1 Feb 2011

Tourism Improvement Districts

Should UK Tourism Businesses take responsibility for Destination Marketing now that there is little or no public funding available? This is a question that I posed on various LinkedIn discussion groups that has provided some really interesting and stimulating debate. At a time when there is little or no public funding available for tourism promotion where does that leave our tourism businesses? Where does that leave those tourism businesses who relied upon a strong public sector role in tourism and destination marketing? Who will market the destination if the local tourist board no longer has the funds to do so?

Comments and perspectives have arrived from all over the world but one model that stands out is the concept of Tourism Improvement Districts (TID) in the USA.  TIDs were developed from the Business Improvement District (BID) model, something already used in the UK. Sophie Smith from Civitas based in Sacramento said,  "They are a public-private partnership that provide a stable source of funding for marketing efforts designed to increase occupancy and room rates for lodging businesses through a small assessment on lodging stays. It enables hoteliers, and in some cases, other tourism related industries, to come together and collaborate on how best to maximize the potential of their destination and provides them with the funding to do so."

The returns from these TIDs seem impressive "The districts do indeed work for both for small, regional destinations as well as large cities. In California, our firm has formed districts for small and large cities alike. The smallest district we formed was in the City of Del Mar, consisting of 5 hotels and raising $130,000 annually."

iVisitorGuide has formed a business relationship with Civitas, a California based Consultancy that has been involved in the creation of more than 100 TIDs in America. The following is a video of John Lambeth, President of Civitas very effectively describing the merits and mutual benefits of the TID concept.

Could this be a model for the UK? Is the time now right for Tourism Businesses to become more involved in Destination Marketing and is this the sort of public / private sector collaboration that could work here?

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn - http://uk.linkedin.com/in/martyncollins and join in some of the discussion on groups such as Tourism Management Institute, Destination Strategies, Tourism Society or VisitBritain.

If any DMO, LEP or LA would like more details on how TIDs might be the most effective vehicle for tourism funding please contact me.

For more information on Civitas visit http://www.civitasadvisors.com/index.htm