What is tourism success? Specifically, what does tourism success mean for a destination as opposed to a destination management organization (DMO)? The main objectives of this study were to examine the concept of tourism success as it relates to both destinations and to DMOs, and to determine if a relationship or distinction exists between the two. Eighty-four (84) knowledgeable tourism managers and stakeholders from twenty-five (25) Canadian destinations were interviewed. Responses were used to identify variables and build a model that supports the existence of a relationship between the success of tourism destinations and DMOs with respect to community relations, marketing, and economic indicators. Unique to DMO success were supplier relations, effective management, strategic planning, organizational focus and drive, proper funding, and quality personnel. Unique to destination success were location and accessibility, attractive product and service offerings, quality visitor experiences, and community support.
To conclude, achieving success in tourism is challenging and ill understood. We hope that this study will prove to be a small step towards enhancing our understanding of the variables associated with both DMO and destination success.