Destination Management and the establishment of Destination Management Organization: Case Study of Thessaloniki, Greece
School of Economics, Business Administration and Legal Studies, MSc in Environmental Management and Sustainability
Tourism is one of the largest industries globally with continuous growth. While more and more destinations emerge, the need for organized management approach and the establishment of strong collaborations amongst destination’s stakeholders becomes significant. Since the nature of a destination is characterized by complexity, the management of a destination is an equally complex process. Destination Management Organizations have the leading role of coordinating the various stakeholders under a coherent strategy; to do so, they need to identify each stakeholder’s type and address them accordingly.
Moreover urban, and especially city break tourism gains popularity over time. However, the management of urban tourism destinations is a diverse topic and very challenging in terms of making consistent tourism planning.
The present dissertation attempts to investigate the destination management for the case of Thessaloniki, Greece. As the second largest city in the country, Thessaloniki has developed its tourism activities over the years, being promoted as a city break destination. Although there is, a wide variety of stakeholders involved in the city’s tourism, there is no clear image regarding the management.
The stakeholders don’t seem to have any major differences considering their perception of the city’s image. However there is an evident lack of cooperation amongst them. Consequently, there are many individual efforts for the city, but they are not made under a consistent strategy. Thessaloniki’s Tourism Organization, which is responsible for the coordination of stakeholders’ and the marketing strategy of the city, re-operates after some years of inactivity; although it hasn’t fully undertaken all of its responsibilities, yet. Due to TTO’s inactivity other organizations, such as Municipality of Thessaloniki and Thessaloniki’s Hotel Association, seem to undertake the DMO’s role the last years.
The majority of interviewees would be positive to participate and support the establishment of a DMO in the city, if it was a private-public structured Organization. Also, they pointed out some potential barriers mostly referring to the public side of the DMO.
Concluding, even though there is no consistent strategy for the city to be followed by any tourism related stakeholder, TTO has to widen its responsibilities and take over the coordinating role, in order to cover destination’s lacks, ensure a more consistent image of the city and make it a competitive tourism product.