The Changing Role of Regional Australian Destination Management Organisations in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Keywords:Destination Management Organisation, Regional Tourism Organisation, COVID-19, Crisis Management, Tourism Tropical North Queensland
This study explores the changing role of Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic within the regional context of Tropical North Queensland. A case study of a Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) is utilised to gain insights into external and internal stakeholder perspectives on the changing role of DMOs in response to COVID-19. This research adopts a qualitative approach to investigate insights into the specific phenomenon of the changing role of regional DMOs in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The research was conducted in two stages: semi-structured interviews and thematic analysis of the transcripts. This research project (including methodologies engaged) was approved by James Cook University’s Human Research Ethics Committee, reference number H8559, on September 29 2021. The insights provided suggest that changes made within the RTO were mostly temporary and that there is a desire from external and internal stakeholders for the RTO to return to a marketing function post the acute phase of the Pandemic. Findings indicate that the role of a regional DMO can shift to a role of destination management in times of crisis and then revert to one adapted to marketing functions in the recovery period. Recommendations for the role of destination marketing and management organisations in response to times of crisis are presented and include flexibility of the role of DMOs in crisis management, the requirement for strong leadership and the need for ongoing consultation with the industry about the desired role and function of DMOs.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Nikki Giumelli, Janice Scarinci, Denis Tolkach
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