Judith Rehage

Judith Rehage

Master in Tourism Destination Management dissertation by TDM student Judith Rehage (December, 2010).

 

Title: Towards a greater international competitiveness of cross-border destinations: Internal strategic destination management criteria for future success. A case study of the heterogeneous cross-border destination ‘Lake Constance’

As the title of this master dissertation reveals, the topic of this research is destination competitiveness, focussing on the symbiosis of competitive destination management criteria and cross-border destinations. Preliminary research recognised gaps in the existing literature on internal management criteria towards amplifying competitiveness of cross-border destinations. Hence, the research goal is designated to theoretically develop a framework on internal strategic organisational destination management criteria and subsequently test it on a cross-border tourism organisation and its stakeholders in Europe through an empirical research process. The case study area chosen for this investigation is the Lake Constance destination in Central Europe involving four countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) and representing a challenging research target due to the region’s unique heterogeneity, diverging interests of stakeholders and existing destination management difficulties.

The research is dedicated to answer – amongst others – the following research questions: Which internal managerial criteria have the potential to increase the competitiveness of a cross-border destination? How are theoretically developed criteria currently performed at destination management level at Lake Constance? What recommendations can be formulated in terms of internal strategic organisational destination management criteria for the Lake Constance destination?

Towards answering aforementioned research questions, an extensive literature research was accomplished to get to the bottom of academic literature in the fields of  destination management and marketing; cross-border areas and tourism; stakeholder management; collaboration, networking and partnerships in tourism; competitiveness of destinations as well as international and cross-cultural strategic management. Secondary research revealed twelve criteria, which may potentially increase the competitiveness of destinations: organisational set-up; human resource management (HRM); tasks, roles and responsibilities; stakeholder management; linkages; tourism strategy and planning; marketing settings; innovation; spirit; research and knowledge exchange; resource management and control.

The author of this dissertation applied qualitative interviews with the international umbrella organisation of Lake Constance as well as 19 tourism actors in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in order to investigate the execution of theoretically identified attributes. It is concluded that certain characteristics are currently well in line with best practice examples from literature; some implicate managerial shortcomings, which are actively approached at the moment or in the near future; and others constitute managerial deficiencies, which are not addressed (yet).

Recommendations are formulated for the latter category and include, amongst others, less centralised management of the umbrella organisation, professional training facilities for non-tourism experts, admittance of delegation of responsibilities, development of stakeholder map, establishment of more cross-border partnerships, proactive support of smaller players with their strategic orientation, social engagements for marketing purposes, development of innovation day and annual innovation reward, formulation of Code of Conduct, establishment of criteria catalogue for gathering research data, active nature conservation through cross-border products and development of a comprehensive crisis management plan.

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