Background on Tourism Statistics produced for Gloucestershire

Below are some technical data on Sources and data for the Gloucestershire Tourism statistics including definitions
What is GBTS?

The Great Britain Tourism Survey is undertaken by TNS for VisitBritain and is based
on approximately 2,000 face-to-face per week throughout the year as part of TNS’s
RSGB Omnibus survey. It provides basic headline data on the volume and value of
domestic tourism, for England as a whole, for the English regions and for the
counties or unitary authorities.
What is IPS?
The International Passenger Survey is conducted by Office for National Statistics
and is based on face-to-face interviews with a sample of passengers travelling via
the principal airports, sea routes and the Channel Tunnel, together with visitors
crossing the land border into Northern Ireland. Around 0.2% of all travellers are
interviewed, with approximately 55,000 interviews of overseas visitors obtained
throughout the year. IPS provides headline figures, based on the county or unitary
authority, for the volume and value of overseas trips to the UK.
What is GBDVS?
In 2011, VisitEngland, Visit Scotland and Visit Wales commissioned a new survey to measure volume and value of tourism day visits in England. A number of earlier
surveys were conducted to measure this key sector of the economy, most recently in
2005, but it has been difficult to make comparisons over time due to changing
definitions and survey methodologies. In the new survey, interviewing is carried out
weekly, using an online methodology, and an annual sample of over 38,000
interviews with GB adults. The GB Day Visits Survey is an Official Statistic, and is produced in adherence with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics (2009).

What is the England Occupancy Survey?
As part of the EU Directive on Tourism Statistics adopted in 1995, the UK must
report regularly a specified range of statistics to Eurostat, the official statistical office
of the European Community. Included in these statistics are monthly occupancy
rates for UK serviced accommodation. The responsibility for providing this data lies
with the four National Tourist Boards. A sample of establishments are recruited to
the survey and asked to complete a data form each month, giving details of their
nightly room and bed occupancy. The data returned is processed and analysed to
produce monthly occupancy rates for the whole area and for specific types of
accommodation providers, size of establishment, location etc.
What is the ASHE?
The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) provides information about the
levels, distribution and make-up of earnings and hours worked for employees in all
industries and occupations. The ASHE is a new survey developed to replace the
New Earnings Survey (NES) from 2004, including improvements to the coverage of
employees, imputation for item non-response and the weighting of earnings
estimates. The ASHE is based on a 1 per cent sample of employees in United Kingdom
What is the Labour Force Survey?
The LFS is a household panel survey of employment, continuous since 1992, with
results produced each quarter. It has a sample of approximately 60,000 households.
The LFS is the government’s largest continuous household survey and participation
in the survey is voluntary. LFS data are weighted to enable population estimates to
be produced. The weighting also attempts to compensate for differential non-response among different subgroups in the population. LFS is designed to provide information on the UK labour market that can be used to develop, manage and evaluate labour market policies. Aspects reported include rates of employment, unemployment and economic activity.
Terms used
What is a day visitor?
A day visitor is defined as someone making a day trip to and from home
for leisure purposes. The report excludes trips undertaken for business or study purposes. This report presents data on those who took trips of at least 3 hours duration on an irregular basis as defined by the GBDVS 2011. These are identified as tourism day
trips by the Departmentof Culture, Media and the Sport.
What is a staying visitor?
A visitor staying away from home for at least one night. Often measured in trips to
overcome the issue of one visitor making two or more trips to an area in a given
What are VFR trips?
VFR trips are those where visiting friends or relatives is the main purpose for making
a trip. While many trips to visit friends and relatives will be accommodated in the
homes of these friends/relatives, some will make use of other forms of accommodation. It should also be noted that other forms of trip, for instance for holiday or business purposes, may stay with friends and relatives rather than in commercial ccommodation.
What is a multiplier?
Additional activity arising as a result of an initial direct input. Two forms of multiplier
are used in the model, namely indirect or supply multipliers, representing the additional economic activity arising from the purchase of supplies and services by businesses in direct receipt of tourism spending; and induced multipliers arising from additional economic activity supported by the expenditure of wages earned by employees in businesses supported directly or indirectly by tourism spending.
What are full time equivalent jobs (FTE’s)?
A FTE is defined as a job involving an input of 37 or more hours work per week for a
full year. For the purposes of the Model, the total number of FTE jobs is the number
of full time jobs that the number of actual jobs equates to. For example, 2 part time
all year round jobs, each covering 18.5 hours per week would equate to 1 FTE job.
What are actual jobs?
This figure gives the actual number of jobs, regardless of the amount of hours
worked or the seasonality of the employment. For example, 3 part time jobs and 2
full time jobs would equal 5 actual jobs. Many jobs are seasonal or part-time in
nature in the tourism sector, so an adjustment is made to calculate the actual
number of jobs from the number of FTEs. The adjustment is based on the findings of
surveys of tourism related businesses, and national employment surveys.
What are direct jobs
For the purposes of this model jobs have been categorised as direct, indirect or
induced. Direct jobs are those in businesses in receipt of visitor spending. For
example, jobs supported by visitor spending at a hotel would be direct jobs.
What are indirect jobs?
Indirect employment arises as a result of expenditure by businesses in direct receipt
of visitor expenditure on the purchase of goods and services for their businesses.
For example, some of the employment at a business supplying food and drink may
be supported through the supplies that the business sells to hotels (or any other
business in direct receipt of visitor expenditure).
What are induced jobs?
Induced jobs are those that are supported by the spending of wages by employees
in direct and indirect jobs. Such spending will be spread across a wide range of
service sectors.
What are total jobs?
Total jobs include those in tourism related businesses supported by tourist spending
and those indirectly arising or induced by spending across the service sector in
suppliers of goods and services.
Direct jobs + indirect jobs+ induced jobs = Total jobs
What is ‘other tourism spend’?
Apart from expenditure associated with the individual trips, some
forms of activity also involve ongoing expenditure on accommodation, for instance second home or boat maintenance, or result in additional spending by non-
visitors, for example friends and relatives with whom the tourist is staying. These other areas of expenditure are categorized as ‘other tourism spend’.

The Mathematical model

How does the model work?

The Cambridge Model is a computer-based model developed to calculate estimates
of the volume, value and economic impact of tourism on a County or District basis.
It draws on the combined experience of PA Cambridge Economic Consultants Ltd,
Geoff Broom Associates and the Regional Tourist Boards and utilises a standard
methodology capable of application throughout the UK. It therefore offers the potential for direct comparisons with similar destinations throughout the country. The approach was the subject of independent validation (R.Vaughan, Bournemouth University) in December 1994. The Model was judged robust and the margins of error acceptable and in line with other modelling techniques.
What are the model’s limitations?
The Model in its basic form relies on using information from a range of sources,
outlined above. The methodology and accuracy of these sources varies, and
therefore the estimates can only be regarded as indicative of the scale and importance of visitor activity in the local area. Thus the Model cannot take account
of any leakage of expenditure in and out of the local area from tourists taking day
trips in or out of the area in which they are staying. While it is assumed that these
may broadly balance each other in many areas, there will be an underestimate in
relation to overseas day visits from holiday accommodation in London to locations
receiving significant numbers from that source. Similarly, there is no information in
the 2012 Great Britain Day Visits survey with regard to business day trips. As with all
models, the outputs need to be viewed in the context of local information and
knowledge. Because of the data sources and modelling process, there will be a
potentially large margin of error associated with individual figures,
with small numbers being particularly prone to such errors. Therefore the outputs should be taken as indicative rather than definitive.

A record 7% of jobs in Gloucester are reliant on the growing tourism sector

It can hardly have passed anyone by who visits Gloucester today, that there have been massive changes in the last ten years.  Nowhere have these changes been reflected more than in the massive growth in the number of day visitors and tourists visiting the city from elsewhere in the UK and abroad. The growing success of Gloucester Quays and its events, the beautiful regeneration to the Cathedral quarter, the beautiful historic docks, the refurbished Waterways Museum and this year the restored Llanthony Secunda Priory along with successful events such as the Tall Ships Festival, Aethelflaed elebrations, SoMAC, Gloucester History Festival and the Three Choirs Festival have all contributed to providing activities and attractions for visitors that has led to a phenomenal growth in visitors to the city.


In 2015 Gloucester overtook Cheltenham in terms of the number of day visitors and total spend of visitors in the city. with nearly £205 million spent by visitors in 2017, an 62% increase on 2010.

Some highlights from the independent research which has been commissioned by Marketing Gloucester.

In 2017 there were :

3,203,000 day visits by tourist to Gloucester

920,000 nights stayed in Gloucester Hotels, B&Bs and so-on

An increase in the proportion of employment related to tourism from 5% of jobs to 7%



Jason Smith Chief Executive of Marketing Gloucester commented “Gloucester is now very firmly on the tourist map and these figures demonstrate how important it is that as a city we plan for the expected continued growth.  It is crucial that we particularly facilitate the development of new hotels, especially in the fully serviced sector as due to the few hotels we have, the strong growth in overnight visitors will be restricted.  It is also important going forward that we ensure that we have skilled staff in the hospitality sector and continue to invest in developing bookable products for tour operators”

Paul James, leader of Gloucester city Council, is Chairman of Marketing Gloucester and he said that he was encouraged by the figures commenting “All of the efforts that are going into regeneration of the city by the council, cathedral and private sector partners such as Peel, alongside the high profile promotion for the city which has been led on by Marketing Gloucester are really bearing fruits, bringing money and jobs to the city. Undoubtedly as Kings Quarter and other projects around the city are completed, we are likely to see the number of tourist and spend continue to increase”

Recently Marketing Gloucester was successful in bidding for part of a £500,000 fund to bring in US tourists to the city

Gloucester Folk Trail line up for free live music weekend

Organisers of the inaugural Gloucester Folk Trail have released their much-anticipated line up for a weekend of free live music in the city. Gloucester pubs, bars and cafes will play host to the county’s finest folk musicians from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 February.  The venues will throng with gig-goers as more than forty live performances take place across the city ranging from traditional folk acts and Morris dancers to thoroughly modern folk rock.

The Gloucester Folk Trail is one of the first events to be delivered by the Gloucester Business Improvement District with the aim of supporting the city’s night time economy.

Just some of the highlights amongst the stellar line up are:

Harpers Ferry

This thoroughly modern folk-rock band from Gloucestershire have graced the stages at the Phoenix Festival, Wychwood and Birmingham Jazz and Blues Festival. The band’s sound with a mix of folk, rock and country, has earned rave reviews from BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s Johnny Coppin, the Gloucestershire Echo and SoGlos.

The Jigantics

A super group featuring top Gloucestershire Bluesmen Rick Edwards and Mark Cole from Sons of the Delta, along with another favourite of the Gloucester Rhythm and Blues Festival, Keith Thompson. They are joined in this folk-roots project by vocalist and ukulele star, Sarah Kelly, and drummer, Martin Fitzgibbon.


A rip-roaring, foot stomping band are infamous in the pubs and beer festivals Gloucestershire for their sing-along traditional Irish songs and fast-paced jigs and reels to get you up on the dance floor.

Way Out West

The wonderfully eccentric Way Out West bring their folk non-sensibilities to world of pop. On accordions, fiddle, guitar, banjo and ukulele, the hilarious three-piece help us discover the country roots of the Pet Shop Boys, the folk origins of the Spice Girls and The Smiths and what the Pussycat Dolls sounded like when Julie Andrews was still in the line-up.

Life O’Reilly

Life O’Reilly grew out of the live Irish music sessions held in and around Gloucestershire. Their mixture of guitar, fiddle, bodhran, tin whistles and stunning vocals recreate the much-loved feel of Irish folk music and their live performances show off their love and passion for the songs and tunes of the Irish tradition.

Natasha Roumian, of Marketing Gloucester who are organising the event on behalf of Gloucester BID, said: “Building on the successful model of the Gloucester Rhythm and Blues Festival, we are really excited to bring the Folk Trail to Gloucester. Although this is the first one, we are treating the Folk Trail as a test, and if successful, it will become a welcome addition to the Gloucester events calendar.”

Nick Brookes, Chair of the Gloucester BID, said: “Gloucester BID has been set up to support all of its business members across all sectors including those in the evening economy. The inaugural Gloucester Folk Trail is the first of many events that the BID will be supporting which we believe will drive footfall, improve the profile of the city and bring real benefits to the BID’s business members.”

Concertgoers are also invited to the Gloucester Folk Trail Preview Night on Thursday 22 February with a gig at TANK and an Open Mic event at The Old Bell.

For more information visit or search for ‘Gloucester Folk Trail 2018’ on Facebook.

For more information contact Ben Hau at





Jack Russell returns to Gloucester for WSP Art in the City 2018


Former England and Gloucestershire cricketer turned artist, Jack Russell MBE, will be one of the star attractions at this year’s WSP Art in the City on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 July. Jack will be painting at the event and showcasing his work in Gloucester city centre. Jack is no stranger to Gloucester, having played cricket for the county at Archdeacon Meadow.

WSP Art in the City celebrates creativity inspired by Gloucester’s history and heritage, its picturesque surroundings and its people. The event features a live, outdoor painting competition (Saturday), along with free workshops and an art trail throughout the city centre (Saturday and Sunday). A total of £4,000 has been offered up as prize money across the different age groups in two competitions:

Plein Air – Live outdoor painting on Saturday 14 July.

Open Art – An open contest for artwork completed in the last year based on a theme.

Artists dotted around the city centre will be competing to best capture the spirit of Gloucester and its community, in an attempt to impress the judging panel which includes P.J. Crook, Richard Parker Crook, Stroud-based Swarez and Gloucester’s very own Russell Haines.

“It’s great to be involved with Art in the City.  It takes me back thirty years to my first artistic involvement with Gloucester when I drew a large picture of the Cathedral stone by stone! Also to my playing days with the County at Archdeacon Meadow, which I’ve had the pleasure to paint. I’m delighted to be having an exhibition in Gloucester during the festival which will be part of the art trail and I’m looking forward to seeing all the artists who are taking part. It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to come and express themselves, see other artists’ work and basically have a lot of fun. Even if you’ve never painted before come and have a go. It should be a magical adventure!”  Jack Russell MBE

Artistic director of the festival, Russell Haines, said: “This year’s WSP Art in the City will see Gloucester turned into one huge art space with exhibitions, competitions and workshops for everyone. It’s fantastic to have Jack Russell participating this year at the centre of our art trail. There will be exhibitions large and small from a diverse range of artists in our historic buildings, cafes and shops for everyone to enjoy.”

To register your interest in participating in Art in the City, email or visit




For more information or interviews with Jack Russell and Russell Haines please contact Ben Hau at




Notes for Editors



A range of images are available to download at

Please credit ‘Marketing Gloucester’.

Gloucester receives part of £500,000 funding to bring in USA tourists

Anglo – American ‘Connections’ project receives funding to bolster Special Relationship

Gloucester and twelve destination partners have bid successfully for a £500,000 grant from VisitEngland in a collaborative project to develop a range of experiences directed at the US tourism market. ‘Connections’ will produce a series of new, immersive, bookable English-themed visitor experiences specifically for the American market, encouraging visitors to explore England beyond London. The experiences will aim to tap in to the fascination of the many connections between England and America – a shared history, language, culture and ancestry. In an effort to inspire many visitors to discover their roots and the authenticity of local English culture.

Connections is one of a number of successful projects to receive funding from the UK Government’s £40 million Discover England Fund. The Fund is administered by VisitEngland and involves a programme of activity to ensure that England stays competitive in the rapidly growing global tourism industry, by offering world-class English tourism products to the right customers at the right timeThe Fund is a central government funded programme of activity, supported by match funding by partners in the public and private sectors.

VisitEngland Chief Executive, Sally Balcombe, said:

“The calibre of submissions to the Discover England Fund reflects the innovation in product development thriving across the country’s tourism landscape. The successful projects will boost international and domestic visitor growth creating a step-change in the industry and spreading the economic benefits of tourism across England.  Our research shows that many US visitors come to Britain due to historic family connections and these ancestry themed itineraries will inspire them to explore more of regional England.

A large-scale collaboration between 13 destinations, Connections will develop tourism products in the lead up to 2020, the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s historic voyage from Plymouth to the New World. Gloucester along with Bristol, Cambridge, Cornwall, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Plymouth, Torbay and Worcestershire  will look into themes with significant appeal to US visitors, such as Magna Carta and the rule of law, The writer of the American National Anthem, George Whitfield, The Mayflower, Virginia and early American colonisation, WW2, US military and the ‘special relationship’.

The project also aims to showcase the best of England’s culture and heritage through the development of a broad range of specialist guided tours and behind the scenes experiences and will be sold in the US via tour operators and travel agents. There were 2.9 million overseas visits to the UK from January to July this year from North America alone, an increase of 21% on the same period last year.

Jason Smith, CEO of marketing Gloucester said:

“This funding will have a huge impact on tourism for the city of Gloucester from the USA market, and will help build on the phenomenal growth the city has shown over the last five years.  We are delighted to be among the select few destinations that will be receiving the benefits of this significant funding“



Born in Gloucester and educated at the King’s School. He became an American political leader, who as a representative of Georgia to Congress, was the second of the signatories (first signature on the left) on the United States Declaration of Independence. He was also the provisional president of Georgia in 1777, and Gwinnett County (now a major suburb of Atlanta) was named after him.

Gwinnett was killed in a duel by Lachlan McIntosh following a dispute over a failed invasion of East Florida.

His father’s tomb at Down Hatherley has been restored recently but there is probably some interpretation to do.  I have asked Stephen if we can put a plaque on 10 College Green, where he would have lived as a child (as well as Down Hatherley) and we probably should do something at St Nicholas as his father was vicar there as well.


Captain Blackburn arrived in Gloucester docks in August 1899 after sailing his 30ft cutter “Great Eastern” single handed across the Atlantic from Gloucester Massachusetts. He had spent 61 days at sea and had been affected by a badly swollen leg which prevented him from raising sail for 8 days. This journey was even more remarkable as he had lost all his fingers, both thumbs and a toe through frost bite during a severe winter storm on an earlier fishing voyage.

Blackburn was welcomed at the quayside by a large crowd of sightseers. During his stay in the city he was entertained by a number of leading citizens. Several hundred people visited the docks to see his tiny craft and many were welcomed aboard and were offered bourbon whisky and ship’s biscuits.


Whitefield was born in 1714 at the Bell Inn in Southgate Street. He was educated at King’s School, the Crypt Grammar School and later at Pembroke College, Oxford in1732. It was at Oxford that he met John and Charles Wesley and joined their Christian Society or “Holy Club” who were referred to as “Methodists”.

Whitefield was ordained as deacon in 1736 and as a priest in1739 and preached his first sermon in St Mary de Crypt church. The pulpit he used, together with its sounding board can still be seen in the nave. He first sailed to America early in 1738, the first of 7 such trips, returning later the same year. Shortly afterwards he crossed the Atlantic again where he preached to large audiences from Pennsylvania in the north to Georgia in the south. The impact of Whitefield on both English and American society was immense and his greatest asset was his magnificent voice. Benjamin Franklin calculated that he could be heard by 30,000 people at any one time.

The charity school he founded in Pennsylvania was the forerunner of the present University and he was also involved in the creation of the college at Princeton, New Jersey. No fewer than 51 American schools and colleges owe their inception to him. During his sixth visit to the colonies the Library at Harvard University was totally destroyed by fire and Whitefield secured a large gift of books from England to re-equip a new building. He died on Sunday 30 September 1777 at Newburyport, Massachusetts having preached no fewer than 18,000 sermons to an estimated 10 million people in his lifetime.


John Stafford Smith was baptised in Gloucester Cathedral on 30th of March 1750. He was educated at the cathedral school where he became an accomplished boy-singer. By the 1770’s he had gained a reputation as an excellent composer and organist in London. This led to his election as a member of the very select Anachreontic Society that boasted amongst its membership Dr Johnson, James Boswell, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Henry Purcell and J.C. Bach. Smith composed the music for the society’s constitutional song entitled “To Anachreon in Heaven”. This song became popular in America following the establishment of several Anachreontic societies there.

During the second year of the war of 1812 the British fleet made a night attack on Fort McHenry on the eastern seaboard of the United States. A local attorney, Francis Scott Key, had boarded a British warship to secure the release of an American prisoner. Key was held on board the ship so that he could not pass on any prior intelligence of the attack. He watched the bombardment throughout the night and was pleasantly surprised to see a huge American stars and stripes flag still flying above the fort as dawn broke. He immediately penned a four verse poem to the tune composed by John Stafford Smith that began “Oh! Say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light….”

The poem was printed on handbills the next morning and distributed throughout Baltimore. The song became immediately popular and three months later it was played during the Battle of New Orleans. “The Star Spangled Banner” was officially adopted as the national anthem of the USA in March 1931.


Born in 1897, he came from Chicago and trained as a pilot at Camp Benbrook, Fort Worth, Texas. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps in January 1918 and joined the largely American 90 Squadron in June and was promoted to full Lieutenant in the newly formed RAF. The squadron was transferred to Brockworth on the 15th of July to await delivery of their Sopwith Dolphin single seat fighters. A week later only one aircraft arrived and the pilots drew lots to see who would be the first to fly it. Brown held the winning ticket and immediately took off to put the plane through its paces. He put the aircraft into a series of screaming dives pulling out at about 100 feet above the ground. Halfway through a dive the port wing folded up and the plane went into a corkscrew spiral into the ground. Malcolm Cotton Brown was killed instantly. A tree was planted in his memory at Brockworth and there is a large memorial plaque to him in St Mary de Lode church containing the words “A son of America fallen for England”.


An American Puritan who graduated from Harvard in 1656 and was later described as the “most distinguished American of his generation”. He became an assistant to James Forbes the Presbyterian minister in Gloucester. Mather preached at St Mary de Lode church in the morning and at the cathedral in the afternoon.  Although he was delighted with Gloucester and resolved to devote his life to its spiritual needs, he left the city in 1660. Mather refused to conform to the reformed Church of England and returned to America in June 1661.

He travelled to England again in 1688 in an attempt to restore the Charter for Massachusetts which had been lost in 1684. Mather became the sixth president of Harvard College from 1692 till 1701.

Mather was involved in denouncing the tests for witchcraft used during the famous Salem Witchcraft Trials.


The oldest peal of bells in the USA are in Old North Church, Boston. They were made in 1744 by the famous Rudhall foundry in Gloucester and installed in 1745.

One of the first bell ringers at the church was Paul Revere who with William Dawes made the historic ride to warn the rebel militia that “The British are coming”. This was a prelude to the first battles of the American Revolution. The church tower was used to warn of the approach of the British forces. One light for an advance by land, two lights for one by sea.

The Rudhall foundry was on the site of the present Post Office in King’s Square. There is a plaque to the right of the entrance.


The following anecdote was related by an American visitor during a guided tour of Gloucester. His father had been a Provost Marshall with the North American forces on their arrival in England.

“Two Provost Marshalls visited Gloucester prison to assess the suitability of the accommodation for the detention for any law breaking military personnel. They requested to be locked up in one of the cells that evening and not to be released until 7.00am the following morning. The prison staff duly obliged, but were shocked to find that the two marshalls had escaped sometime during the night”.






Press enquiries: For more information, please contact Ben Hau on 01452 207020 or email

Notes for Editors

Connections Destination Partners

Destination Plymouth Ltd.

Destination Bristol Ltd.

English Riviera BID Company Ltd.

Essex County Council

Hampshire County Council

Lincolnshire County Council

Marketing Gloucester Ltd.

Visit Cambridge and Beyond

Visit Cornwall CIC.

Visit Hertfordshire Ltd.

Visit Kent Ltd.

Visit Nottinghamshire

Visit Worcestershire Ltd.


About the Discover England Fund

  • In November 2015, the Government announced a £40 million Discover England Fund; an unprecedented opportunity for English tourism. The Fund aims to deliver world-class bookable tourism products joined up across geographies and/or themes; including integrated transport solutions to provide an end-to-end customer experience.
  • The Fund supports the growth of one of England’s most successful export industries, inbound tourism. Tourism is an industry that delivers jobs and economic growth across the English regions – contributing some £106bn each year to the economy and supporting 2.6 million jobs.
  • The Fund supported a number of pilot projects in year one (2016/17) that tested product development approaches. In years two and three, 2017-19, the fund will support:
    • A number of large-scale collaborative projects to be delivered over the two year period 2017-2019 that will create a step-change in bookable English tourism product for international consumers,
    • A smaller funding pot for new one year pilot projects (in year two), and
    • Continuation funding for existing year one projects that demonstrated early learnings (in year two).


About VisitBritain/VisitEngland

  • VisitBritain/VisitEngland is the national tourism agency – a non-departmental public body funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS)
  • Working with a wide range of partners in both the UK and overseas, our mission is to grow the volume and value of inbound tourism across the nations and regions of Britain and to develop world-class English tourism product to support our growth aspirations. For further information and to access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics visit or and for consumer information.


About Marketing Gloucester

  • Promotes the City as a great place to live, work, study, visit and invest; locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Organises award-winning events and festivals, delivering to the city and region hundreds of thousands of visitors and millions of pounds of GVA*.
  • Engages with businesses and investors.
  • Implements programmes to develop pride of place amongst residents.
  • Partners with Gloucester City Council, gFirst LEP, Cotswolds Tourism and Gloucestershire County Council.

Marketing Gloucester is a public private partnership.


Extraordinary data showing huge growth in tourism in Gloucester


Gloucester Tall Ships – one of the events driving tourism

Latest provisional data from independent research organisation The South West Research Company Ltd shows the extraordinary success Gloucester has had in attracting tourists to the city since 2013 with the Cathedral city overtaking Cheltenham in 2015.

Some of the highlights of the report include:

  •  Total visitor spend in Gloucester in 2015 exceeded £200 million a massive 68% increase from 2013
  • Over 4100 Jobs supported by tourism in Gloucester equivalent to 7% of total employment in the city with an additional 1,300 jobs created since 2013
  • A massive jump in day visitors to 3.1 million a year in 2015 from 2 million in 2013
  • 11% growth in hotel bookings over the period
  • Gloucester showing fastest growth in tourism for the whole county

Paul James, Chair of Marketing Gloucester “We can be immensely proud of how the hard work and investment put into developing Gloucester as a tourist destination is showing returns.  All areas are showing extraordinary results which beat both regional and national trends”


When asked if there were any indicators for the future, Jason Smith, Chief Executive of Marketing Gloucester responded “One thing the figures highlight is that with such high occupancy rates, it is a matter of urgency that we increase the number of Hotels within the city in order to not create barriers to growth”

Marketing Gloucester is an organisation that is owned by Gloucester City Council, with a board of Private sector directors, Chaired by leader of the city council, Councillor Paul James.  Along with being the tourism and marketing body for the city is also responsible for inward investment and events


Cheltenham Gloucester Gloucestershire
UK trips 311,200 292,300 1,893,000
Overseas trips 45,100 42,800 258,000
Total trips 356,300 335,100 2,151,000
Comparison v 13 % -3 25 16
UK nights 688,000 626,000 4,504,000
Overseas nights 308,000 269,000 1,696,000
total nights 996,000 895,000 6,200,000
Comparison v 13 % -16 11 4
UK spend £51,246,000 £44,287,000 £314,225,000
Overseas spend £19,403,000 £17,005,000 £111,497,000
Total spend £70,649,000 £61,292,000 £425,722,000
Comparison v 13 % -8 5%
Tourism day visits 1,822,000 3,165,000 18,029,000
Comparison v 13 % -4 52 -3
Tourism day visit spend £75,798,000 £130,547,000 £625,385,000
Comparison v 13 % 10 75 8
Other visitor related spend £7,713,000 £8,459,000 £43,420,000
Comparison v 13
Total visitor related spend £154,160,000 £200,298,000 £1,094,527,000
Comparison v 13 % 6 68 16
Total business turnover £198,493,000 £254,715,000 £1,525,183,000
Comparison v 13 -1 55 28
GVA £112,290,000 £144,919,000 £859,316,000
Total GVA £11,632,000,000
Tourism as % of total 7%
Comparison v 13 % -0.6 35.7
Staying tourist supported employment
Direct FTE employment 915 802 5,443
Indirect &  induced FTE employment 480 423 3,751
Actual jobs 1,854 1,618 12,062
% of employment 3% 3% 4%
Comparison v 13 % -13 27 8
Day visitor supported employment
Direct FTE employment 735 1,233 6,168
Indirect &  induced FTE employment 340 582 3,984
Actual jobs 1,477 2,491 13,654
% of employment 3% 4% 4%
Comparison v 13 % 0 65 -4

10 Tips to Improve Your TripAdvisor ranking

As we all know (or should know), travelers rely on reviews when they’re planning trips, and TripAdvisor is the biggest review platform in travel. According to TripAdvisor, 83% of all travelers claim that TripAdvisor reviews make them more confident in their travel decisions.

Here are 10 simple steps that you can take to ensure that your company ranks well on TripAdvisor:

  1. Claim your listing

    Make sure you are registered as the owner of your listing. You wouldn’t leave the doors to your company unlocked would you? Don’t let your listing go unclaimed or worse yet, claimed by a competitor.

  2. Confirm your company’s details

    Double check that your company’s name, address, phone number are correct and up-to-date. Make sure that your company is listed under the appropriate category. Are you an attraction, activity, sports tour, adventure tour, sightseeing tour or rental business? TripAdvisor has massively improved the categorization of “Things to do”: if you have an old profile, make sure you are taking advantage of the new detailed categories.

  3. Write a great description

    As often happens, your company’s description might have been originally uploaded by a traveler. Invest some time into writing a short, rich description of what you offer to help you stand out from your competition. It is often helpful to include additional information like opening times, seasonal activities or age restrictions.

  4. Upload photos and videos

    You only get one chance to make a first impression. Make sure you make a good one by uploading your best photos and videos to your listing. Great images and videos give travelers an idea of what to expect when they come on a trip with you, and early expectation management is an easy way to make sure you get great reviews after the trip.

    The more high-quality photos on your listing, the easier it will be to engage people. TripAdvisor reports that listings with 30 or more photos get 41% more traveler engagement than listings with less than 10.


  5. Get on the map

    Make sure that your company is listed in the correct location on the map. This helps travelers find you quickly and ensures that you appear correctly under the “Near me now” search function on mobile devices. If your company is not located on the map, or is displayed in the wrong location, you can update it from your Management Center.

  6. Display your reviews on your website

    A great way to increase your bookings is to openly display your customer reviews on your website. Showing your reviews inspires trust in travelers and lets them know that you’re a quality, professional company standing behind the tours and activities you offer. TripAdvisor offers a multitude of tools to do this, but the best way to display your TripAdvisor reviews is to connect your profile directly with your TrekkSoft Account.

  7. Send post trip emails

    Make sure you send a post trip email to all of your guests thanking them for joining you on a trip, telling them that their feedback is important, and asking them to please review your company on TripAdvisor.

    TrekkSoft makes it easy for you to automate this process using the post trip email feature. Once activated, TrekkSoft will automatically send an email to each passenger after their trip. The default text for post trip emails is the text recommended by TripAdvisor. You have the ability to edit and customize this email to best suit your company’s needs.

    Tip: Ask your guests to contact you directly if they had any problems or were not satisfied with their experience. This will allow you to turn a potential negative review into a positive one.

  8. Involve your staff and guides

    For most companies, more guests = more trips = more work for the guides. Make sure your team of guides understands that customer reviews have a direct impact on the amount of work they get. Train your guides to mention to customers that they would appreciate feedback in the form of reviews on TripAdvisor. Make sure to discuss reviews as a team, acknowledge good reviews, and use negative reviews as a tool for improvement.


  9. Respond and engage with every review

    Make sure you or someone in your company is responsible for responding to every review as quickly as possible. Management responses are a great opportunity to continue a conversation with past guests and ensure their loyalty to your company. Responding to reviews shows prospective travelers that you care about your guests, and it will have a direct impact on increasing your bookings.

    TripAdvisor offers some pretty good guidelines for composing your responses, but in general you should: keep it professional and polite, address the issues, correct any misstatements, and don’t be defensive or aggressive.

    If you feel that a review is fake, violates TripAdvisors review policy or if you are being blackmailed by a guest, report it to TripAdvisor immediately. Their team will review your case, and if it is valid, remove the review in question. TripAdvisor takes blackmail reviews very seriously, and does their best to protect companies from being extorted by guests.

  10. Don’t take shortcuts

    Like all things in social media and user generated content, your TripAdvisor listing is something that needs to be managed, nurtured, and grown over time. A well managed listing needs constant attention. Strive to continually increase your reviews over time, and always make sure that your most recent 10 reviews have management responses.

    Posting fake reviews, rewarding your guests for positive reviews, using organized boosting techniques, or posting fake reviews on your competitors sites are all actions that will jeopardize your listing on TripAdvisor.

    Being banned from TripAdvisor is right up there with having your website blacklisted by Google. Beyond the risk, most travelers are adept at spotting frauds or content that is not genuine. If travelers get the impression you are cheating on TripAdvisor, it is going to hurt your reputation and do more damage than good.

A chance for #Gloucester! Ideas for a new vernacular architecture.

Developing a new vernacular for the city of Gloucester

For those involved in the regeneration of the Cathedral city of Gloucester there are few, if any who would deny that the city is “on the up”. Economic indicators show that this is a city that is growing at a region beating pace. As a city, Gloucester finally seems to have its ducks in a row regarding the pieces of regeneration that need to be undertaken to complete the incredible transformation that we can see significantly completed at the Quays and Docks. Money has been committed to the development of Blackfriars Quarter, Barbican and Quayside with a start date scheduled for the first ground clearance and the former Prison is ready to be developed. Money has been committed, assets purchased and architects appointed for the bus station in Kings Quarter. Development of an iconic multi-use venue located at Southgate moorings has been muted and if realised would fill the much maligned “missing link” between Gate streets and the redeveloped Quays.


All of these are exciting projects behind which there is a head of steam, but maybe now – before we start sending in the excavators – is the time that we should pause and examine exactly what we want to see at these locations and what the city needs in order to fulfil the needs and aspirations of the current population and to overcome the barriers to growth for Gloucester becoming a “complete” city.

Although there can be much debate as to what type of development should be where – residential, hotels, leisure, cultural facilities and so-on the purpose of this article is not to consider the type of development but to discuss whether before we run headlong at our new regeneration projects we should not first try and establish how we want these to look.

Gloucester has been presented with a once in a life time opportunity to define the look and feel of the city. The major redevelopments will be positioned at points in the city where they will make a statement. The question we must ask ourselves is what do we want that statement to be?

My view is that it is now that we should be looking to develop guidelines for a new vernacular architecture for Gloucester – and one that directly speaks to the heart of the residents of the city and will continue to build on what makes this city unique. For too long major developments have been imposed on the city in a watered down homogenous form that at best pays lip service to place.

In developing this new vernacular architecture we need to answer two questions – what are we hoping to achieve by this and what will be its influences and points of reference.

By developing a new vernacular, planners, influencers and visionaries in Gloucester have a chance to help define what Gloucester is both to its citizens and to the wider world. By promoting this new vernacular in iconic keystone developments there is an opportunity to develop the sense of place and civic pride that is needed by every thriving city which aims to grow.

So what should the new vernacular reference? In many cities and towns this might seem a difficult question and possibly even in Gloucester where over the 2000 years of history there have been a wide range of architectural influences and materials. These include buildings constructed from the remains of the Roman and later Anglo-Saxon fortifications, fine timber framed buildings such as The New Inn and 26 Westgate, Regency, and red brick within the industrial dock areas and Victorian and Edwardian suburbs.

Yet alongside of all of these – none of which is peculiarly home grown – in Gloucester there is a piece of architecture that already is defined by and defines the city. This piece of architecture was created by local craftsmen using local materials and using locally developed new forms and techniques which were years ahead of their contemporaries. It is a building that has influenced many other significant buildings in the city’s history and worldwide. This building is the beautiful, iconic Abbey of St Peters otherwise known as Gloucester Cathedral.

This is the building that I believe should be the touchstone for developing the new vernacular for Gloucester. Without being recidivist we should be looking to develop an architectural pallet of materials and design themes that will enable visitors and locals alike to identify the new developments as being uniquely Gloucester. There are three, possibly four influences that I believe any architect seeking to produce civic architecture that truly references Gloucester should refer to. These are as follows.

  • Perpendicular Gothic[1]
  • Large glass windows subdivided geometrically
  • Limestone
  • Fan Vaulting


Imagine developments such as the new bus station, Kings Quarter and a beautiful iconic multi-use cultural center on Southgate moorings which whilst refraining from cliché nevertheless reference and reinterpret the soaring and elegant perpendicular gothic arch, large glass windows divided geometrically and reflecting and empahasising colour and utilised the warm cotswold colours the people of Gloucester identify with the building which defines the city. This is the opportunity.

The politicians and planners of Gloucester have the chance now to demonstrate a genuine vision for the city of Gloucester, one that is not a watered down, pastiched version of internationalist modernism but one born of Gloucester and one that will make the people of Gloucester prouder still of their home city. Any architect involved in this project should try to get under the skin of the identity of the city and its citizens and aim to present architectural that will truly inspire the next generations, following the spirit of those who design the Cathedral and aiming to design something that is not just of 2015 but buildings that will not date but will  have a timeless quality and still have relevance in 100 or 200 years.



Destination Management Forum (DMF): Attendance Criteria explained

In order to be accepted into Visit England’s DMF the following criteria need to be met:

Criteria 1

Meet the Government’s Tourism Policy criteria on Governance (or working towards it).

They must be partnerships between the public and private sector, including newly-formed Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) whereManagement Forum brings together senior executives from England‟s Destination Management Organisations in order to enable productive, collective engagement with each other and with the lead tourism body, VisitEngland, around a joint agenda of national and local tourism growth and management issues affecting their organisations.

Criteria 2

Have a published destination management plan, or be in the process of developing one (with a
detailed completion/ publication date). The plan should be a shared statement of intent between
public and private partners and include the priorities for growing, developing and managing the
destination, identifying clear actions and the roles & responsibilities of stakeholders.

Criteria 3

Committed and actively working to deliver the strategic framework and national marketing
strategy, e.g. be working to develop and promote attract and disperse brands.

Criteria 4

Organisations should have a status and remit locally to manage tourism. The organisation
should be recognised and acknowledged by the Local Enterprise Partnership(s) (where one

All information from

An alternative view on financing DMOs


Research on the composition of the board of directors of DMOs as well as the governance of DMOs is of particular interest for destination management, because it helps understand the context of community-type tourist destinations. There is an increasing body of research on the composition and roles of DMO boards of directors as well as the duties and tasks of those individuals. However, to date, no study has addressed their influence on the financial revenues of the organization. A DMO’s budget is not God-given but evolves along with the development of the organizations and the institutions in the destinations. Thus, we investigate to what extent directors on the boards affect the amount from different revenue sources. Using data from 44 Swiss local and regional DMOs, we perform seven distinct multiple regressions with the following revenue sources as dependent variables: (1) membership fees, (2) partnership platforms/initiatives, (3) commercial revenues, (4) overnight taxes, (5) regional and state subsidies, (6) municipal subsidies, and (7) tourism taxes. Four independent variables (1) stakeholders, (2) public agents, (3) leaders, and (4) networkers, positively and negatively affect the revenue sources. The results reveal two contrasting roles: while leaders and networkers likely increase the revenue sources, stakeholder representatives and public agents negatively affect the revenue sources. Additionally, the latter two functions strongly increase the size of the DMOs’ boards. We conclude with a new perspective on how to understand DMO boards, their functions, and finally the organizations themselves.


  • Destination Management Organization (DMO);
  • Board of directors;
  • Revenue sources;
  • Board governance

1. Introduction

In community-type destinations, the Destination Management Organization (DMO) plays an important role as a focal institution (Ritchie & Crouch, 2003) and deserves a distinct research focus. Today, we know various types of DMOs at different levels (local, regional, and national, with the latter ones typically oriented more towards marketing), with different sizes, and fulfilling various functions (Pearce, 1992Pike, 2004 and WTO, 2004). One research stream has focused on the DMO board of directors, because the multiplicity of stakeholders and actors in the destination and the complexity of the supply system require that particular attention be paid to the corporate governance of the organization. As a matter of fact, DMO boards may consider a multitude of interests, various competencies due to the numerous activities, or a particular system of governance that reflects the implicit governance in the destination. To date, research on DMO boards of directors has focused on board composition and roles and their relation to the activities of the organization. There is quite a rich research stream that addresses the composition and size as well as the profiles of boards of directors, and particularly the roles of those individuals, as a result of the type of DMO, its tasks, or its functions (Ford et al., 2011Garnes and Grønhaug, 2011Lathrop, 2005Palmer, 1998 and Palmer, 2002). Yet, we still do not know if and how board composition and individual profiles relate to the organization’s resources, assets, or even to its performance. The abovementioned extant literature refers to board composition as a result of stakeholder representation, suggesting that the board is a reflection of the multitude of the individuals and institutions in the destination. Actually, the state-of-the-art literature discusses DMO boards as a group of representatives who serve the wider interests of the destination and those of their stakeholder groups.

Yet, management literature clearly points to the fact that shareholders as owners and investors are represented on the companies’ board (Baysinger and Butler, 1985Baysinger and Hoskisson, 1990 and Van den Berghe and Levrau, 2004), pointing to the evident link between capital and revenue and the composition of the board. Does this insight hold true for non-profit organizations such as DMOs? With this research paper, we propose an alternative view, a different explanation of DMO board composition and the reason why some personalities are present in those company organs. Resource dependence theory (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978) helps describe the effects of incorporating particular individuals on DMO boards on the sources and mechanisms of revenue in the mid to long-term. In the end, DMO revenues cannot be taken as given, but are the result of economic mechanisms and political bargaining processes, behind which management and especially the board of directors play an important role. Hence, we change and possibly invert the current predominant logic: While the state-of-the-art explains (or at least discusses) the DMO board composition as a consequence of the activities (expenses side), we argue that in order to increase and diversify funding (income side), DMOs, intentionally or not, recruit board members most likely to achieve this goal. In this spirit, those actors fulfill an additional, crucial function, which is to secure and to fortify the financial foundations of the organizations. Thus, the aim of this paper is to investigate the strength and degree of the connection between various DMO board functions and revenue sources.

The figure below illustrates the change in perspective. While there may still be a reason to argue that DMO board composition and roles are a consequence of the activities of the DMO, in addition individual profiles on the board could also serve to generate or increase specific revenue sources. Both sides of the coin could supplement each other.

The study is straightforward. First, we discuss the current literature with respect to (1) revenue sources of DMOs and (2) DMO board composition and function. For the empirical study with 44 DMOs in Switzerland, seven distinct revenue sources and four functions possibly affecting the existence and the strength of the revenue source are identified. Consequently, the analysis presents seven separate multiple regression models with the revenue source as the dependent variable and four functions as independent variables. A cross-case comparison of the models supports the discussion of the importance of the single functions and a critical appraisal of the current notions of DMO boards of directors. We have focused the research on non-profit DMOs which aim to market a destination (product development and service coordination, promotion, etc.). The selected DMOs work at a ‘meso’ level, that is for an area that comprises one or more municipalities or regions. Not included in the sample are the national tourist office and small local visitor boards with limited budgets.

2. Literature review

2.1. Revenue sources of DMOs

Financial management of DMOs is a crucial issue for DMO and destination success (Bornhorst, Ritchie, & Sheehan, 2010). Early contributions point to a picture with diversified revenue sources for DMOs that go beyond the traditional governmental subsidies (Sheehan & Ritchie, 1997). Pearce (1992), for example, suggests that destination management and promotion through DMOs needs a pooling of efforts to achieve economies of scale. Partnership marketing in DMOs, e.g. advertising campaigns, product development or distribution and sales platforms, is a rather old principle (Bieger, 1998 and Getz et al., 1998) but has recently gained importance as the traditional revenue sources such as overnight taxes and public subsidies have decreased. Partnership marketing or other partnership initiatives must be clearly separated from non-product development (or marketing) tasks. The latter ones could be financed by membership fees, overnight taxes or public subsidies and comprise for example running an information desk or maintaining tourist infrastructure in the place (e.g. hiking trails, ice rink). Public subsidies could also be used to finance public goods or services (Bonham & Mak, 1996) such as public relations or destination promotion. In contrast, partnership initiatives are voluntarily and often collectively funded platforms and involve specific activities with a limited number of beneficiaries and therefore – in order to avoid competition with their own members – separately funded. Thus, they are collected by one or more members mandating the DMO beyond the common tasks for its members (Getz et al., 1998). Over the last twenty years or so, DMOs have constantly experimented with additional services and products that can generate value beyond public subsidies or tourist taxes. They have also added commercial sources to the ‘revenue cocktail,’ such as events, commissions on reservations, package tours, merchandising, special counseling services to local businesses, and research studies (Bieger, 1996 and Getz et al., 1998).

Fig. 1 Today, we distinguish seven basic revenue sources for DMOs according to their private or public character and the level at which they are collected (local or regional): (1) membership fees, (2) partnership platforms/initiatives, (3) commercial revenues, (4) overnight taxes, (5) regional and state subsidies, (6) municipal subsidies, and (7) tourism taxes. As illustrated in Fig. 2, the revenue sources can be arranged in a circle that distinguishes the contributing subjects, i.e. the participants (enterprises, including private and non-governmental organizations, the public sector, and visitors) and the financing mechanisms (transactions, voluntary contributions, political bargaining and negotiation, and legal constraint). Overnight taxes and tourism taxes clearly differ from each other. Whereas in the first case the tax paid by the tourist goes for tourist services in the place (direct source-related taxation), the tourism tax is levied upon the financial strength of the enterprises, often scaled with regard to the dependence on tourism. Assessment criteria for the tourism tax could be the yearly turnover, the total salary expenses of the enterprise, or, for particular company types, the number of beds in accommodation establishments or the number of seats in catering companies.

Fig. 1.

Proposing an alternative, supplemental perspective.

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Fig. 2.

The revenue wheel of DMOs.

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Fig. 2 illustrates the various revenue sources, their participants and the revenue mechanisms. Consider that in some cases, public entities participate in membership fees and partnership platforms/initiatives as well. However, they do so in addition to the private sector and thus play a secondary role.

2.2. DMO board composition and function

For non-profit organizations ‘…obtaining competent and capable board members is vital because they can bring key resources, such as knowledge, skills, relationships, and money, that strengthen the organization’ (Brown, 2007, p. 302). As a matter of fact, board performance affects organizational (Forbes & Milliken, 1999) and financial performance (Zahra & Pearce, 1989). Consequently, board governance of DMOs is not only about a structure but also reflects a function (Lathrop, 2005), or in other words, DMO boards fulfill a variety of tasks as individuals and as a team. But while management literature discusses function as a collective effort, comprising the joint tasks of the whole council (Middleton, 1987), we propose assigning one or more functions to the single individuals first and then aggregating the functions to a larger picture that reflects the product of the joint capability.

For this study, we intentionally avoid speaking of roles. In fact, roles of boards of directors address concrete tasks and duties, often also ascribed to an individual’s attitude and behavior. In contrast, functions relate more to the antecedent logic behind why an individual should have been recruited to the board in the first place. To date, only a few studies analyze the reasons why one would consider joining a DMO board (Ford et al., 2011 and Garnes and Grønhaug, 2011). Building on extant research in tourism and corresponding theories, we work with four operable functions attributable to individuals: (1) stakeholders, (2) public agents, (3) leaders, and (4) networkers.

2.2.1. Stakeholders

Generally speaking, boards enhance firms’ legitimacy in society (Pfeffer, 1973 and Provan, 1980). For DMOs as focal organizations in the destination, it is imperative to gain acceptance from the general public, because tourism draws on public resources. Board members in DMOs must balance the interests of various interest groups in the destination with financial and organizational constraints, securing a broad acceptance and trust among the actors in the place. Indeed, DMOs are supposed to serve the majority of stakeholders in the destination (Palmer and Bejou, 1995 and Pearce, 1992), as the economic system of the destination encompasses a great number of organizations in multiple types of networks (Tremblay, 1998). The associated consideration and inclusion of stakeholder representatives in the board may occur independently of the salience of the interest group (Clarkson, 1995), actually often due to moral obligations and for the sake of the whole community (Goodpaster, 1991). Hence, the current state-of-the-art proposes possibly involving most stakeholders in the destination not only for planning and development (Bramwell and Lane, 2000,Bramwell and Sharman, 1999Jamal and Getz, 1995Sautter and Leisen, 1999 and Sheehan and Ritchie, 2005), but also inside the board of directors of the DMO, suggesting that identifying and recruiting the ‘right mix’ of individuals ensures the organization’s success (Ford et al., 2011). As a consequence, one can assume that the stronger the representation of stakeholders in the DMO board, the greater the probability of various types of revenues, particularly of membership fees and of partnership platforms/initiatives and of taxations, that need broad acceptance and support such as the tourism tax.

2.2.2. Public agents

Public authorities are involved in destination management and play an important role (Hall, 2008). When DMO board member are asked whom they work for, empirical findings support the perception of the public sector as a distinct domain or interest group (Garnes & Grønhaug, 2011). Furthermore, there is clear evidence that the DMO is connected with and/or dependent on the public sector (Sheehan, Ritchie, & Hudson, 2007), up to the public sector’s intervening to substantially fund those organizations (Jenkins, 2000). Public agents, either as elected politicians or employed as public servants, represent a distinct group of stakeholders with particular interests and a strong bargaining power in the destination (Beritelli & Laesser, 2011). Having the power to directly affect public funding processes, for example by increasing state subsidies for tourism, they can fulfill their own distinct function in the board of the DMO. Thus, we can hypothesize that there is a link between representation of the public sector in the board and public revenue sources such as municipal and regional subsidies.

2.2.3. Leaders

This function is based on the perspective that the board reflects the power, i.e. the influence of the most salient actors. Building on the hegemony of a class, boards may be formed of an exclusive group of elite individuals (Davis et al., 2003Johnson et al., 1996Mills, 1956Nichols, 1969 and Ratcliff, 1980). As these individuals directly control important resources and organizations in the destination, we must assume that they have a direct influence on the financial income, even for a non-profit organization such as a DMO. Interestingly, while power, leadership and influence through ownership in destination management have been extensively studied in the past (Beritelli and Laesser, 2011Cheong and Miller, 2000Marzano and Scott, 2009 and Ryan, 2002), the presence of powerful people on DMO boards due to their leadership position in the destination has been rather neglected and not empirically analyzed. Garnes and K. Grønhaug identify it as one of many assessments by the respondents: “As long as I am the local leader, it is set that I should represent our industry here” (Garnes & Grønhaug, 2011, p. 128). And Ford et al. (2011, p. 9) propose that “a non-profit board that has directors representing critical or key stakeholder groups will be more successful than one that is less representative”. Strong leaders on the DMO board of directors may increase the importance of company-related and entrepreneurial revenue sources such as partnership platforms and commercial income.

2.2.4. Networkers

In management literature, networkers constitute the experience and knowledge of the board of directors as well as the internationalization of boards (Van den Berghe & Levrau, 2004). Empirical findings on board composition stress the importance of outsiders for the overall success of the organization (Ibrahim and Angelidis, 1995Jones and Goldberg, 1982 and Wagner et al., 2002). Particularly for non-profit organizations such as DMOs, we refer to the concept of board capital, complementing ‘…human capital (experience, expertise, reputation) and relational capital (network of ties to other firms and external contingencies'(Hillman & Dalziel, 2003, p. 383). Hence, as a working hypothesis, we could assume that depending on the type of network they are connected with, networkers on the DMO board could strengthen public or private revenue sources.

3. Methodology

Using the concepts presented above, we aim to answer one exploratory research question with this paper: Which of the four functions (stakeholder, public agent, leader, and networker) found in DMO boards of directors drives which of the seven basic revenue sources of the organizations (membership fees, partnership platforms/initiatives, commercial revenues, overnight taxes, regional and state subsidies, municipal subsidies, and tourism taxes)?

3.1. History and characteristics of DMOs in Switzerland

Destination management organizations in Switzerland have a longtime tradition. In 1864, the first ever tourist office in the country was founded in St. Moritz. Since then, due to the rapid growth of tourism in the country, many tourist offices were created at the municipal level and later at the cantonal (i.e. state) level as well. In the beginning, the main tasks of tourist offices were to embellish the place (e.g. taking care of flower beds and trees along main streets, keep the squares clean and attractive), inform the visitors in the place (information desk), and fulfill public duties that were not regarded by the municipalities as their responsibility because they were primarily for tourists (e.g. maintaining hiking trails, ice halls). Later, particularly since the post-war period, the organizations added new tasks, such as place promotion, distribution and sale of bed capacities from the place and of tickets for transportation and events, merchandising, and most recently promotional and sales campaigns for join with partners as well. The latter task is additionally covered by larger DMOs, particularly at the cantonal level. (e.g. see Beritelli et al., 2009Bieger and Laesser, 1998 and Müller et al., 1995).

The organizations were understood as focal organizations that combine the interest and resources of their members and partners in order to achieve goals not reachable by the individual organizations and institutions. This was because meeting the goals was either too expensive for single organizations or was not sufficiently in the general public interest to be directly financed through public money (i.e. they supported only the tourism sector). This function of DMOs still holds today. In Switzerland, the DMOs are mostly associations but may also be cooperatives, limited liability or incorporated companies. Due to the ownership structure and fiscal reasons, independent of the legal form, all the DMOs are considered non-profit organizations subject to especially close scrutiny by the public, including publicly accessible yearly reports.

The original revenue source was membership fees, and these are still important today. However, this source did not suffice in the early days, before and shortly after the World Wars, to cover the costs of delivering services and maintaining tourist infrastructure. Thus, many local tourist offices were additionally funded through overnight taxes paid by the visitors and – originally to cover the deficit risk – through municipal subsidies. The other revenue sources (partnership platforms/initiatives and tourism taxes, described in paragraph 2.1.) followed, as additional tasks and activities were added. Hence, the budget of a DMO is the result of the organization’s evolution, which reflects the shifting interests of members and stakeholders, the need to fulfill additional tasks and, consequently, (historical) opportunities seized and the realized intentions of its management and board of directors.

Switzerland has a strongly federally structured administration and with federal sovereignty due to a direct democracy (i.e. both municipal and cantonal authorities have their own fiscal instruments and legislations) (Feld and Kirchgässner, 2000 and Fleiner, 2002). But in addition the country is a very heterogeneous territory from the perspective of the tourist industry. Alpine areas are traditionally oriented towards leisure tourism at high altitudes, particularly in winter. Lakesides and plains offer various options for year-round activities, while the big cities are well known not only for business tourism but also for their cultural attractions. The DMOs’ development in the territory has been as varied as the legal frameworks and the destinations and regions. Today, we can speak of the Swiss DMOs’ landscape as a living laboratory, in which peculiarities of various kinds occur, and in which with respect to the tasks and budget sizes we can no longer clearly differentiate between local and regional DMOs but rather between differently evolved and specialized organizations that more or less successfully achieve their stakeholders’ goals.

Nonetheless, the main character of these organizations remains (i.e. focal organizations for the tourist business) and the usual revenue sources are ubiquitous; the latter are obviously due to the fact that successful examples from other destinations are often used as models for one’s own solution. We believe that Switzerland is well suited for our research aim exactly because of this variety of organizations stemming from different contexts but all in the same country (‘diversity in unity’).

3.2. Case selection and data collection

The Swiss DMO managers association counts 233 active members, including marketing managers and vice-directors. Thus, from an overall 150 professional DMOs in Switzerland (professional in a sense that they have a full time operational and active management body), we have selected a convenience sample of 44 local and regional ones, with different tasks and profiles, different budget sizes and various board compositions. Our sample can be considered as heterogeneous in character (see also Table 1 further down the paper). However, the selected DMOs all have the objective of marketing the destination, usually an area comprising one or more municipalities or regions. The data has been retrieved from the yearly reports of fiscal year 2011, either published on the internet or publicly accessible as a hard copy. In order to gain additional information on the single board members, we have researched various sources on the internet. To assess their connections with other companies (e.g. through interlocking directorships), we have additionally used the trade register portal The amount of the revenue sources has been directly read from the profit and loss statements. Not all the positions could be clearly assigned to any of the seven revenue sources. Non-assignable positions such as release of provisions, extraordinary financial income, etc. have been excluded from the analysis. However, these positions constituted a negligible factor, with only 1.6% of the total revenues for the case with the highest amount of non-assignable positions.

Table 1.

Revenues in CHF (n=44).

Total revenues Membership fees Partnership platforms/initiatives Commercial revenues Overnight taxes Regional/state subsidies (‘canton’) Municipal subsidies Tourism taxes
Max 14,371,732.00 483,412.05 4368,000.00 5133,114.69 8289,600.00 8310,000.00 2610,000.00 9340,000.00
Min 274,215.15 0.00 0.00 3’733.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Mean average 4518,825.95 113,686.37 550,115.81 792,171.96 1495,333.32 446,957.63 333,951.09 676,030.26

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3.3. Data treatment

To operationalize the functions described in paragraph 2.2., every individual’s profile has been analyzed. For individuals to count as stakeholders, they must represent a particular group (e.g. hotels, trade, agriculture) at least as secondary stakeholders, i.e. ‘who influence or affect, or are influenced or affected by, [the DMO] but they are not engaged in transactions with the organization and are not essential for its survival’ (Clarkson, 1995). If those individuals are important for the destination and for the DMO because they own, control, or manage a vital organization or institution for the destination’s survival, or if they are responsible for a critical element or subsystem of the destination’s network, they count as leaders. DMO board members who are either politicians or public servants, either for local or regional authorities, are regarded as public agents. Finally, if someone is connected with various other organizations and institutions, particularly but not exclusively outside the destination, through interlocking directorships, she is seen as a networker.

The following are three illustrative examples: A farmer who is also a representative of the municipal council produces one point as stakeholder and one point as public agent. A hotel director who is also the mayor of the municipality in a DMO board where there is also the vice-president of the local hotel association produces one point as public agent and one point as leader, but no point as stakeholder for the hoteliers, a point already scored by the other individual. The president of the board of the destination’s ski area company who sits on the board of five other companies, of which four are located in other areas and in other industries, produces one point as stakeholder (ski area), one point as leader (president of the board), and one point as networker. Hence, every individual could have, depending on his personal profile and on the composition of the board he sits on, one or even more functions.

For each board and function the points were summed, so that every board has one score for stakeholders, one for public agents, one for leaders, and one for networkers. The scores for the four functions could differ significantly from the number of the individuals in the board. For example, a board with seven members could score six points with stakeholders, two points with public agents, zero point with leaders, and three points with networkers.

3.4. Analysis

For every revenue source a multiple regression analysis was performed. The dependent variable was the revenue source, the independent variables the four functions. Calculating with relative values, e.g. the value of one function as a percentage of the value of all the functions or the value of one revenue source as a percentage of the value of all the revenue sources or as a percentage of the DMO’s budget would produce distorted data. In fact, the overall score of functions or the overall revenues are not the result of a comprehensive plan or strategy but simply the sum of different, independent aspects. DMO revenue sources come in through different mechanisms, possibly thanks to different individuals with different skills. Hence, we used absolute values for revenue sources and for the four functions. This allows considering the direct effect the function has on the revenue. In so doing, we reflect the fact that the greater the number of individuals with particular functions on the board of directors, the more a particular amount of revenue source might flow into the DMO.

Despite the small sample, we consider this type of analysis appropriate, for three reasons (Bartlett, Kotrlik, & Higgins, 2001Cochran, 1977Salkind, 1997): First of all, our data are observations in nature and not a survey type of data. Second, and more important, our data essentially covers the entire or at least large parts of the relevant population which are less than 150. This would essentially demand a sample size below 50; as long as the number of observations is at least five per independent variable). And finally, our sample is quite heterogeneous in character. In conclusion, there is little concern for model overfitting, a phenomenon often occurring in small samples.

4. Results

4.1. Sample profile

The sample profile summarized in Table 1 and Table 2 shows how diverse the selected DMOs are. Revenue sources greatly differ in their importance. In addition, the number of directors on the board and particularly the importance of the four functions differ significantly. Nevertheless, all the organizations are located in the same country, characterized by a specific form of federalism and a common and more than centennial history of industrialization in tourism.

Table 2.

Board size and functions (n=44).

Board size Stakeholders Public agents Leaders Networkers
Max 16.00 13.00 5.00 7.00 6.00
Min 5.00 2.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Mean average 8.32 5.52 1.43 2.36 2.07

Table options

4.2. Results of the analyses

The table below presents the correlation between the independent variables and the tolerance values. While there is a weak correlation of leaders with public agents or with networkers, tolerance values greatly above 0.10 indicate that there is no collinearity (Hair, Black, Babin, & Anderson, 2010).

To allow for cross-case comparison between the revenue sources, the regression models present the results considering all four independent variables. Table 2 displays the seven regression models all together.

5. Discussion

5.1. Contrasting functions

Due to the greatly different revenue sources, one would assume a rather differentiated picture. The working hypotheses in paragraph 2.2., derived from the literature review, point to a specific contribution to the revenues for every function. After all, there may be a benefit to all of the four functions. However, the results show a very clear and forthright picture. As a matter of fact, stakeholders and public agents do not play an important role in financing the DMO. On the contrary, for non-public revenue sources such as membership fees, partnership platforms, commercial revenues, and overnight taxes, they even play a negative role, i.e. the more directors on the board who represent stakeholders or the public sector, the less of those revenue sources. In contrast, leaders and networkers are likely to substantially increase (some coefficients >0.5) the amounts of six of the seven revenue sources. Consequently, it is neither by recruiting representatives of various stakeholder groups nor generally by public agents that DMOs could increase access to financial sources. It is rather through the involvement of individuals in leadership positions and through well-connected personalities that the DMOs acquire additional means of increasing their income. In contrast to the weak but significant positive correlation between the public agents and the leaders (Table 3), those two functions do jointly contribute to three revenue sources (partnership platforms, commercial revenues, and overnight taxes), but in opposite directions. Thus, while in the sample there is some probability of finding public agents who are simultaneously leaders (e.g. mayor, governor), the distinct functions point to the clear importance of being leaders and not of being public agents in generating revenues for the DMO (Table 4 and Table 5).

Table 3.

Correlation list of independent variables and tolerances.

Independent variables Stakeholders Public agents Leaders Tolerance
Stakeholders .938
Public agents −.019 .660
Leaders .063 .413 ⁎⁎ .595
Networkers .239 −.222 .378  .647


Significant at p<0.01.

Significant at p<0.05.

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Table 4.

Functions driving revenue sources, regression model results.

Revenue source Model fit Standardized coefficients
adj. R2 F-Value Stakeholders Public agents Leaders Networkers
Membership fees .405 8.318 ⁎⁎ .247 −.092 .374 .447⁎⁎
Partnership platforms/initiatives .101 2.208  −.075 .389 .367 .034
Commercial revenues .314 5.909 ⁎⁎ .227 .285 .463⁎⁎ .250
Overnight taxes .153 2.940  .007 .410 .584⁎⁎ −.181
Regional/state subsidies .110 2.323 ⁎⁎⁎ .071 .080 .100 .369
Municipal subsidies .243 4.450 ⁎⁎ −.187 −.251 .642⁎⁎ −.120
Tourism taxes .131 2.615  .158 −.283 .093 .231


Significant at p<0.1.


Significant at p<0.01.

Significant at p<0.05.

Table options

Table 5.

Functions driving board size, regression model results.

Dependent variable Model fit Standardized coefficients
adj. R2 F-Value Stakeholders Public agents Leaders Networkers
Board size .759 34.915 ⁎⁎ .787⁎⁎ .254 .132 .100


Significant at p<0.01.

Significant at p<0.05.

Table options

5.2. Managing revenue mechanisms

The results allow a differentiated discussion. Leaders clearly account for getting municipal subsidies. Hence, local, powerful actors may influence the political bargaining and negotiation process that leads to acquiring and maintaining or even increasing municipal support. In order to achieve regional or state subsidies, the actors must be primarily better connected because the play field in which they act is more complex and comprises a greater number of stakeholders and interests. Hence, networkers play a more important role in connecting the DMO with additional, external networks and in embedding the organization in a wider context, possibly increasing its importance in regional or state politics.

For partnership platforms, commercial revenues, membership fees, and overnight taxes, the picture looks rather similar: a strong positive effect of leaders contrasts with a moderate but clearly negative effect of stakeholders and/or public agents. Here, leaders understand how to affect the revenue sources that are all basically built on voluntary contributions (membership fees, partnership platforms) or on entrepreneurial spirit and innovation (commercial revenues). At first glance, overnight taxes may not fit into the picture, because they are the result of a process that constitutes a local or regional law, just as for tourism taxes. However, overnight taxes may be adapted on a yearly basis. Most municipal and cantonal (i.e. state) laws do not necessarily prescribe the amount of the tax in the law but leave it open for flexible adaptation, as recorded in the regulatory statutes. Strong leadership on the board of directors may succeed in adapting the amount of the tax even on a mid-term horizon.

5.3. How about the stakeholders and public agents?

What are the stakeholders and public agents for, if not for securing access to revenue sources? There is a tendency to argue for large DMO boards, particularly to achieve increased acceptance and group expertise (Ford et al., 2011). Thus, we may additionally ask whether stakeholders and pubic agents just enlarge the board, increasing its legitimacy and knowledge basis. An additional regression with the board size as the dependent variable and the four functions as independent variables reveals a further piece of the puzzle.

Particularly stakeholders but also public agents are likely to increase the number of directors sitting on the board of the DMO. This result is in line with the literature referring to the function of the stakeholders. Thus, for the sake of general acceptance in the destination’s community and possibly in order to have more representatives from different interest groups, perhaps with more information, DMOs increase the number of directors on the board. This practice is in contrast with the involvement of leaders and networkers who could play an important role in generating revenues for the DMO.

5.4. Further implications and research

DMOs may face a dilemma with two contrasting approaches or practices: either to enlarge the board size through stakeholder representation or to selectively recruit leaders and networkers. Obviously, those functions cannot be clearly separated, because an individual may combine them all in one person. However, a board selecting new members can prioritize according to each case. As a consequence, we may hypothesize that DMO boards with numerous directors due to stakeholder representation may crowd out leaders and networkers from joining in and from effectively contributing to financing the DMO. While the correlations in Table 1 do not show such a negative trade-off because the functions have been added together, regardless of the personalities that may count for more than one of those functions, further research on why leaders join or do not join DMO boards could provide a definitive answer.

The results also point indirectly to Palmer’s (1998) findings, in which he associated a “tight” governance style in DMOs with the organization’s effectiveness, but also to his implication that ‘…an association with a tight governance style may be better able to organize itself in such a way that it can acquire further resources’ (Palmer, 1998, p. 196). Obviously, smaller boards with fewer (non-influential) stakeholder representatives and with more leaders and networkers are likely to be better organized, due to a higher professionalism of the individuals but also due to the sheer smaller number of directors on the board. Further research is necessary to understanding how effectively DMO boards work as a team and how important is the single profile of the individuals with their expertise.

Finally, the study supports a sort of opportunistic behavior of DMOs with regard to revenue and income maximization. In fact, budgets are the sum of different revenue sources. In times of increasing competition between destinations, decreasing public funding for tourism and additional pressure to join forces through cooperation, alliances and mergers among DMOs, access to additional stable revenues is becoming key. Intentionally or not, DMOs must get directors ‘on board’ who directly affect the organization’s income and ultimately its financial structure. Research on how DMO boards not only identify and implement strategies together with the management but also on how they regard revenue sources and on how the organization’s corporate governance deals with financial management issues will shed light on the complex mechanisms affecting this particular type of organization.

6. Limitations

The study has its limitations. First, corporate governance systems vary between countries and contexts (Morck & Steier, 2005). The results of this study in Switzerland may not be observable in other countries, particularly in those countries where the public sector fully controls or even incorporates DMOs into the government public administration. Second, there may be additional functions not considered in our study because they are difficult to operationalize, e.g. knowledge or commitment. Third, there may be a positive or synergetic effect among the revenue sources, possibly also due to the team effectiveness of the board. By performing a series of separate regressions, we have intentionally excluded these effects, which could be at the center of a different analysis. Further qualitative studies could delve into the processes and dynamics of how and why a board of directors decides to consider new and increased financial sources.

7. Conclusion

To conclude, this paper tackles some rather well-known challenges such as financing DMOs and the “right mix” of boards of directors with the help of a new perspective. It does so by assigning directors specific functions affecting the organization’s revenue sources. The results allow questioning well-accepted ideas, such as the maximization of stakeholder group representatives, the inclusion of possibly all the interest groups in the destination and finally the basic belief that the DMO must in all respects – including the board of directors – reflect the complex system of the destination itself. Indeed, we argue that DMOs must function like (focal) organizations with specific tasks and with a distinct strategy and management, not like committees, where all the stakeholder groups meet in order to discuss the destination’s future development. With this hopefully thought-provoking argument, we hope to launch a new, differentiated discourse on the ‘real’ reason behind DMOs and their added value.