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Planning Process

The fundamental principle of the destination management process is that it involves bringing together stakeholders to clearly articulate the strategic direction and actions for the development, marketing and management of a destination for the future. The planning process should be informed by the findings of the ‘Situation Analysis’ phase of destination planning to ensure that all existing knowledge is considered and incorporated into the strategic direction of the destination. Lessons for an effective destination planning process include:

  • Strong leadership is needed from destination managers and local tourism champions to ensure stakeholder participation and commitment;
  • Development of a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process and clear definition of stakeholder roles and responsibilities in order to leverage skills and experience and provide focus for planning and management;
  • Development of a shared stakeholder vision for tourism and destination management in the destination over time to agree a common direction and values for the destination;
  • Development of strategic planning documentsthat provide a long-term direction for the destination’s development, marketing and management as well as short, medium and long-term actions to achieve the destinations vision. Strategic planning documents include:
    • long-term Strategic Plan identifying the strategic priorities and direction for the destination including prioritisation of actions and strategies;
    • Research Plan that identifies the data and information required by destination managers to make informed planning and strategic decisions;
    • Risk Management Plan that outlines a framework and processes for identifying and responding to tourism risks and crises that may impact on a destination;
    • Strategic Marketing Plan that identifies the marketing strategies and activities to successfully attract target visitor markets and influence destination and product choice.
    • Festivals and Events Plan that identifies opportunities to bring locals and visitors together to celebrate the unique and special features of a destination.

According to the Achieving Sustainable Local Tourism Management Phase 1 – Practitioners Guide developed by the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre, good planning processes are characterised by:

  • Clear planning and management processes;
  • Reliable information;
  • Adaptive management approaches;
  • Information management and accessibility;
  • Encouraging collaboration;
  • Sharing information and experiences;
  • Good communication strategies.

Browse Planning Process Case Studies: 

Destination Leadership and Coordination

Stakeholder Representation and Engagement

Strategic Plan

Research Plan

Risk Management Plan

Strategic Marketing Plan

Festivals and Events Plan


Browse case studies:

Achieving Sustainable Local Tourism Management: Phase 1 Practitioners Guide

The aim of the guide is to investigate the issues that local governments face in tourism management and the practices and approaches that have been adopted to address these issues. An investigation and appreciation of these issues is necessarily the first stage in moving towards more sustainable local tourism management.

by Dianne Dredge, Jim Macbeth, Dean Carson, Narelle Beaumont, Jeremy Northcote, and Fiona Richards

Public/Private Partnerships For Sustainable Tourism

The objective of this report is to provide a framework for the sustainable development of the travel and tourism industry in the APEC region, through public/private partnerships, and to deliver a sustainability strategy for tourism destinations.

by Terry De Lacy, Marion Battig, Stewart Moore, and Steve Noakes