Manchester’s potential as a Gateway Destination Management Organisation

As part of Manchester’s bid for Round 2 Discover England funding, Marketing Manchester asked us to explore what a Gateway Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for the North might do and how it might work. The focus would be on long-haul markets and building on the informal joint working that’s already happening.

Manchester is already the third most-visited city for international visitors to the UK. And Manchester Airport is a recognised gateway for inbound visitors to the North, yet it currently welcomes just 3% of all international arrivals.

This was a strategic piece of work exploring partnerships with VisitBritain, CEOs of DMOs, the National Parks and with other partners across the North.

What would DMOs be prepared to work together on? What would need to happen to make the prize worth the effort? What are the challenges? Could collaboration go beyond international marketing? What does “always on” look like for long-haul international marketing? How might partners resource and fund that?

We set out two potential ways forward and considered the merits and risks of each. We recommended a focused and ambitious option that has the potential to up the game of international tourism marketing significantly, and position the North strongly in target markets, supported by investment in market intelligence that makes better use of big data.

"What Manchester does today, the rest of the world does tomorrow"
Benjamin Disraeli