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Study Reveals COVID-19 Impact on EU’s Destination Marketing Organizations

Survey by European Cities Marketing association finds severe budget cuts, but a stronger post-crisis future

The COVID-19 crisis has had a severe impact on Destination Marketing Organizations in Europe.  This according to a 2020 Funding Survey by the European Cities Marketing, an association of more than 120 urban DMOs in Europe

The survey shows that “few DMOs are left unaffected by the crisis – almost 75 percent of the 67 DMOs in the survey have had their 2020 budgets reduced and almost a third of these have seen severe reductions of more than 50 percent.”

The ECM research was done in collaboration with Danish strategy firm Group NAO to assess the current funding situation and the crisis impact on the destination management and marketing organisations.

“The new normal reality could be an open of a new era where DMOs take a clear stand on balanced and holistic tourism development in the cities,” the organization said in a statement.

“It is crucial that decision members on local, national and EU-level understand that the crisis has slammed many DMOs financially along with the industry itself,” said Petra Stusek, ECM President. “If we do not act now, and remember to allocate a fair share of recovery funding and stimulus packages for the destination management and marketing organisations, they won’t be able to deliver on their crucial role of coordinating, facilitating and executing on the reboot of Europe’s travel and tourism sector.”

Although the news was challenging, the survey saw some silver linings. A majority of respondents (89 percent) agreed that the COVID-19 crisis would lead to a more sustainable future and most of the DMOs surveyed said that the crisis has strengthened their political capital.