Michael Hirst joins government’s DMO Challenge Panel review

Michael Hirst, immediate past chair of the Business Visits and Events Partnership, has been appointed to the DMO Challenge Panel.

The government recently announced it would launch an independent review into England’s destination management organisations (DMOs). The review will look at how DMOs are funded and structured and how they perform their roles. This will enable the government to understand whether there is a more efficient and effective model for supporting English tourism at a regional level, and if so, what it might look like.

“I’m delighted to be representing the events industry on the DMO Challenge Panel. 50 per cent of all visitor spend is event-related so it is right that the review takes into account how best Destination Management Companies can best serve this key sector that does so much to support local communities and plays a key role in place-making,” said Hirst.

The review will be led by Nick de Bois, chair of the VisitEngland Advisory Board and previously chair of the Events Industry Board and All Party Parliamentary Group for Events.

Other members of the review team include:

  • David Curtis-Brignell MBE – out-going deputy chief executive of Go To Places
  • John Hoy – a specialist in historic and heritage venues
  • Kate Kennally –chief executive of Cornwall Council
  • Sarah Stewart OBE – High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear and formally chief executive of NewcastleGateshead Initiative

The review will look at whether the current DMO landscape is economically efficient, effective and sustainable with regard to funding, structure and performance. It will also enable the government to meet its leisure and business tourism policy objectives at a national, regional and local level.

The review will then be used to make recommendations to the government, the tourism sector, or both as appropriate. Recommendations will assess whether DMOs might be structured or funded differently, and if so, how any proposals might maximise post-COVID-19 recovery and long-term success.

Other recommendations could include what the role of DMOs should be, where they sit in local structures and how best they can engage with and be engaged by VisitEngland, VisitBritain and DCMS, as well as wider government/public bodies where relevant.

Nick de Bois, review lead and chair of the VisitEngland Advisory Board said: “Business visitors generated through the UK’s Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) sector are a crucial element of the wider English visitor economy and it is important that the Events Industry also has its voice heard on the future organisation, structure and funding of destination management organisations across England. I encourage industry professionals to respond to the Call for Evidence at the earliest possible moment before the deadline of Wednesday 28 April.”

Find out more about the DMO review and submit evidence here.

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