A four-month online professional and organizational development program designed to help transition local DMOs into financially sustainable and impactful organizations that lead your destination’s development, marketing, management, and research efforts.
- Client: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
- Partners: Smithsonian Institute, DMO leaders from the Syunik, Vayots Dzor, Shirak, Lori, and Tavush regions
- Project Duration: June 15, 2020 – October 15, 2020
The purpose of the DMO Development Virtual Technical Assistance Program is to increase and improve the knowledge and abilities of DMO staff in Armenia. With the support of the United States Agency for International Development and the Smithsonian Institute, Solimar delivered a virtual DMO Development educational course aligned with the My Armenia Cultural Sustainability Program to build the capacity of five local destination management organizations. This program helped to strengthen the organizations so they are in a better position to increase cultural heritage tourism by increasing the number of tourist visits, increasing spending and days stayed per tourist with an emphasis outside of the capital, and creating new job opportunities for Armenians.
The program consisted of a four-month Destination Management Organization (DMO) Development Virtual Technical Assistance Program to DMO Development Stakeholders in MAP’s five target destinations. This program allowed participants to follow a series of online lessons which build their knowledge of DMOs and provide resources for creating the documents and policies needed to ensure a DMO’s success. The learning content and outputs are based on Destinations International’s Destination Management Accreditation Program (DMAP) Standards developed by the leading association for DMO industry professionals.
- Established an online platform and upload learning content and assignments weekly for participants to easily access.
- Developed 16 DMO Development Learning Sessions (approximately 3 hours each) that include pre-recorded video presentations, written learning content, example/template materials designed to cover how to form, build, and sustain a successful DMO, and a live virtual session with all DMO participants to discuss the learning topic and the output exercises. The content, posted on the online platform weekly, covered:
- The role of DMO governance & ensuring effective board participation
- COVID-19 recovery action planning for your destination
- Developing new funding streams for your organization
- Strengthening private sector participation in DMO activities
- Developing and delivering offline and online visitor services before, during, and after a trip
- Branding and marketing strategies (online and off)
- Sustainable destination management and protecting cultural and natural resources
- DMO monitoring and reporting
- Recruited and interviewed U.S. and European DMO professionals to produce a video interview on each of the 16 weekly learning sessions to be included as part of the learning process.
- Developed weekly assignments for participants that assist them in creating outputs that can be directly integrated into their DMO’s operations (e.g. to develop a marketing plan the participants may be asked to rank their target markets in order of priority and then think about what the destination offers to that specific target market). Each assignment was based on the week’s learning topic and will use applicable examples/templates.
- In coordination with the My Armenia Program product development specialist (PDS), a weekly live session where each participant and the local PDS meet online to discuss the learning content, discuss how this topic can be adapted to their specific destination/DMO, introduce the weekly assignment, and answer any questions.
- Five well-run regional destination management organizations with the capacity to increase cultural heritage tourism by increasing the number of tourist visits, increasing spending and days stayed per tourist with an emphasis outside of the capital, and create new job opportunities for Armenians.