BACD to bolster education

The British Association of Conference Destinations (BACD) is to put its focus for the coming year on ramping up education and training for members, with a raft of ambitious plans designed to lever its recently forged links with US-based global association Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI). The plans were announced at last week's annual conference in North Wales, where Jersey Conference Bureau general manager Hamish Reid was also unveiled as the association's new chairman. The first move in the new training plan saw BACD announce a two-day destination branding session in October followed by a sales academy in January. The latter will involve a one-day entry-level schedule and a two-day event for senior staff. Content will be partially shaped by the results of a survey of DMAI members (including UK destinations) carried out in April. Covering training needs, this is set to be announced at the first meeting of the DMAI’s European advisory council on Monday. The UK will be represented by BACD chief executive Tony Rogers, who sees the project as the first move in improving standards and gaining recognition for British destination management organisations. “Our priority is to create an external education programme that is certified and recognised,” Rogers said. “There is now a lot of provision for graduates but once people are in the industry training is very ad-hoc with few post-graduate qualifications in destination marketing and management.” Rogers added that BACD is in discussions with UK universities such as Leeds Metropolitan to see how those qualifications might be created, possibly using the DMAI’s modular education programme as a base. The move follows the deal engineered in February wherein BACD members automatically become members of DMAI. Rogers also confirmed that BACD will take a limited part in DMAI’s upcoming destination accreditation programme. The benchmarking system has just been trialled in the US and is looking to accredit 75 destinations next year. It is thought that one UK destination will take part.

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