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Industry, government, and community: power and leadership in a resource constrained DMO

Susan L. Slocum (Assistant Professor at School of Recreation, Health and Tourism, George Mason University, Manassas, Virginia, USA)
Sally Everett (Deputy Dean at Lord Ashcroft International Business School, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 14 April 2014




The purpose of this paper is to explore a resource-constrained Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) to assess the power struggles inherent in community tourism initiatives when leadership is weakened through shrinking resources.


Using a comparative instrumental case study approach, this paper analyses three separate studies within Experience Bedfordshire to develop a comprehensive picture of governance within a single tourism destination.


The results show that privately held attractions, hospitality businesses, and transportation authorities retain control over key marketing messages. Visitor and stakeholder surveys indicate that a more sustainable form of rural development, based on natural/cultural attractions and the development of bed and breakfast and artisan small businesses is the preferred development path. Unfortunately, the increasing use of Tourism Information Centres by local residents, as opposed to tourists, has reduced support by key power holders in the community, thereby forcing major industry restructure.

Research limitations/implications

This research was conducted during the transitionary period as the Rural Development Agencies were being dissolved in the UK and the new Local Enterprise Partnership system was being implemented in early 2011. It is still too early to anticipate how this new system will affect destination marketing in the long run.

Practical implications

This paper argues that commercial interests ultimately control the destination image in this resource-constrained region, and its marketing messages which are currently focused on high adventure and large scale development are pursued to the detriment of local wishes and rural landscape development.


This paper is the first article to address the transition from the Rural Development Agencies to the Local Enterprise Partnerships within a tourism and destination marketing framework.



Received 11 June 2013 Revised 3 September 2013 Accepted 4 September 2013


L. Slocum, S. and Everett, S. (2014), "Industry, government, and community: power and leadership in a resource constrained DMO", Tourism Review, Vol. 69 No. 1, pp. 47-58.



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