It’s about being more systematic, thoughtful and imaginative  ... and flying less by the seat of your pants, as daily events so quickly take over and dominate your attention. By way of example, consider the remarkable, longer term strategy-led successes of New Zealand (including its world famous 'adventure capital', Queenstown), Costa Rica (eco- tourism) and Australia - with all achieving creditable growth in visitation and source-market desirability. Results achieved despite the comparatively small scale of their tourism industries, and the perception (at least) of an arduous and costly international trip to reach their shores. ^ Particularly if it is to take full advantage of its available attractions & resources and prioritize their use to maximum effect. (Often greater tourism appeal & impact is made possible by thinking regionally.) But on the other hand, if insufficient attractions exist and distances or location are particularly adverse, the real question could be - 'Is tourism really a serious option for us'?  (Or are we simply engaging in wishful thinking?)  If not already undertaken, a tourism destination assessment can help answer this question.
Why are strategic plans so important to tourism success? KEY INSIGHT: Sales and marketing development activity undertaken in a strategic vacuum can never realize its true potential and results.  Successful destinations fully understand and meticulously apply this most fundamental of principles to all their marketing. Integrated marketing and development strategies are particularly vital to the tourism futures of destinations (whether local, regional, or state) with one or more of the following characteristics:   1. Newly emerging, or facing intensive competition (including an oversupply of visitor destinations); 2. Have an embryonic mix of niche attractions - whose combined potential is unrealized; 3. Possess insufficient existing attractions or known experiences - but opportunities exist; 4. Can now only offer largely aging attractions of diminishing quality, depth and appeal; 5. Possess great natural attractions* at risk of losing their appeal - if not properly conserved, managed and planned. (*Or alternatively, highly distinctive or authentic built environments and heritage sites.)    The smaller, more distant, or less well known a destination is, the more it also needs to develop the best tourism strategy plans possible - on a local and/or regional basis.^ Even the most fortunate and dynamic of destinations are in need of sound, action-based strategies as well. The more astute of these already know that thorough market research, strategic analysis and flexible planning (e.g. over 1 to 3 years) is a necessity, if they are to remain competitive against other active visitor destinations with the same or higher appeal. Investing extra time & effort in strategic planning is about knowing where you are going and how to get there. It’s about doing smart things for the right reasons to get the best results.
Tourism Destination Development
Strategic Planning and Marketing: ‘Where the competitive edge really lies’ By Bruce Dickson, Tourism Development Solutions (TDS)   
TDS Tourism Strategy Plans  
THE ULTIMATE KEY TO STRATEGIC SUCCESS READ MORE TDS: Specialists in Destination Audits and Tourism Assessments  Visitor Experience & Market Communication Reviews Tourism Strategy Plans and Niche Market Development   Destination Positioning and Branding
© Tourism Development Solutions 2012
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
“Tourism strategies that are innovative and powerful demonstrate .. their ability to integrate and see issues and possibilities as a whole.  Rather than just carrying on in bits and pieces in a 'business as usual' mode - a mode that is blind to sharpening outcomes and new (more effective) ways of achieving greater results. This is where the competitive edge really lies.” - Henry Mintzberg (The rise & fall of strategic planning)