LUŠTICKÝ, Martin, KINCL, Tomáš
Journal of Competitiveness, 2012, Vol. 4, Iss. 1, p. 99–116. ISSN 1804-171X
Publication year: 2012

Tourism development has an irreplaceable role in regional policy of almost all countries. This is due to its undeniable benefits for the local population with regards to the economic, social and environmental sphere. Tourist destinations compete for visitors at tourism market and subsequently get into a relatively sharp competitive struggle. The main goal of regional governments and destination management institutions is to succeed in this struggle by increasing the competitiveness of their destination. The quality of strategic planning and final strategies is a key factor of competitiveness. Even though the tourism sector is not the typical field where the benchmarking methods are widely used, such approaches could be successfully applied. The paper focuses on key phases of the benchmarking process which lies in the search for suitable referencing partners. The partners are consequently selected to meet general requirements to ensure the quality if strategies. Following from this, some specific characteristics are developed according to the SMART approach. The paper tests this procedure with an expert evaluation of eight selected regional tourism strategies of regions in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Great Britain. In this way it validates the selected criteria in the frame of the international environment. Hence, it makes it possible to find strengths and weaknesses of selected strategies and at the same time facilitates the discovery of suitable benchmarking partners.