Collaborative Destination Marketing at the Local Level: Benefits Bundling and the Changing Role of the Local Tourism Association

Brian Garrod
Alan Fyall, University of Central Florida


In a number of countries, local tourism associations (LTAs) are being expected to adopt the destination marketing role formerly attributed to regional-level destination marketing organisations (DMOs), which are presently either being actively dissolved or targeted for closure. Destination marketing can, however, be understood to be a public good (or, more precisely, a public service), which would generally prevent its provision by a subscription-based organisation such as an LTA. This is due to the presence of a strong ‘free-rider’ incentive for non-subscribers. The findings of this study show that LTAs in the UK have been able to overcome this ‘free rider’ effect by creating bundles of private and public benefits, the former being the benefits offered by the LTA in its traditional role as a trade representative body and the latter being the benefits associated with its newly acquired role as a local DMO. A qualitative–interpretive approach is adopted, using data gathered from LTA websites. While the conclusions are based on the UK policy context, it can be argued that the UK is a good analogue for other contexts. As such, the efforts of LTAs based in the UK to adapt to their new role are instructive for LTAs more generally.