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Archetypes of destination governance: a comparison of international destinations

Francesca d'Angella (Università IULM, Milan, Italy)
Manuela De Carlo (Università IULM, Milan, Italy)
Ruggero Sainaghi (Università IULM, Milan, Italy)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 23 November 2010




The systemic nature of tourism products generates the need for a broad involvement of destination stakeholders in the destination management organization's (DMO) activities and makes destination governance, defined as the setting up and developing of rules and mechanisms for business strategies by involving stakeholders (Beritelli et al.), an interesting topic. Over the last seven years the authors have conducted an in‐depth study of governance and performance of 13 European tourism destinations – three mountain and two seaside destinations, four urban cities and four small heritage cities (Sainaghi; d'Angella; De Carlo and Dubini) – which represent an interesting sample to study this topic. This paper aims to discuss these issues.


A qualitative methodology is adopted; applying a theoretical model (Airoldi et al.) to the sample, the authors analyzed the governance structure of the selected destinations in terms of typologies of stakeholders involved, contributions provided, rewards obtained, decision‐making processes and mechanisms which link these four components.


The clinical cases (Yin; Eisenhardt) reported in the paper reveal several archetypes in destination governance structures defined according to different variables: destination manager characteristics; amount (absolute and relative) of financial contributions managed by the destination manager; financial model (firms and public bodies participation in destination manager annual budget); number of actors participating in the governance structure; number of actors participating in permanent meta‐management activities.

Practical implications

The empirical analysis offers interesting implications for both the academic debate and practitioners. From an academic point of view, this categorization enriches the academic contributions on destination governance, which are often descriptive. Moreover, the model allows identifying key variables and relationships in order to analyze and assess destination governance structures. At the same time, this framework offers interesting insights for destination managers responsible for the design and management of the governance structure.


This paper proposes a model originally projected to analyze firms' governance for the analysis of DMOs governance. The authors decided to apply this model because it offers a new perspective to study destination governance, which considers the complexity of the environment and the different kinds of relationships between stakeholders.



d'Angella, F., De Carlo, M. and Sainaghi, R. (2010), "Archetypes of destination governance: a comparison of international destinations", Tourism Review, Vol. 65 No. 4, pp. 61-73.



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