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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

  • An overhead shot of the Grand Strand in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with a large Ferris wheel prominently featured at dusk.

Actionable Advocacy Insights

Actionable Advocacy Insights is a five-part series designed to help tourism industry leaders improve their advocacy planning efforts.

Empowering Advocacy 

It has never been more important for the tourism industry to engage in advocacy, but advocacy efforts require planning and the strategic use of resources. The Actionable Advocacy Insights series provides evidence-based strategies for advocacy planning and implementation. The five-part series is designed to provide tools and information to empower tourism professionals and is powered by collaborative research between the University of South Carolina's SmartState Tourism and NC State. This research was funded by American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA), and supported by Southeast Tourism Society (STS).

Part I - Communicating the Value of Tourism

Communicating the Value of Tourism  focuses on the need to adopt a universal definition of advocacy within tourism organizations.

Analysis of 26 interviews with state destination management organizations and tourism advocacy associations indicates that advocacy should be defined as “communicating the value of tourism to stakeholders.”

Beyond providing this definition, this first tool offers a short, mid, and long-term strategy for tourism leaders to start implementing this definition of advocacy in their planning efforts

Communicating the Value of Tourism is available as a PowerPoint file for tourism leaders to integrate into presentations for internal (e.g., staff and board members) and external (e.g., potential advocacy partners) stakeholders. Presenter notes are provided, and the presentation features a “Conversation Starters” slide with questions presenters can use to initiate conversations with their audience around the definition of advocacy.

Parts II - V

Future Actionable Advocacy Insights to be released soon include:

  • Involving a Broad and Diverse Range of Stakeholders in Advocacy
  • The Perceived Effectiveness of Advocacy Strategies
  • Identifying Resources to Advocate for Tourism
  • Perceived Obstacles to Advocacy Efforts in Tourism

Research Contacts

Ashley Schroeder, Ph.D.
University of South Carolina

Whitney Knollenberg, Ph.D.
North Carolina State University

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