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Michael Hirst OBE joins DMO review expert group

Michael Hirst OBE (pictured), chair of the UK Events Industry Board and Executive Committee members of the BVEP has been appointed to the DMO Challenge Panel following the UK government’s announcement last month on an independent review into Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) across England.

The review, which will take place over the next three months, will look at how DMOs are funded and structured and how they perform their roles. This will help the Government to understand whether there is a more efficient and effective model for supporting English tourism at a regional level, and if so what it might look like. 

Nick de Bois, chair of the VisitEngland Advisory Board and previously chair of the Events Industry Board and All-Party Parliamentary Group for Events will lead the review, acting in an independent capacity. He will receive administrative support from a DCMS Secretariat and will report to the DCMS Secretary of State.

Other members of the review team include David Curtis-Brignell MBE, John Hoy, Kate Kennally, Frank Rogers, Sarah Stewart OBE, Nigel Wilkinson, Kate Willard OBE, and Baroness Laura Wyld.

The review seeks to examine the extent to which the current DMO landscape is economically efficient, effective and sustainable (with regard to funding, structure and performance). It will also explore how government can meet its leisure and business tourism policy objectives at a national, regional and local level.

It will engage within the wider local and regional economic landscape, and the current focus on English devolution and levelling up.

Depending on the findings, the review will make recommendations to Government and the tourism sector on whether DMOs might be structured or funded differently, and if so, how any proposals might maximise post-Covid-19 recovery and long-term success

It may suggest what the role of DMOs should be, bearing in mind existing other local structures such as local enterprise partnerships, mayoral combined authorities, local authorities and other similar local and regional bodies, and where these might intersect and how DMOs should best engage with, and be engaged by, VisitEngland, VisitBritain and DCMS, as well as wider government/public bodies where relevant.

Commenting on his position on the review team Michael Hirst OBE said: “I’m delighted to be representing the Events Industry on the DMO Challenge Panel. 50% of all visitor spend is event related so it is right that the review takes into account how best Destination Management Companies can best serve this key sector that does so much to support local communities and plays a key role in place-making”.

Nick de Bois added: “Business visitors generated through the UK’s Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) sector are a crucial element of the wider English visitor economy and it is important that the Events Industry also has its voice heard on the future organisation, structure and funding of Destination Management Organisations across England. I encourage industry professionals to respond to the Call for Evidence at the earliest possible moment before the deadline of 28 April.”

To find out more about the DMO review and to submit evidence visit the Government website.