Policy and Destination Management

Policy and Destination Management

UN Tourism works to provide guidance and share good practices on policies and governance models aimed to effectively support the tourism sector at the different levels: national, regional and local.

The development and management of tourism destinations requires a holistic approach to policy and governance.

Governance has two specific dimensions:

  • Directive capacity of government, determined by coordination and collaboration as well as by the participation of networks of stakeholders.
  • Directive effectiveness, determined by institutional skills and resources that support the ways in which processes are conducted to define goals and search for solutions and opportunities for relevant stakeholders, and by the provision of tools and means for their joint execution.

In this sense, UN Tourism works to support its Members in their efforts to develop efficient governance models / structures and policies, focusing  among others on:

  • Tourism policy and strategic planning
  • Governance and vertical cooperation, i.e. national-regional-local levels
  • Public Private Partnership (PPP)

Destination Management

Destination management consists of the coordinated management of all the elements that make up a tourism destination. Destination management takes a strategic approach to link-up these sometimes very separate elements for the better management of the destination. Joined up management can help to avoid overlapping functions and duplication of effort with regards to promotion, visitor services, training, business support and identify any management gaps that are not being addressed.

Destination management calls for a coalition of many organizations and interests working towards a common goal, ultimately being the assurance of the competitiveness and sustainability of the tourism destination. The Destination Management Organization’s (DMO) role should be to lead and coordinate activities under a coherent strategy in pursuit of this common goal.

Though DMOs have typically undertaken marketing activities, their remit is becoming far broader, to become a strategic leader in destination development. This is a vital ingredient for success in every tourism destination and many destinations now have DMOs to lead the way.

From a traditionally marketing and promotion focus the trend is to become leading organizations with a broader mandate which includes strategic planning, coordination and management of activities within an adequate governance structure with the integration of different stakeholders operating in the destination under a common goal. Destinations wherein such an organization is not still in place are increasingly creating or plan to create a DMO as the organizational entity to lead the way.

UN Tourism has identified three areas of key performance in destination management at DMO level: Strategic Leadership, Effective Implementation and Efficient Governance.

UN Tourism supports its Members and Destination Management/Marketing Organizations through the UN Tourism.QUEST - a DMO Certification System. UN Tourism.QUEST promotes quality and excellence in DMOs planning, management and governance of tourism, by means of capacity building. UN Tourism.QUEST Certification evaluates the three areas of key performance in destination management at DMO level: Strategic Leadership, Effective Implementation and Efficient Governance. With a training and capacity building component, UN Tourism.QUEST is a strategic tool which allows the DMOs to implement an improvement plan to achieve the criteria and standards of the Certification with the aim of enhancing their management processes and thus contribute to the competitiveness and sustainability of the destinations they represent.

Events & Publications

UNWTO Guidelines for Institutional Strengthening of Destination Management Organizations (DMOs)UN Tourism Guidelines for Institutional Strengthening of Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) – Preparing DMOs for new challenges

Many factors account for the increased focus on effective destination management, all of them urging destination management organizations (DMOs) to face and adapt to new challenges. From traditional marketing and promotion boards the trend is for these entities to increasingly enlarge their scope to become all embracing DMOs, aiming to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of destinations within a harmonious relationship between the residents and visitors.

UN Tourism Guidelines for Institutional Strengthening of Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) – Preparing DMOs for new challenges

Competitiveness Committee (CTC)

The Committee on Tourism and Competitiveness (CTC) is one of the technical committees of the UN Tourism and it is a subsidiary organ of the Executive Council. The Committee was established at the 95th session of the Executive Council in Belgrade, Serbia in May 2013 (CE/DEC/7(XCV). Its Rules of Procedure and the composition were approved by the Executive Council at its 96th session (Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, August 2013) (CE/DEC/9(XCVI). 

Since its establishment in 2013, CTC focused its work mainly on assessing the state of knowledge on the basic concept of “tourism competitiveness” and identifying its key factors. This process has also included identifying, developing and harmonizing concepts, models and operational definitions used in the tourism value chain.

(a) To support the Organization in fulfilling its normative role;

(b) To provide a dialogue mechanism between the public and private tourism stakeholders and academia to give guide in building and strengthening tourism competitiveness policies and strategies; and

(c) To build synergies and strategic alignments in the harmonization of the related activities of the Secretariat as well as other collaborating organizations/entities in order to ensure consistency and consensus in the delivery of the outputs and reinforce the official position of the Organization. 

Provide UNWTO Members and other tourism stakeholders with a comprehensive and concise, operational, applicable and globally relevant conceptual framework to set the scene and contribute to establish a common ground for a clear harmonized understanding of:

i) concepts, models and operational definitions used in the tourism value chain;

ii) the quantitative and qualitative factors that explain competitiveness at the destination level which may be translated into technical guidelines facilitating a methodology for destinations to identify and evaluate their own factors of competitiveness. 

As an outcome of the work of the CTC, the 22nd Session of the General Assembly held in Chengdu, China (11-16 September 2017) adopted as Recommendations key definitions. Along with these definitions the Committee also focused on identifying the key quantitative and qualitative factors for “tourism competitiveness” under two categories: i) governance, management and market dynamics, and ii) destination appeal, attractors, products and supply. 

Full list of definitions adopted by the 22nd Session of the General Assembly held in Chengdu, China (11-16 September 2017)

Operational definitions used in the tourism value chain Operational definitions on tourism types
Tourism Destination Cultural Tourism Business Tourism (related to the Meetings Industry)
Destination Management / Marketing Organization Ecotourism Gastronomy Tourism
Tourism Product Rural Tourism Coastal, Maritime and Island Water Tourism
Tourism Value Chain Adventure Tourism Urban/City Tourism
Quality of a Tourism Destination Health Tourism Mountain Tourism
Innovation in Tourism Wellness Tourism Education Tourism
Competitiveness of a Tourism Destination Medical Tourism Sport Tourism

As part of the work of the UNWTO Committee on Tourism and Competitiveness (CTC) in its mandate for the period 2015-2019 prepared a paper on "Tourism Policy and Strategic Planning" which delves into this factor for tourism competitiveness. This paper (available below in pdf) aims to:

  • Provide UNWTO Members with a comprehensive understanding on national tourism policies and contribute to their successful formulation and implementation;
  • Explore key areas which need to be addressed in tourism policy and strategic planning in order to ensure the competitiveness and sustainable development of tourism;
  • Assess the key areas addressed by UNWTO Members in their tourism policies and provide case studies to illustrate key elements of a sound tourism policy; and
  • Serve as a practical tool for UNWTO Members and tourism policymakers by including a set of recommendations.


Composition of the CTC (2019-2023)

Full Members 

Fiji (Vice-chair)
Republic of Moldova
Senegal (Chair)

Representative of the Associate Members
Macao, China (2019-2021)
Puerto Rico (2021-2023)

Representative of the Affiliate Members 
FITUR, Spain (2019-2021)
Asociación Empresarial hotelera de Madrid (AEHM), Spain (2021-2023)

Meetings of the CTC:

1st Meeting: 25 August, 2013, Victoria Falls, Zambia /Zimbabwe (during 20th UN Tourism General Assembly)
1st Virtual Meeting: 27 March, 2014
2nd Virtual Meeting: 3 July, 2014
3rd Virtual Meeting: 22 October, 2014
2nd Meeting: 28 January, 2015, Madrid, Spain
3rd Meeting: 13 September, 2015, Medellin, Colombia (during 21st UN Tourism General Assembly)
4th Meeting: 22 January, 2016, Madrid, Spain
4th Virtual Meeting: 21 April, 2016
5th Meeting: 20 January, 2017, Madrid, Spain
5th Virtual Meeting: 2 March, 2017
6th Meeting: 11 September, 2017, Chengdu, China (during 22nd UN Tourism General Assembly)
7th Meeting: 19 January, 2018, Madrid, Spain
8th Meeting: 10 September 2019, Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation (during 23rd UN Tourism General Assembly)
9th Meeting: 24 January, 2020, Madrid, Spain
10th Virtual Meeting: 30 July 2020
11th CTC Meeting: 30 November 2021, Madrid, Spain (during the 24th UN Tourism General Assembly)
12th Virtual Meeting: 12 September, 2022

members of the committee of tourism and competitiveness

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