Over the past few years, there has been a growing awareness of the need to rethink the role of destination organizations in the tourism industry. With concerns over overtourism, environmental sustainability, and social responsibility, there is growing recognition that the old destination marketing and management models will evolve into broader mandates.
As a result, we have seen many innovative and progressive experiments worldwide that have significantly changed the narrative in terms of what we do as destination organizations. These experiments have been driven by a new generation of destination leaders willing to think big, take risks, and challenge the status quo.
Here are a few examples:
- Wonderful Copenhagen and its groundbreaking initiative, The End of Tourism As We Know It. This initiative aimed to shift the focus of tourism from quantity to quality, focusing on sustainability, authenticity, and community engagement.
- Helsinki Partners has developed an innovative management structure that positions the organization as an investment, marketing, and talent attraction hub. This new approach has enabled Helsinki to attract top talent, secure new investments, and position itself as a leading destination for innovation and creativity.
- Aspen, Colorado, has also made a decisive shift in its approach to tourism, focusing on "protecting this house" in response to overwhelming sentiment from residents. See “How Aspen, Colorado, is designing a “Capacity Compression, and Comfort” model of visitor volume.”
All of these experiments share a common trait: they are big, bold, and audacious ideas that have challenged the status quo and opened up new opportunities for engagement with local communities and citizens. They have had to cut through the clutter and reset the dialogue to move forward.
And now, we have another example to add to this list: Vancouver Island's 4VI. This destination organization has redefined itself as a social enterprise, with a mandate to serve 800,000 residents and ensure that tourism is a resilient force for good on the island.
Led by Anthony Everett, 4VI is a co-creative entity committed to building an enduring, vibrant, and sustainable visitor economy. By engaging with local communities, businesses, and stakeholders, 4VI is building a new model of destination management that prioritizes sustainability, authenticity, and social responsibility.
The results speak for themselves: 4VI is working, and it's working well. By focusing on the needs of residents and the environment, 4VI has positioned itself as a leader in the tourism industry and a model for other destinations worldwide.
Enjoy the episode.