Destination Management Planning and COVID-19: A Twin Track Approach for Recovery and Strategic Planning

A free 30-minute Contingency Planning Surgery with Destination Management Organisations

We are offering a free 30-minute Contingency Planning Surgery with Destination Management Organisations and other tourism businesses.   This could be one-on-one session or you can bring together a number your colleagues for a team session.  The sessions would be led by Kevin Brown, Managing Director, David Howells, Associate Director and Richard Linington, Director.  This would be hosted via Zoom or other technology service.   In the first instance please contact Richard (

Recover, Re-set, Re-bound

The UK travel and tourism industry is now facing an unprecedented crisis due to the impact of COVID-19, which has seen the visitor economy abruptly shut down. These are challenging times for many businesses, with the ‘lockdown’ putting a stop to all international and domestic visitors, both ‘stay’ and ‘day’ alongside the major part of the hospitality sector. Interestingly, the impact of COVID-19 has demonstrated the high volume of people who are employed in the sector or who rely directly or indirectly on the industry in terms of goods and services.

It would not be a surprising market reaction in the next 12 months for any travel plans to be short term, last minute and close to home, with quiet and uncrowded destinations preferred, at least until a vaccine is ubiquitous. It is interesting to note that the 2008 Financial Crisis was in fact a key driver to the growth for the staycation market; indeed, there was a 19% uplift in domestic travel in 2009. The visitor economy provided one in three of all new jobs as the recovery got underway. 

While some may wish to return to familiar and trusted destinations, others could be persuaded to opt for places / ideas that might be a bit different, less well known and less crowded as well as trips incorporating active, outdoor experiences. There is also likely to be a stronger emphasis on rebalancing the visitor economy away from its focus on ever-growing visitor numbers and tourism receipts towards a more community- centric, value-added recovery, with quality over quantity.

The key to returning to a thriving sector will be to have a strong destination management approach, which serves and communicates well with both businesses and local communities.

A Twin Track Approach

Usually a Destination Management Plan sets out a medium to long term framework for action.   However, a key focus of our ‘Twin Track Approach’ to Destination Management Planning is on immediate actions to reset and drive recovery of the sector following COVID-19 through practical, coordinated steps to ensure that tourism businesses are ready and able to welcome back visitors (Short-term Visitor Economy Recovery Plan).

This is coupled with providing a strategic framework to support longer term development of the tourism offer within the destination.  The Medium to Long-term Destination Management Plan needs to be built upon a strong evidence base, which is prepared to help formulate the action plan for the destination, detailing how each initiative could be delivered. 

Our team and experience

Planning Solutions Consulting are currently advising two clients on this twin track approach to recovery and medium to long-term planning and growth.

Our team has worked on a number of strategic development projects and Destination Management projects, including:

  • Cardiff Capital Region Destination Investment Plan
  • Porthcawl Destination Investment Plan
  • Weymouth Destination Plan and Economic Growth Plan
  • Mid Wales Destination Strategy
  • Cumbria Adventure Capital
  • Vale of Glamorgan

Added value

Unlike many consultancies, Planning Solutions Consulting Limited has direct hands-on experience of investing in, developing and managing a range of tourism businesses through our sister company, Planning Solutions Limited. These include four visitor attractions, a microbrewery and a hotel. This ensures that our development advice is reinforced through practical experience, which also helps when consulting with tourism businesses as part of the destination development process. Please find out more about the operational experience here.

We are here to help Destination Management Organisations, particularly in terms of providing support and recovery planning advice:

1. Short-term Visitor Economy Recovery Plans

2. Medium to Long-term Destination Management Plans

3. Business Planning Support for Tourism Businesses