Strategic planning of destination tourism development: The System of Measures for Destination Excellence

Manolis Psarros
Destination Development & Marketing Consultant

June 2010
CED World Centre of Excellence for Destinations 555-1255 Peel Street, Montréal (Québec) Canada T: +1.514.871.1115 (x. 226) F: +1.514.871.1121


CED is a non profit organization recognized by UNWTO Partners

Ä Governmental : Ä Non governmental :

Ministère du Tourisme du Québec Ministère des Affaires Municipales Développement Économique Canada

Tourisme Montréal Université du Québec à Montréal National Geographic Society George WashingtonUniversity Atmosfair

Mission: To guide destinations around the world toward excellence by:

Developing their competitiveness

Facilitating the achievement of their sustainable development objectives Improving the quality of the experience offered to tourists

Delivering strategic information on the major issues related to destinations.


Strengthening the geographic character of destinations, which includes their environment, their culture, their aesthetics, their heritage, and the well-being of their inhabitants

SMED is:
The SMED evaluation of a destination assigns a grade by field of excellence to allow a destination to clearly identify fields that may constitute weak points (to improve them) or strong points (to be promoted in its communications) and facilitate the use of the SMED as diagnostic tool, as well as a tool for progress and management.

‡ Is not an Accreditation System ‡ Does Not Publish the Evaluation Results ‡ Does Not Create Comparative Lists among the participating destinations

SMED Partners
Potential SMED partners are :

Organizations having recognized authority, government power over tourist activities at the destination

X municipalities X their tourism bureaus X promotional bodies

Typology of Destinations:
The criteria used to differentiate between the major typologies of tourist destinations gave the SMED different options in terms if geographic localization and leaded to the identification of the following

4 Types of Destinations

1. Urban destinations

2. Coastal destinations

3. Mountain destinations

4. Rural, nature, and discovery destinations

SMED Network of Destinations

Cantons-de-l·Est Montreal

Andorra Samos Crete Jeddah Chengdu

Mexico City

Douro Valley Madeira Riviera Maya Tela

System of Measures for Destination Excellence
SMED fields and categories SMED rating scheme Results Analysis Suggestions for improvement

SMED fields and categories

SMED rating scheme



Suggestions for improvement


Transport  Accommodation  Food and Beverage  Supporting Services

Governance  Marketing and Sales  Information and Welcome  Security

Archaeology sites  Sightseeing  Vineyards  Well-beings and SPA

Destination Sustainability 
Environment and Landscape  Culture and Heritage


SMED fields and categories

SMED rating scheme



Suggestions for improvement

Each category evaluation is based on: Excellence
The information gathered  prior to the visit; 
during the workshops and interviews;  the wrap up meetings with the destination authorities.
more than 70%

High Performance
between 60% and 70%

The comparison to standards in the SMED data base.

Medium Performance
between 50% and 60%

The SMED experts knowledge and peer review

Low Performance
less than 50%

SMED fields and categories

Security SMED rating scheme



‡ The DESTINATION is easily accessible (roads, air, railway, river), and is served by excellent infrastructures. ‡The closest international airport is the ««, one of the most modern airports in the world. ‡Almost all wineries, vineyards and other attractions are in general easily accessible by car. ‡Bus stations are available in almost all the towns and villages.

SMED suggestions for improvement

‡ To advertise on the safety of the destination. ‡ To provide information or service in English and Spanish in the gas stations and service centers. ‡ To add in questionnaires designed to determine the perceptions and evaluations of visitors questions that address the safety issue.

SMED fields and categories

Accommodation SMED rating scheme Medium Performance


‡There are 36 establishments of accommodation ( not including the rural tourism sector). There is a total of 2,333 beds available in the destination. ‡The average stay is 1,5 days. ‡The average annual occupancy rate is 26.10%. ‡There are schools offerings training of tourism and hospitality

SMED suggestions for improvement

‡To increase occupancy rates. ‡To measure accommodation supply and demand. ‡To strengthen and reposition the Wine Association Route in order to develop and promote the «««...

SMED fields and categories

Governance SMED rating scheme

Low Performance


‡Lack of coordination between the different tourism stakeholders. ‡There were three DMOs operating in «««... There was no global approach for the destination as a whole. ‡In response to these problems, the ««««. Government has decided to: 1) create the «« Mission Structure (DMS) which is responsible to implement the ««« tourism plan; 2) create one single DMO for the entire destination (being created now). ‡ To support the implementation of the «««.. DMO which. ‡ To develop a DMO strategy. ‡ To collect data to know the impact of the tourism sector and the importance of the industry for the local and regional economy. ‡ To develop a system for comparing similar destinations. ‡ To become a UNWTO affiliate member (Destination Council).

SMED suggestions for improvement

SMED Visit
‡ SMED questionnaires (3 months prior to the visit)
‡ Preparation for the Visit

The Visit is done normally in five days: ‡ Consultation Workshops ‡ On-site visits ‡ Interview with Local Key Stakeholders

Aanalysis of the information and recommendations identification (3months)

Before the Visit

After the Visit

Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (United Arab Emirates) Barcelona Turisme (Spain) Dublin Tourism (Ireland)

Oenological Tourism
Town of Oliver (Canada) The Stellenbosh Wine Routes (South Africa) Margaret River (Australia) Bordeaux Region (France) Colchagua Valley (Chili)

River Discovery
Valley of Loreley (Germany) Sognef Jord (Norway)

Follow up Long Term Short Term visit 4 years later

Benefits of SMED

Benefits for Destinations:
The tourist destinations that agree to participate in the development of the SMED by receiving CED delegates will obtain the following benefits: ‡ ‡ Recognition as an innovative destination seeking excellence through their involvement in the development of the SMED, a global-scale project; The uniting of local decision-makers and operators, public and private, around a mobilizing project aimed at developing the sustainable performance of the destination¶s tourist activities; The acquisition of general advice and recommendations on the development and management of the destination, which will help the destination to improve its excellence; The best practice experience coming from all around the world to be applied within the destination.



Benefits for Destinations:
‡ Douro Valley, Portugal and Tela, Honduras obtained information to create a local DMO that didn¶t existed in those regions. ‡ Douro Valley, Portugal: Douro Valley in Portugal obtained 30 million Euros from the European Union to implement the SMED recommendations, they also signed the National Geographic Geotourism charter. ‡ Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, obtained help from the national government to create a program to save the old downtown area and built a Muslim tradition museum. ‡ Eastern townships, Canada obtained the political support with the help of our external report to ban motor boats in some lakes and to develop a system of small village restaurants in the whole region. ‡ Riviera Maya and Mexico City obtained help from our partner atmosfair to measure the CO2 impact of the destination and apply funds from the Carbon credits to implement green energy technologies.

System for Measuring Excellence in Destinations (SMED)

Thank You
CED World Centre of Excellence for Destinations 555-1255 Peel Street, Montréal (Québec) Canada T: +1.514.871.1115 (x. 226) F: +1.514.871.1121

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