Leadership and structures

Leaders and champions are required across all aspects of destinations, and partnerships and collaboration are important for success. A focus and commitment to building DM knowledge and capability across all entities involved in supporting the destination is important.

Destinations should determine the most appropriate structure(s) required to support their areas.

A collective governance approach may be adopted where diverse stakeholders can work in partnership to manage the destination and implement the plan. This approach enables both public and private sector entities to combine relevant skills and capacities and can foster mutual learning and shared experiences. This requires a commitment to collaborate and reach agreement on solutions for each entity to take responsibility for leading and implementing relevant components of the plan. A focus on accountability and ensuring stability and consistency of the governance group is required.

Another option is that a lead agency is identified which takes overall leadership and coordination of managing the destination. The agency would ensure that all elements and stakeholders work effectively together to implement the plan. A stakeholder advisory group may support the lead agency and advise and monitor progress.

“Competently managed, well-resourced Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) with strong leadership and a clear vision are integral to success.”

Professor Terry Stevens, Stevens & Associates, Wales UK

Office workers looking at documents.


  • Do we have the right leadership and structure(s) to manage our destination successfully and achieve the community’s vision, values and goals?
  • Is the leadership inclusive and supported? Does it include Māori and the community?
  • Does the leadership empower the community and stakeholders and coordinate shared delivery across multiple parties?
  • Is there a strategic, inclusive and collaborative approach?
  • Are there clear roles, responsibilities and accountability?
  • Are there sufficient resources to give the leadership structure(s) the capacity to be effective?
  • Do we have a commitment to building capability across our organisations and stakeholders?
  • Do we have a clear understanding of how we function effectively across multiple parties in a supportive and collaborative manner? Do we need to formalise this (e.g. in a formal structure or Memorandum of Understanding)?

“To make fundamental changes, DMOs often require an expanded organisational mandate, and this is no different for us as we move to a destination management organisation and lead the implementation of our ambitious destination plan called The Love of Tourism.”

Kristin Dunne, CEO, Tourism Bay of Plenty