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 organizations involved (i.e. local government) 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.
There is a difference between leadership and management – primarily the way in which the person motivates the people around them.
Leadership often comes from one or two individuals, especially during the early stages. Because of this, the potential for burn-out in tourism organizations 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 organizational structure. This should address:
- The strength and effectiveness of current industry leadership
- Management and appropriateness of direction
- Local government policies for the development and management of tourism
- Level of coordination, communication and networking within the industry
- Level of community support
This assessment may reveal:
- 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
- Lack of communication, networking and collaboration
These will need to be addressed accordingly.
You can read more on leadership in tourism on tourismexcellence.com.au.