November 30, 2020

When Youcheng Wang and Zheng Xiang published Toward a Theoretical Framework of Collaborative Destination Marketing in 2007 the tourism industry faced twin challenges of a segmented industry and increased global competition. With many different voices fighting to capture the attention of potential visitors a solution was needed to maximize the impact and effectiveness of tourism destination marketing. Collaboration among industry stakeholders was a such a solution and Wang and Xiang’s Propose Framework for Destination Marketing Alliance Formation provided a roadmap to plan for and implement successful collaborations. 

Wang and Xiang recognized there were many theories that predict successful collaboration – yet none fully addressed the complexity of the tourism industry and the challenge of destination marketing. So, they developed the Proposed Framework for Destination Marketing Alliance Formation to accommodate the tourism industry’s unique needs such as engaging a diverse network of stakeholders and implementing dynamic strategies to market destinations.   

The framework outlines preconditions and motivations for collaboration in the tourism industry along with the stages of the collaboration process. The framework also includes three crucial elements which facilitate the process, communication, trust, and commitment. Additionally, Wang and Xiang identify the outcomes of collaboration which include: strategy realization, organization learning, and social capital building. 

These three outcomes are what stood out to me in reading this article as they not only address the destination marketing challenges the industry had to address in 2007– segmentation, increasing competition – but the destination management challenges the industry contends with today. As we navigate uncharted territory to determine how best to ensure the well-being of our destination residents, tourism employees, industry partners, and visitors there is never a more important time to create successful collaborations that will help our industry thrive through these current challenges and be more resilient to those in the future. 

Submitted by:  Whitney Knollenberg   Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management North Carolina State University

Editor Note: The study the author is reflecting upon is available free to the public until September 2021 as a part of the Tribute to TTRA’s 50th anniversary from the Journal of Travel Research.