No matter how well a Tourism Plan is researched and prepared, the crucial ingredient to achieving a successful outcome is the ability and willingness of the organisations involved (ie local government, RTOs and LTAs) to establish a strong partnership and to work cohesively towards a common goal.
Click here to review structures for managing the tourism industry, especially in regional areas
Adequate resourcing and leadership are probably the two most important factors contributing to the management of a successful tourism destination. Financial resourcing without competent, visionary and motivating leadership will not allow a destination to reach its full potential. The drive usually comes from one or two individuals, especially during the early stages. The risk of burn-out in tourism organisations is always high, so the ability to share the workload and to embrace succession planning is vital to organizational longevity.
Leadership has been defined as ” the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of an organization or group, of which they are members.”
There is a difference between leadership and management. It is the way in which the person motivates the people around them. It is possible for a manager to also be a leader and vice-versa. It’s often said that managers have ‘subordinates’, while leaders have ‘followers’.
Click here to read more about the qualities of ‘leaders’ in our industry
The tourism planning process needs to review and objectively assess the effectiveness of the regional and/or the local tourism industry leadership, management and organisational structure. This should address:
- The strength/ effectiveness of current industry leadership, management and appropriateness of direction,
- Local government policies for the development and management of tourism,
- Effectiveness, role, objectives, committee structure and funding of the RTO,
- Effectiveness, role, objectives, committee structure and funding of each LTA,
- Level of coordination, communication and networking within the industry and,
- Level of community support.
This assessment often reveals the following impediments:
- A lack of strong leadership,
- A lack of succession planning,
- A lack of clear tourism management policies at the local government level,
- An ad hoc approach to developing tourism,
- LTAs working in isolation, largely because of parochialism,
- Lack of communication, networking and collaboration,
- The undermining of organisational effectiveness because of personality clashes and fragmentation, which can often result in a loss of credibility and financial support.
Key leadership roles include, though are not exclusive to,
- A ‘champion’ or champions among elected councilors, who can advocate for the industry’s importance in local economic development,
- A Council Chief Executive and/or senior staff who understand and appreciate the significance of the tourism industry,
- The Executive Officer of the regional tourism organization,
- The chairperson of local tourism associations,
- Persons of influence within tourism and hospitality sector groups, eg caravan parks association, motel association, winemakers groups etc.