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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).

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.

Download Part I

The next step in planning for advocacy is thinking about who will be doing the communication.

Each advocate has their own network (this is the AUDIENCE) where they can communicate the value of tourism.

You need a broad and diverse range of advocates (these are the PEOPLE) to help you maximize the reach of your communication.

A DMO doesn’t have to talk to every stakeholder. In fact, they may be the WRONG person talking to the WRONG audience. People are more willing to listen to those they already know and trust. Use your advocates to help you communicate the value of tourism to audiences you may not be able to reach.

Download Part II

Advocacy ensures that destination community stakeholders understand, prioritize, and support the value of tourism. What strategies are you currently using to communicate the value of tourism? How effective are these strategies in communicating the value of tourism?

Download Part III

Parts IV - V

Future Actionable Advocacy Insights to be released soon include:

  • Identifying Resources to Advocate for Tourism
  • Perceived Obstacles to Advocacy Efforts in Tourism

Research Contacts

Ashley Schroeder headshot

Ashley Schroeder, Ph.D.

Research Lead, Richardson Family SmartState Center for Economic Excellence in Tourism

Assistant Professor
School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
University of South Carolina

Whitney Knollenberg headshot

Whitney Knollenberg, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
North Carolina State University


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