The tourism sector is global, competitive and changing. The development of effective networks, partnerships and collaborative organizations are seen as being the key to sustainable development of the tourism industry. Destination marketing is one area where collaboration is highly appropriate and is often organized through destination marketing organizations (DMOs). DMOs focus on increasing tourism to a destination and improving its public image, and are funded largely with public money. DMOs often involve a mixture of public and private owners and customers, making them complex organizations (NHO Reiseliv, 2011). While the number of stakeholders in a DMO may be large and the field of operation extensive, the number of employees and financial resources may be rather limited. The tourism research literature includes various ideas about the purpose of or rationale for the existence of DMOs (Pike, 2004; Bornhorst et.al., 2010). Some scholars argue that DMOs are marketing organizations that generate business for a destination, while others have a broader view, seeing DMOs as management organizations (which includes marketing) best suited to providing leadership and coordination for the destination, and to managing the complexity of the tourism system (Crouch & Ritchie, 1999; Ritchie & Crouch, 2000, 2003). Nevertheless, DMOs are under increased pressure to demonstrate cost-effectiveness and show the additional value their marketing leads to (Morgan et.al., 2012). Existing DMOs are often expected to merge or in other ways reconstruct themselves into larger collaborative organizations.
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