Define the destination

Defining the destination is important when multiple stakeholders with various perspectives are involved. In addition, it fosters a pragmatic approach that can ensure progress and success.

Destinations vary in geographical size and scale of activity. The Destination Management (DM) plan can focus on a specific geographical/spatial area, such as a locality, town, district or region, or a cluster of experiences that has visitor appeal and demand.

While various perspectives are valuable, the approach needs to be ‘visitor-centric’, to inform discussions and decision making. Visitors do not necessarily understand geographical, locational or political boundaries. Therefore, it is important to consider the current visitor movements and behaviour in and around the destination, as well as the destination’s relationship and links to neighbouring destinations.

A DM plan is most successful when the tourism stakeholders have a natural affinity, when there is a community of interest and it is practical for them to work together.

Queenstown at dusk with mountains and lake

Queenstown, Winter Wonderland lights

DM planning can apply to a macro-area, region, district or specific location. All of these layers are relevant in the context of the destination and stakeholder needs.


  • Are the DM plan boundaries relevant to the needs of the visitors and their movements and behaviour?
  • Is this a destination in its own right, and/or is it part of a broader destination or journey to reach another destination?
  • Are there linkages to neighbouring destinations and recognition of visitor flows?
  • Does the DM planning area recognise;
    • iwi rohe (boundaries) that affect the focus and responsibility/accountability of the destination?
    • communities and their needs and aspirations?
    • organisational, political and funding considerations that affect the focus and responsibility/accountability of the destination (e.g. the RTOs/Territorial Local Authorities)?