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Why DMOs and Tourism Organizations Do not Really 'Get/Attract Visitors': Uncovering the Truth behind a Cargo Cult

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posted on 2019-10-01, 13:16 authored by Pietro BeritelliPietro Beritelli, Christian Laesser

The term "getting visitors" is a colloquial expression of the assumption that tourist organizations of all sorts (DMOs) (Destination Marketing/Management Organizations) can attract new or additional visitors to a destination especially by using communication tools. In this article, we use well-founded scientific studies, critical reasoning, and practical considerations to argue that this assumption rarely holds. Eleven selected myths surrounding the practice of DMOs are critically examined and characterized as a cargo cult. It turns out that huge effort is put into creating extremely little added value in terms of additional visitors. The consequences, especially for today's "marketing-oriented" DMOs, are far-reaching. DMOs still have legitimacy. But this must be based on the original rationale behind DMOs, specifically as a solution to instances of market failure in public spaces.