DMMOs as an alibi!

(Published in 14.05.2024, in greek)

In mature tourism economies, phenomena of uncoordinated actions between the private and public sectors can often be observed. Destination management is a classic example.

The private sector, which is more visionary, more creative and above all more flexible, is developing at a pace that the public sector cannot keep up with. As a result, the general infrastructure of a destination lags behind and is unable to adequately meet the needs of demand.

This leads to a gradual decline in the attractiveness and competitiveness of the destination. Phenomena such as poor value for money, negative experiences for tourists/visitors, disruption to host communities and environmental impacts can be observed. The consequences are a decline in demand, price reductions and a slowdown in the rate of growth.

When the impact becomes too severe, everyone discusses the need for destination management. However, it is not clear who will do this. This is where the “show” begins: lots of private sector applications and even more public sector announcements to set up destination management and marketing organizations (DMMOs)! With the usual delay, legislative efforts then follow.

According to Law 4875/2021 on DMMOs, their establishment - in theory, because in practice the project seemed impossible from the outset - is envisaged on the initiative and under the responsibility of the local authorities!

To date, the result is as expected: none, zero and nothing!

Meanwhile, the fact that there are no DMMOs is the excuse for almost all tourism development problems! Then came tenders/competitions for pilot DMMOs. In a very good scenario, there is a chance that in a few years we will have the first DMMO, “in theory”, always under the leadership of local authorities, who obviously lack expertise and resources. In this case, not only will the outcome of the DMMO measures not reach the desired level, but the coordination of the different actors will be even more confused.

It is not possible for local authorities’ officials employed by a local development organisation, for example, who have no knowledge or experience in tourism, to effectively manage the destination by simply “changing the title”.

Despite all this, there are still "voices" at various levels of government and in businesses suggesting the establishment/operation of DMMOs under the management and responsibility of the public sector as the best option for tourism development!

Well, ladies and gentlemen, shall we review this?


George Drakopoulos