Results help determine priorities and strategies for the future
Lawrence, KS, September 29, 2016– eXplore Lawrence recently embarked on an important self-assessment of how Lawrence scores as a tourist destination. The DestinationNEXT assessment, a diagnostic tool provided by Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), takes the form of a 360-degree survey of key stakeholders in tourism, business, education, and government who are impacted by Lawrence’s ability to attract and inspire visitors. Lawrence is the first destination in Kansas to participate in the assessment.
“We are in the company of more than 290 other destination worldwide who have undertaken this assessment”, said eXplore Lawrence Executive Director, Michael Davidson. ”We feel the tool has been tried and tested, and the methodology is sound.”
Nearly 100 key stakeholders completed the online assessment, which is based on 20 variables related to “destination strength” and “community support and engagement.” The results were revealed during a strategic planning workshop on September 14. Dr. Annie Rummel, President/CEO of the Great Lakes Bay (Michigan) Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau, presented the results of the assessment to the workshop attendees and facilitated discussion of key issues.
The results of the assessment identified Lawrence as an “Explorer”, defined as a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) and destination that desires an inspired tourism vision and activated community to make it happen. Diagnostic report cards for “destination strength” and “community support and engagement” show the relative importance and perceived performance of each variable.
“In order to get where we want to go, we have to know where we are,” said Davidson. “This tool has helped us identify our destination’s strengths and areas for improvement. We’ll use what we’ve learned from this assessment to help form a strategic plan for tourism in the Lawrence area.”
The workshop concluded with discussion about the most important issues that should be addressed in Lawrence in the next three years and the most important action that eXplore Lawrence should take within the next year. From that discussion the idea of an annual Lawrence Tourism Summit was born. The first annual summit will take place in early 2017 and will focus on the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics which will be hosted at Lawrence’s Rock Chalk Park, July 23-30, 2017.
“The 2017 USA Track & Field Junior Olympics will bring tens of thousands of visitors to Lawrence.” Davidson said. “We must show that Lawrence excels in hosting events of this magnitude in order to attract more events like it in the future. The Summit will ensure that area businesses, attractions and the community are prepared to welcome our guests.”
View a summary of the DestinationNEXT results here.
eXplore Lawrence represents the travel and tourism for Lawrence and Douglas County, Kansas. We are dedicated to creating economic development by attracting visitors, conventions and events to our city.
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