World-wide best-practices for destination management organizations (DMOs) were instrumental in the approach to county-led tourism. DMOs of the future lead through collaboration and interpret the visitor experience, and the preference, visibility, and share-ability of the experience, as two sides of a single, complex equation. For Snohomish County, the destination experience development efforts of the Snohomish County Parks Recreation and Tourism department, and the story-telling about those experiences done through marketing and promotions by the Snohomish County Destination Alliance, now operate together.
For more information on this tourism destination development work, go to: http://lab.future-iq.com/snohomish-county-regional-destination/
Sustainable Tourism Development
A key focus for the local tourism industry will need to be the collaborative management of natural and cultural assets, and avoiding potential damage from overuse in popular areas.
Sustainable Tourism is emerging as a major driving force in destination development, especially in the Pacific Northwest. One of the goals of the Strategic Tourism Plan is that Snohomish County will seek to become a premier destination for environmentally and fiscally sustainable recreation and tourism. Sustainable Tourism is "Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.
Principles of Sustainable Tourism
Sustainable tourism principles offer a good guiding framework to support destination development, especially in the rural and coastal areas.
Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability. The industry has defined sustainable tourism as being guided by these principles:
Implications for Snohomish County Tourism
Snohomish County has the opportunity to implement strategies at a regional scale, that represent a contemporary and innovative approach to developing a future-facing sustainable tourism industry.
An analysis of past and future tourism industry trends highlights the need to be adaptive and responsive to changing trends. The global and domestic traveler is evolving, and will be more discerning and selective.
Snohomish County is well positioned to adapt and respond. There is either the existence, or the potential, for a quality tourism product or experience to appeal to almost any of the emergent tourist trends. Some of the obvious strengths of the industry are:
However, there are some challenges to address. Key amongst these are:
Recommended Future Action Areas
The integration of Destination Marketing and Sustainable Destination Development strategies is an exciting evolution in the regional Tourism Plan.
The 2018-2022 Strategic Tourism Plan is oriented around the following major areas of work and responsibility:
1. Destination Marketing, Promotion and Visitor Services:
2. Sustainable Destination and Product Development
3. Implementation Framework, Protocol and Funding