Funding Futures – Major Opportunities for DMOs in the COVID-19 Crisis

Head of Research and Insights
Published 8/24/20
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New report offers invaluable research & resources for every DMO on future funding options

Miles Partnership has just released a major report addressing a critical challenge facing DMOs across North America and around the world. Facilitated along with partners, Civitas and Tourism EconomicsFunding Futures is a major research project assessing the options and opportunities for tourism and DMO funding coming out of the COVID-19 crisis.

Tourism funding, and the revenue streams for destination marketing and/or management organizations (DMOs), was an issue of concern prior to this crisis, but COVID-19’s unprecedented disruption of tourism has greatly amplified the urgency of these funding issues.

Funding Futures is the initial major report and webinar from an ongoing program to investigate these challenges and provides practical funding options for DMOs. This first phase of the major research study focuses on North America reviewing 115 North American cities, all 50 U.S. states and 10 Canadian provinces, assessing the recovery from the crisis over the next one to five years in three detailed recovery scenarios produced by Tourism Economics. As part of the research, four in-depth discussion groups of DMOs were held plus an initial review of leading funding models from around the world. Aggregating all of the research and resources, Funding Futures outlines 10 new or enhanced funding models for DMOs to consider.

These funding options are categorized into three types:

  • Response: emergency funding options for DMOs in the US and Canada in the COVID-19 crisis and its recovery
  • Resilience: funding options that provide more secure, less risky and more responsive funding for DMOs
  • Regenerative: funding solutions that help tourism build back better and with greater community support and sustainability

Each of these 10 funding options are illustrated with specific DMO examples from across North America and around the world:


1. Recovery Funding & Stimulus Spending


2. Building Reserves
3. Sharing Risk – Insurance
4. Role, Responsibility & Structure of DMOs
5. Evolution of Dedicated Funding
6. Tax Increment Funding
7. Enhanced Public – Private Co-op Funding
8. Short Term Rental Revenue


9. Outcome Based Funding Models
10. Regenerative Funding Models

The report leverages these practical examples and provides 10 specific recommendations on next steps for DMOs. These actionable, critical takeaways are focused on three priorities for how DMOs need to "meet the moment":

I. Ensure That You Have Exhausted Every Option to Obtain Emergency Funding

The next 12+ months will be the most difficult DMOs have ever experienced – short to medium term support will be critical to ensure they are ready and resourced to help lead the recovery.

II. Move to a Broader Based, Resilient Funding Structure

Funding Futures outlines a wide range of options and opportunities for improved, more responsive, and resilient funding streams. The time to action and enable this change has never been better – or more urgent. 

III. Future-Proof Your Role & Relevance as an Organization.

Finally, the crisis also presents every DMO with the chance to review its role and develop responsibilities, structures and funding relationships that ensure the tourism is ‘built back better’ with the DMO at its center.

This report was undertaken by Miles Partnership in collaboration with two lead partner agencies: Civitas and Tourism Economics. Most of the time and effort contributed pro-bono to allow the tourism industry and DMOs to access the report at no cost. Some valuable funding was provided by the U.S. Travel Association Destination Council and the Destination Marketing Association of Canada (DMAC). Important support was also provided by Destination Analysts in leading the DMO research part of this project with additional in-kind assistance from Destinations International.



More:  Funding Futures – the full report, report sections, research, webinar resources & more. August 20, 2020

Blog: Building Tourism Advocates in Your Destination – Laura Libby, June 16, 2020

Blog: 8 Ways to Build a more Sustainable Future for Tourism – Chris Adams, April 21, 2020