Greece Aiming to Take Tourism a Step Further with DMMOs
Aiming to offer the tools for Greece’s municipal and regional authorities to market the tourism products of their destinations, build their brand and elevate the visitor experience, the Greek Tourism Ministry on Monday presented the operational framework for the launch of Destination Management and Marketing Organisations (DMMOs).
The framework follows the passing of a law (4875/2021) by the Greek government for the establishment of DMMOs in the country in order to secure a public-private cooperation framework for the strategic promotion of tourism destinations and their products; ensure the quality of offered services; and take Greece’s tourism model to the next level.
Speaking to a room of tourism professionals, Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias highlighted that DMMOs form the backbone of tourism destinations as they exist to promote them, attract visitors, and develop a sustainable economy for local communities.
DMMOs have a number of responsibilities including the creation of new products to enhance both the visitor’s experience and the identity of the brand of destinations.
Aiming to guide municipal and regional authorities in their first steps to establishing DMMOs, the tourism ministry cooperated with the Greek branch of Horwath HTL, a leading hospitality consulting brand, and drew up the operational framework for the establishment of such organizations.
“This is a modern marketing and management tool for tourism, which was developed by the ministry in order to help municipalities and regional authorities on everything that has to do with development and especially sustainable tourism development,” Kikilias said, highlighting that the establishment of DMMOs will bring regions and municipalities together with the private sector to plan and develop successful policies for Greek destinations and upgrade the tourism product in accordance to insights from statistical tourism data.
“This is very important as it will contribute to our effort and vision to establish Greece as a destination to visit 365 days a year,” he said.
Presenting the operational framework that a municipality or region should follow to establish a DMMO, Horwath HTL Greece Country Director Xenophon Petropoulos explained that the responsibilities of such organizations have evolved.
“In the past and until today, DMMOs usually undertook mainly marketing activities… However, their responsibilities are now becoming wider and they are considered a strategic leader in destination planning and management,” he said.
According to the presentation, the responsibilities of DMMOs include the promotion of the tourism product; creation and development of tourism policies; studying and monitoring the upgrading and modernization of infrastructure and public utility services; preparing studies; planning marketing and tourism promotion strategies; developing new tourist products; and establishing local observatories of sustainable tourism development.
Funding is essential to keep DMMOs afloat
During the presentation, Petropoulos underlined that determining costs and revenues is a very basic issue for DMMOs which must constantly develop new ways to secure funding and remain competitive.
Examples of funding sources for DMMOs include seeking government funding, EU funding or private funding (through sponsorships/partnerships).
“This is the biggest obstacle that we have seen both in Greece and abroad over time… DMMOS are founded and then suddenly disappear due to the fact that they have not managed to secure a continuous flow of funding to continue their services,” he said.
Cooperation is key
Speaking during the event, Attica Governor George Patoulis highlighted that cooperation between all parties is key for DMMOs to see success.
“Cooperation is a guarantee for the future and helps develop the appropriate tools to overcome problems,” Patoulis said, adding that a DMMO can be a ‘compass’ to guide local authorities towards a common direction to follow for successful destination management.
The ministry’s event was attended by all Greek tourism bodies including the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, the Hellenic Hoteliers Federation, representatives from Piraeus Port, Athens International Aiport (AIA) and municipal and regional authorities.