A four month online professional and organizational development program designed to help transition Georgian DMOs into a financially sustainable and impactful organization that leads the destination’s successful development, marketing, management, and research efforts for their destination regions.
- Client: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
- Partners: DAI, Georgia National Tourism Administration, DMO leaders from Ajara, Kakheti, Imereti, Svaneti, Samegrelo, and Samtskhe-Javakheti regions
- Project Duration: May 2020 – September 2020
Supported by the USAID Economic Security Program, Solimar lead a sixteen week online professional and organizational development program designed to help transition Georgian Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) into financially sustainable and impactful organizations. The program was developed in collaboration with Jennifer Wesselhoff, President and CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, and is designed to be practical and based on real world examples and best practices. The learning content and outputs are based on Destinations International’s Destination Management Accreditation Program (DMAP) Standards developed by DMO industry professionals. The online DMO Development Virtual Technical Assistance Program is aimed at improving the capacity and understanding of DMO staff in the Republic of Georgia.
The program consisted of a four-month DMO Development Virtual Technical Assistance Program to DMO Development Stakeholders in six destination regions in the Republic of Georgia including Ajara, Kakheti, Imereti, Svaneti, Samegrelo, and Samtskhe-Javakheti. This program allowed participants to follow a series of online lessons which build their knowledge of DMOs and provided resources for creating the documents and policies needed to ensure a DMO’s success. DMO staff were able to login and access the program content online and went through the learning program at their own pace.
- 16 DMO Development Learning Sessions: 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 covered a full range of DMO development issues and solutions, including:
- 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
- Recorded video interviews with US and European DMO professionals on each of the weekly learning sessions.
- Weekly assignments for Georgian DMO participants to assist them in creating outputs that can be directly integrated into their DMO’s operations. Each assignment is based on the week’s learning topic and used applicable examples/templates.
- The international DMO development consultant organizes weekly live sessions to include all Georgian DMO participants meet online to discuss the learning content, discuss how these topics can be adapted to their specific destination/DMO, introduce the weekly assignments, and answer any questions.
- The program improved the six Georgian DMOs, including professional, management, and vocational skill development; supporting new service and product development; strengthening cooperation between key sector stakeholders; and developing and co-funding partnerships that have catalytic impacts in these sectors. By accelerating growth in the tourism sector (among others), it will contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic growth and economic diversification for Georgia.
- Created the necessary organizational documents and marketing materials needed to strengthen the Georgian DMOs and ensure the sustainability of the organizations and the private sector engagement.
- Strengthened Georgian destination management organizations by providing relevant and practical instruction to provide the necessary tools to develop and improve regional destination management strategies for a sustainable future in tourism.