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