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This was the topic of DTTT Italia’s contribution to the latest Digital Tourism Innovation Campus: Creativity vs Confusion, a dichotomy between two elements that are both part of the Italian character. Creativity is something that Italy never missed, since the Renaissance and even before: we are great when we are asked to create something new. Our problem is to give our creations a long-term perspective: lack of strategy (at national, regional and local level) and well-structured organization is something that deeply affects our DMOs and our tourism industry in general. The apparent opposition between creativity and confusion is according to us a good metaphor of the Italian DMOs’ dilemma.

How can we try to innovate organizations that most of the times obey to old tourism marketing frameworks? How can we define a new role for Italian DMOs when sometimes even the old role is not clear? How can we think to a reactive and flexible organization, able to work inside an unknown scenario, when we are still adopting a classic “top-down” approach?

The challenge of DMO transformation has got some peculiar features in Italy.

We strongly believe that we need to find an “Italian way” to innovate, and sometimes to radically transform our DMOs.
Experience on the ground shows us that DMOs have been recently overtaken and “shacked” in their mission by new players, such as OTAs, UGC and new sharing economy platforms. The evaluation of our work is still made through generic and old metrics, such as arrivals and overnights, which are not able to tell us anything relevant about the real performance of our organizations. We continue to plan activities for all the stakeholders of the destination and not for specific targets, while we experience that it’s getting everyday harder to gain acknowledgment by them. We insist on planning our strategies inside our offices, to read the destination flows according to our perception, without taking into consideration stakeholders’ opinions and knowledge.

Most of all, very often we forget who is the main stakeholder of our destination: the tourist himself.

Italian DMOs need to start working side by side with local businesses: this is possible especially at a regional and local level. We absolutely need to figure out how we can work to support the industry and plan programs to empower our stakeholders. The modern DMO needs to co-create, together with local stakeholders, the best stage in which the tourism experience happens.
The contribution of Digital Tourism Think Tank Italia tries to go in this direction.

We believe in change, we believe in a #DMOrevolution.

Fabio Sacco e Luca D’Angelo

Fabio Sacco, destination manager, run for three years a local DMO in Trentino (Valle del Chiese) and for one year and a half one in Sardinia (Budoni Welcome). He works on destination management and marketing projects in Italy and abroad.

Luca D’Angelo, destination manager, run for three years Valsugana Tourism Board (Trentino) and he’s now the destination manager at Dolomiti Paganella Tourism Board (Trentino).

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