The Role of Tourism in Talent Attraction Marketing: How DMOs and EDOs Are Collaborating to Attract the Workforce of Tomorrow

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<span>The Role of Tourism in Talent Attraction Marketing:  How DMOs and EDOs Are Collaborating to Attract the Workforce of Tomorrow</span>
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It is often said that “today’s visitor is tomorrow’s talent” – but how does visitor attraction play into talent attraction? DCI explores how DMOs nationwide work with their economic development partners to attract a diverse workforce. 

It is often said that “today’s visitor is tomorrow’s talent” – but how exactly does visitor attraction play into talent and workforce attraction? Travel provides visitors with the unique opportunity to get ingrained into the culture and vibrancy of a new destination while providing a glimpse into what life is like in the community. In fact, according to DCI's, “Talent Wars: What People Look for in Jobs and Locations,” 14% of respondents reported that a primary trigger inspiring relocation was based on traveling to a location. Think about this in the context of New York City’s population (8.3 million). If 14% of that population relocated based on a trip or visit, that would result in over 1 million people relocating due to that experience. This data emphasizes the importance of collaboration between destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and economic development organizations (EDOs), which share a unified goal: to amplify destinations as great places to visit, invest, live and work.

Let’s look at three locations where DMOs and EDOs are working to attract and retain a vibrant workforce.


In 2021, the Greater Cleveland, Ohio region launched the Cleveland Talent Alliance to identify, attract, engage, welcome and retain a diverse workforce. Spearheaded by the region’s DMO, Destination Cleveland, the alliance comprises 14 organizations focused on high-level economic development. The alliance taps into the strengths of each organization, with Destination Cleveland managing the regional lifestyle storytelling and partners such as the Greater Cleveland Partnership (EDO) focusing on tech talent attraction and engagement. Destination Cleveland’s initiative is fueled by the belief that every visitor to the region is a potential student, resident, or employee, and weaving in the region’s lifestyle assets has become an essential element of telling the Cleveland story to visitor attraction efforts. 


Chattanooga, TN was the first city in the Western Hemisphere to offer all of its residents one gigabit-per-second fiber internet service. Affectionately known as “Gig City,” the region was uniquely positioned to attract remote workers during the COVID-19 pandemic due to solid digital connectivity, competitive cost of living and attractive lifestyle amenities. The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce launched a talent attraction initiative, “Chattanooga Calling,” and aligned with the Chattanooga Tourism Co. to focus on attracting remote workers, in particular, who were able to consider a “workcation” to Chattanooga during the pandemic. Driven by a robust digital presence and a public relations campaign, the region soon rose to the top of national lists of locations for remote workers. The efforts resulted in widespread media coverage and impressive digital ad engagement rates, driving to a talent attraction website that features a cost-of-living calculator, community quiz and jobs board.  

Tampa Bay 

Tampa Bay, FL, is known as a top tourism destination with 27M visitors to Hillsborough County in 2022. While the region was known for its attractions and more than 240 annual days of sunshine, it was largely unknown as a place to live and work. To build on the success of the existing visitor attraction efforts, Visit Tampa Bay and the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council partnered to create Make it Tampa Bay, a talent and workforce attraction initiative focused on attracting entrepreneurs to the region. To show a unified front with Visit Tampa Bay, the initiative’s branding mirrors that of the DMO and provides strategic links to the EDC’s website when discussing business opportunities and the DMO website when referencing lifestyle assets such as regional sports, bars, etc. 

When it comes to attracting a vibrant workforce, you are your community’s chief storytellers and often have the imagery and lifestyle content that the workforce is most interested in readily available. While a significant lift, these programs are another strategic way to further engrain your DMO into the community and demonstrate value beyond room nights. Interested in collaborating with your regional EDO to attract a diverse workforce? Check out our blog, “Four Ways DMOs and EDOs Can Collaborate to Attract Talent.

About The Author

Patience Fairbrother

Vice President, Talent Attraction
Development Counsellors International

Patience Fairbrother is Vice President, Talent Attraction at Development Counsellors International (DCI), where she oversees the place-marketing agency’s Talent Attraction practice area, helping cities, regions, states and countries to attract the workforce of the future through custom research and targeted marketing campaigns. Patience’s work has been recognized in the Summit Creative Awards, AVA Digital Awards, Horizon Interactive Awards, International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Excellence in Economic Development Awards, and MarCom Awards.

She has been a featured speaker on place marketing research and best practices at conferences including Young Smart & Local, Destinations International, ECONOMIX, and the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) Annual Conference, and in communities from Buffalo to Birmingham. Based in Brooklyn, Patience is a graduate of Kenyon College and a native of the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts. 

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