The new project “Time for DEMOCRACY” gathered 17 lead urban destinations to improve and expand citizen activation in tourism development, including the challenges and imperatives of dialogue and new modes of governance. The initiative enables destinations to empower their local community in adapting to the future of tourism. The goal is a balanced coexistence that will increase the liveability of locals and at the same time build better cities and communities.
1. “Time for DMOCRACY”
“Time for DMOCRACY” was developed by Group NAO and launched in association with Global Destination Sustainability Movement, The Travel Foundation, and TCI Research. Over the next 12 months, the partners and the, so far, 17 participating destinations will deploy a wide range of research, case studies, master classes, learnings labs, boot camping, and conferencing before delivering a white paper on public engagement in tourism in the summer of 2022.
This initiative gives a realistic possibility to join forces with other destinations and tourism changemakers in shaping and inspiring the future role and relevance of the DMOs and to develop tourism beyond tourism.Petra Stušek, President of European Cities Marketing’s (ECM), Group NAO partner since 2016.
The project’s scope raises the urgency of continuous involvement in shaping the long-term legitimacy and sustainability of tourism development in European cities over the coming years.
“Well-designed resident sentiment surveys are a good place to start, but there is a need to activate the data with open conversation and real involvement and influence on the issues raised,” stated ECM’s press release.
2. Citizen involvement
The project partners want to unfold the meaning and practice of people-based tourism in the city. In particular, many city agencies and destination marketing organizations (DMO) talk about community involvement, “Time for DMOCRACY” will explore best practices and methodologies to put action behind words and engage citizens for better tourism.
The initiative will also map existing citizen involvement and participatory models in relation to tourism, in order to develop a typology of current approaches and discuss the role of the DMO and the challenges involved.
By the end of the project, new ways of empowering people, democratic tourism development, and destination governance will be identified, including methods that diversify participation and empower actual influence and decision-making. Project partners will o prepare and upskill the DMO for new modes of governance, and define what it means in terms of functions, skills, and accountability.