Introducing the Destination Leaders Programme


dlp course




The DLP provides a unique mix of academic learning, practical case studies, local, national and international benchmarks, as well as group project development and practice-based learning. 

Participating gives you the opportunity to develop your skills, capabilities and self-awareness as an individual leader, and can help you to improve the performance of your business. 

This programme provides you with the knowledge and skills to work effectively as a destination leader, whilst giving you access to international best-practice, insights and networks. 

Completing the Destination Leaders Programme will also position you in an alumni of recognised leaders in the tourism industry.


Course Content: The Current Destination Environment

You will hear from a range of inspirational world renowned speakers and academics, as well as experts from the Scottish tourism sector. Throughout the programme, you will have the opportunity to strengthen your industry networks, learn from tourism colleagues and develop yourself as a destination leader.

The programme consists of six online workshops that cover:

  • Destination Development - what does "destination development" mean and why is it important? Key issues around vision and strategy; product knowledge; holistic development; stakeholder management; the role of festivals and events; business tourism; providing authentic experiences; role of innovation; value added from collaboration/effective partnership building and networking.
  • Customer Journey - component elements of the product (from first point of contact to transport to and within the destination); customer experience; knowing your customer market and future trends; importance of workforce skills, training and customer interface.
  • Influencing Policy, Agendas, Social Justice & Equality - achieving a competitive advantage for your business and the destination through influencing key decision makers, adding value, and raising awareness of adopting socially sustainable processes and practices, accessible tourism.
  • Sustainable Tourism and Data Driven Innovation - responding to the climate crisis, the business case for adopting environmental practices,  the circular economy; impacts on consumers of data driven innovation; role of big data; digital media; impacts on customer journey and touch points (websites/apps/e-commerce.)
  • Leadership skills - leadership behaviours; understanding your leadership style; team building and leadership; leadership challenges in a destination v a business.
  • Developing strategic views at a destination level - goal setting in tough times; vision and strategy; change management; personal development theory and practice.
  • Creating and enhancing collaborative environments - effective collaboration; partnership working across sectors (influencing and negotiating); advanced communication and negotiation.
  • Destination Branding, Marketing and Product Development - understanding of the importance of branding and marketing in realising competitive advantage for destinations, and in the context of destination leadership, the ‘end to end’ customer journey and holistic visitor experience, and effective destination management and development.

Assessed Leadership Project:

Working in groups, you will identify a specific leadership or destination management issue (Pan Scotland) or a problem within your business or a related organisation. The focus will be on creating a positive impact on the visitor experience, enhancing market and competitive positioning, and maximising the return on investment to the destination. 

You will utilise the theory and practice gained on the programme to provide an in-depth situational analysis, recommendations and solutions. 

At the end of the programme, your group will present your recommendations to a panel of Senior Destination Leaders. 

How long does this take?

Individuals are expected to participate in six workshops, which take place 2-3 weeks apart. Successful completion of the programme and CPD accreditation will be subject to applicant attendance for at least 80% of the programme.

Individuals must also participate in the Group Leadership project, which will be assessed. This will require a significant time commitment outwith the formal workshops. 


You will find the Apply Now link in the Dates, Fees and Application section.

The course tutors were inspirational and the exchange of ideas was great. It’s a brilliant opportunity to step back from work, meet fantastic people, reflect, and share industry insights.

Cara Baillie

Regional Brand Home Manager West, Diageo; Destination Leaders Programme 2020