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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, RTAs and LTAs) to establish a strong partnership and to work cohesively towards a common goal.
Adequate resourcing and leadership are probably the two most important factors contributing to a successful tourism destination. Financial resourcing without competent, visionary and motivating leadership will not allow a destination to reach its full potential.
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.”
There is a difference between leadership and management - primarily the way in which the person motivates the people around them. It’s often said that managers have ‘subordinates’, while leaders have ‘followers’. However, it’s possible for a manager to also be a leader, and vice-versa.
Leadership often comes from one or two individuals, especially during the early stages. Because of this, the potential for burn-out in tourism organisations is high, so sharing the workload, delegating tasks and succession planning is vital to organizational longevity.
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 RTA,
- 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 may reveal the following impediments, which need to be addressed:
- A lack of strong leadership,
- Key roles/ tasks concentrated in too few hands,
- 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/s’ among councillors and/or local politicians, who can advocate for the industry’s importance in local economic development,
- The council Chief Executive and/or senior staff who understand and appreciate the significance of tourism,
- The Executive Officer of the regional tourism association,
- The chairpersons of local tourism associations,
- Persons of influence within tourism and hospitality sector groups, eg caravan parks association, motel association, winemakers groups etc.
Last Updated 9th August 2014