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Strategic Planning

The mission of the Walton County Tourism Department is to protect and strengthen the South Walton brand in order to bolster the Walton County tourism economy. The Tourism Department will manage and maintain our beaches as a primary attraction and serve as the Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) responsible for protecting and promoting tourism and the high quality of life enjoyed in Walton County.

The tourism department is guided by a comprehensive strategic plan with set goals and objectives.

Throughout the year, staff and consultants work diligently to collect research of interest to the tourism industry and community, compile monthly reports recording activities that directly correlate with the strategic plan, and present information at the bi-monthly Tourist Development Council (TDC) meeting and Advisory Committee meetings.

The TDC, the nine-member board which provides fiduciary oversight of the tourism department, serves as the primary strategic advisor to the Walton County Board of County Commissioners on issues and opportunities facing the community from a tourism perspective. It is for this reason that the TDC and the tourism department embarked upon a strategic planning process during the third quarter of 2018.

As the environment in which the tourism department operates continues to evolve, it needs to continually re-position itself and its programming to continue to build the visitor economy in an increasingly competitive environment, while balancing the needs, interests, and quality of life concerns within the community.

On Jan. 28, the tourism department and the Tourist Development Council held a public workshop to discuss the strategic planning process and garner feedback. CLICK HERE to watch the meeting. The 2019-2021 Strategic Plan can be viewed HERE.

Building off the momentum from the 2019-2021 strategic planning process, the tourism department has contracted with DMO Proz once again help guide the organization’s efforts in the strategic planning process. Bill Geist from DMO Proz will facilitate the process and is well-regarded within the DMO space. Having worked with him on the previous strategic plan, he is incredibly familiar with the destination, its attributes, challenges, and opportunities.

Below is an overview of the strategic planning process which kicked off in February.


  • Review Background Documentation:

    • Organizational Budget
    • Sales & Marketing/Business Plans
    • Visitor Profiles/Research/Data with an eye to the last 24 months
    • Lodging Supply/Performance
    • Booking Goals and Performance Measures
    • County, Municipal or Departmental Strategic or Comprehensive Plans with components that affect the tourism asset base
    • Others as identified



  • Destination Assessment

    • SWOT analysis of Visit South Walton compared to 2018
    • Competitive and Aspirational Destinations
    • Onsite tour and identification of the new assets in the North
  • Creation and Launch of Online Survey

    • Elected Leaders
    • Hospitality Partners
    • Stakeholders
    • Staff
    • Community Leaders
    • Residents



  • Interviews and Meetings

    • Walton County Tourist Development Council, Board of County Commissioners and administrative leadership
    • Key stakeholders and partners
    • Three half-day strategic workshops utilizing MindMapping (previously used in 2018)



  • Development of Strategic Recommendations

    • Compilation of data, assessment, survey, interviews and workshops
    • Write draft recommendations



  • Preliminary Presentation of Draft to Tourist Development Council

    • Presentation (either in person or virtual) of the findings and recommendations for the draft strategic plan
    • Discussion and edits



  • Final Strategic Plan Presentation

    • Walton County Tourist Development Council
    • Walton County Board of County Commissioners


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