One of the sectors within the tourism industry which is considered to be large and continuously expanding is the business tourism sector, also known as MICE tourism (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions). Countries and cities rely heavily on investment in infrastructure to support the development of this sector and to ensure sustained growth, many destinations use destination management organisations (DMOs) and convention bureaus to provide leadership. These organisations are also tasked to actively promote the destination for leisure travel and it is necessary to understand the distinct requirements that set business tourism development and promotion apart from leisure tourism. This study employed multi-method qualitative research to investigate the roles and functions that DMOs perform in order to develop business tourism in a destination. This included understanding the challenges faced within varied destinations. Data was collected through interviews with a sample of nine major DMOs at various levels and four major conference centres across South Africa. Strategic documents and website content was also analysed as supplement to the primary data. The study shows the importance of especially DMO stakeholder engagement, marketing, identification of opportunities to host business tourism events within the destination, as well as bidding support as the main roles and functions that need to be performed to ensure sustained growth of business tourism. A framework is presented depicting the interaction between DMOs at the national, regional and local levels, as well as with the various industry stakeholders.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2017.