The Tourist Office becomes a destination management organization

MTourism Minister Josephine Connolly is moving forward with plans announced in her July 2021 Budget Speech to transform the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourism Board into a Destination Management Organization (DMO).

SUN understands that in recent weeks there have been several meetings focused on the transition.

In his budget speech, Connolly said the ambition was to turn the tourist board into a DMO. This type of structure, she said, facilitates partnerships with various authorities, stakeholders and professionals to achieve a unified mission towards the vision of a destination.

“This organization will develop and manage strategic approaches to marketing, product development and promotional activities. These strategies must be comprehensive and address all elements of the tourism industry, marketing promotions, local accommodation, tours , events, activities, attractions, transportation and more, ”she said.

“To facilitate this vision, it will be necessary to engage a highly qualified and knowledgeable project team and an advisory committee, working closely together. The committee will be essential and will share its experience, knowledge, skills and abilities with the project team. project transition identified. “

Connolly explained that there will also be a tourism regulatory arm that will exist as a unit within the ministry and establish, monitor and maintain standards for the entire industry, including accommodation, transportation. , tour operators, service providers, etc.

She said the advisory body will also be responsible for commenting, reviewing and advising on the development of this unit and standards for the industry.

Connolly said the expanded project team will aim for the following key deliverables to enable the Tourism Board’s transition to a full authority:

• Implementation plan / time bound
• Policies to steer the vision of the two entities
• A draft of the roles and responsibilities for the new organization
• A transition schedule that speaks to HR elements about transitions
• Write ordinances, laws, procedures to facilitate both organs
• Forms, licenses, certificates
• Training manuals, procedures
• A revised set of standards for the entire industry

“This is a gigantic task and we are already doing our investigation, research and data so that we can ‘start running’ with this transition,” she said in July.

Connolly noted that the prominence in this year’s budget is the transformation of the tourism sector through the development of a destination management organization and regulatory authority, adding that the allocation is split between the ministry and the tourist office.

“As with the development of a governance structure, similarly, we expect the Tourism Board to recruit a management team to accomplish the deliverables in this area. These deliverables include clear written strategic documents with implementation plans for product development, marketing and promotions The transition to a DMO will revolutionize approaches in these areas and the result will be a strategy of shared development, implementation and funding of our product and aligned strategies, ”added Connolly.

“Tourism is our main economic engine. We have heard time and time again that the Turks and Caicos Islands remain one of the most tourism dependent territories in the world and certainly in the region. COVID-19 has underscored the need for us to work critically towards diversification of not the only source of income, but the diversification of our product. This has highlighted the need for us to review the way we run this industry and certainly the need to establish a management style that is more aware of the role of the civic and private sector while developing ways to share costs in industry.

She also said in her budget speech that “by way of strategy” the Tourism Board was considering recommendations for the management of some of its overseas offices.

“These offices are an important aspect of promotion and marketing and are located in key source markets. Each strategy requires review and evaluation. It is hoped that evaluating the results of these offices can help the board make decisions. reviews to ensure value for money, ”she said.

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