Destination Development

Helping Maine areas and communities build a tourism economy

The primary focus of destination development is on rural-destination areas in Maine that are in decline. Destination development requires looking at the entire tourism system within a destination area holistically; working with an organized, committed group of local leaders to monitor meetings and assessing where destination areas are in the development process; offering direction, guidance and advice; and facilitating access to appropriate State of Maine resources when and as they are available.

For more information about the Office of Tourism’s destination development work please contact:
Hannah Collins
[email protected]
(207) 624-7456

MOT Destination Development Toolkit

Fundamentals of Destination Development – A Community Handbook
Published in December 2020, Fundamentals of Destination Development-A Community Handbook will provide Maine regions and communities with the foundation and tools necessary to begin a meaningful destination development initiative within a region or community. It is recommended to download and review this document by the sections below.

Title Page & Table of Contents
Section I: The Fundamentals of Organizing
Section II: Building & Managing the Visitor Experience
Section III: Marketing, Communications & Additional Markets

Appendix A – Inventory Documents
Appendix B – Evaluation Documents
Appendix C – Attitude Surveys
Appendix D – Tourism Industry Glossary
Appendix E – How to Connect with the MOT

Download Full PDF

Other Helpful Resources:
Outdoor Recreation Roundtable Rural Economic Development Toolkit

Community Destination Academy

Community Destination Academy (CDA) 

The core of the Maine Office of Tourism’s CDA program is built upon a basic curriculum that is applicable to all of Maine’s rural destination areas, even though no two CDAs are ever the same. Local leadership teams work to plan the courses and ensure that specific community needs are addressed.

Recent CDA News

The Way DownEast communities of Calais, Eastport, Machias, and Lubec have completed the MOT Community Destination Academy (CDA) program. Over 40 participants assembled for an intensive three-session CDA held in early 2022 to help determine a common vision and direction regarding tourism development led by the MOT, consultant and facilitator David Beurle of Future IQ, and partner The Northern Forest Center. A final report for the Way DownEast group has been released and shared with all participants to help guide them as they begin a four-community collaboration to attract more and longer stay visitation to their corner of Maine. A steering committee will be moving the effort forward incrementally in each partnering community using the report as the basis for the long-term process of enhancing local communities through small projects for residents, businesses, and visitors.

The complete Way Downeast report has been posted on the Future IQ website or click here for the full Way DownEast report in PDF.

View the MOT Way Downeast CDA Case Study for more insight into program progress and progression.

Past CDAs

The CDA program has been completed in Maine’s Moosehead Lake, Rangeley Lakes, and the Mahoosucs (Bethel) regions. Learn more about each with the case studies below.

Case Studies

Community Destination Academy Summit – Monday, May 3, 2021 (Recording)
The focus of the Community Destination Academy Summit is to listen and interact with leaders from our Community Destination Academy areas as they discuss one of many projects they are executing as the result of their collective community visioning. This session is valuable to all people who are working at “placemaking” in Maine.

Watch Video Here
Audio Only

Presentation Slides

Destination Development – Inventory Project Log-in