Morrison The 10 As of Successful Tourism Destinations
The 10 As of Successful Tourism Destinations
How can it be determined if a tourism destination is successful or not? And if the
destination is judged to be successful, can the DMO take the sole credit for this great
achievement? These are hugely difficult questions to answer but nevertheless they
should be tackled.
One answer to the first question is that the successful destinations are the ones with the
most tourists. So you will often see the “world’s top destinations” identified as the ones
with the most tourist arrivals according to UNWTO. These would include countries such
as France, USA, China, Spain, Italy, and the UK. However, many will argue that this is a
choice of “quantity” over “quality” and that smaller destinations are not necessarily
inferior because they have fewer visitors. Additionally, these are countries and there are
many more destinations and DMOs below the country level.
Some travel magazines and guidebooks publish “top destination” lists each year. For
example, Frommer’s Top 10 Destinations 2012 included the Bay of Fundy (Canada),
Beirut (Lebanon), Chongqing (China), Curacao, Fukuoka (Japan), Ghana, Girona
(Spain), Greenwich (England), Kansas City (USA), and Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico).
These were picked by Frommer’s editors, authors, and experts, and with some input
from readers. Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries for 2012 were Uganda, Myanmar,
Ukraine, Jordan, Denmark, Bhutan, Cuba, New Caledonia, Taiwan, and Switzerland.
This was based on the voting of a Lonely Planet expert panel based on topicality,
excitement, and value. TripAdvisor.com’s Travelers’ Choice 2011 Top 25 Destinations
in the World included Cape Town (South Africa), Sydney (Australia), Machu Picchu
(Peru), Paris (France), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), New York City (USA), Rome (Italy),
London (UK), Barcelona (Spain), and Hong Kong (China); these were the top 10 in the
ratings followed by 15 others. There many other of these “top destination” lists but just
from this small collection, it is interesting to note that no destination appeared twice on
these three. But more importantly no specific and detailed criteria were given for the
The World Centre of Excellence for Destinations (CED), located in Montréal, Canada,
has developed the System of Measures for Excellence in Destinations (SMED).
Established in 2007, CED has evaluated several destinations around the world with
SMED. A panel of SMED experts visits and assesses each destination that applies, and
the destination pays a fee for this service. The destinations that have been evaluated
successfully include Abitibi-Témiscamingue (Canada), Andorra, Cantons de L’Est
(Canada), Chengdu (China), Crete (Greece), Douro Valley (Portugal), Jeddah (Saudi
Arabia), Madeira (Portugal), Mexico City, Montréal (Canada), Riviera Maya (Mexico),
Samos (Greece), and Tela (Honduras). This system was a breakthrough for destination
management and was created with the support of UNWTO. However, the criteria for
approval of destinations under SMED have not been made public.
Based upon years of related experience, the author suggests “The 10 As” as a useful
set of attributes for judging the success of tourism destinations. Each of these 10
attributes begin with the letter “A” (Figure 1).
Figure 1: The 10 As of Successful Tourism Destinations
The following is a short explanation of each of the 10A attributes:
Awareness: This attribute is related to tourists’ level of knowledge about the
destination and is influenced by the amount and nature of the information they
DMO question: Is there a high level of awareness of the destination among
Attractiveness: The number and geographic scope of appeal of the
destination’s attractions comprise this attribute.
DMO question: Does the destination offer a diversity of attractions that are
appealing to tourists?
Availability: This attribute is determined by the ease with which bookings and
reservations can be made for the destination, and the number of booking and
reservation channels available.
DMO question: Can bookings and reservations for the destination be made
through a variety of distribution channels?
Access: The convenience of getting to and from the destination, as well as
moving around within the destination, constitutes this attribute.
DMO questions: Is there convenient access to and from the destination by all
modes of transportation? Is there convention transportation within the
Appearance: This attribute measures the impressions that the destination
makes on tourists, both when they first arrive and then throughout their stays in
DMO question: Does the destination make a good first impression? Does the
destination make a positive and lasting impression?
Activities: The extent of the array of activities available to tourists within the
destination is the determinant of this attribute.
DMO question: Does the destination offer a wide range of activities in which
tourists want to engage?
Assurance: This attribute relates to the safety and security of the destination for
DMO question: Is the destination clean, safe, and secure?
Appreciation: The feeling of the levels of welcome and hospitality contribute to
DMO question: Do tourists feel welcome and receive good service in the