes significantly to the local economy. As tourist preferences and expectations change, a sustainable and competitive destination management approach has received increasing importance in order to properly adapt to the changing market conditions. With the increasing importance of including sustainability in developing competitive destinations, Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) have noticed the potential to use smart technologies to enhance tourism experiences and develop the destination for increasing the quality of life for tourists and citizens. However, this requires the DMO to find ways how to deliver a wide range of information, facilitate interaction with stakeholders and gather visitor and management information. DMOs have to fulfil the evolving expectations and needs of an increasing number of tourists and at the same time make sure the destination is developed and managed in such a manner that it does not deteriorate the urban environment and contribute to the benefit of its private-, and public stakeholders as well as its residents.
This thesis aims to answer the following research question: How can the DMO use stakeholder perceptions on sustainable and smart urban tourism goals in response to the increasingly competitive tourism market? The purpose of this thesis is to map the perceptions of destination stakeholders and the DMO on sustainable and smart urban tourism goals. This aims to support the DMO to manage stakeholders in a more effective way towards balancing economic-, social- and environmental goals of sustainability in the destination.
This qualitative research was carried out in the context of destination stakeholders to the DMO in Marrakech through semi-structured interviews. Seven different respondents participated that represented the different stakeholder groups relevant in developing sustainable and smart urban tourism goals which are 2 of the private sector-, public sector and the host community respectively as well as the DMO.
The study revealed that there is generally a common understanding among stakeholders in Marrakech regarding the importance of sustainable and smart urban tourism goals. However a common strategic vision and coordinated destination management approach is lacking as well as clarity about an integrated planning approach to realize sustainable and smart tourism goals. Moreover, having established a participatory approach for information exchange has distinguished the city from other top-down approaches that have made many destinations lose their uniqueness. Stakeholders have already benefited from this approach and developed sustainable and smart projects, but an overall vision requires stronger vision from the DMO. The study findings show that this participatory approach provides a basis for the DMO to potentially act as an intelligent agent that acts as a facilitator for information exchange among stakeholders with smart technologies.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 91 p.
Destination Management, DMO, sustainable tourism, smart tourism, smart city, urban tourism, ICT
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-122391OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-122391DiVA: diva2:938416