development cannot always be measured by traditional indicators.
The Tourism Development Capacity Index (TDCI) is an assessment tool
that provides a framework for communities to benchmark or evaluate
the impact of tourism development initiatives. It can be used to
assess progress toward meeting community goals by measuring change
in both organizational and financial resources.
TDCI looks at community characteristics that are reflected in statistics
that tourism development practitioners have traditionally examined.
More importantly, the TDCI explores characteristics of the community
related to their tourism and economic development practices.
assessment includes items that are clearly measurable such as total
hotel/motel sales tax revenue, number of lodging rooms, size of
recreation facilities, numbers of banks, membership to the local
Chamber of Commerce, etc. To measure the more intangible activities
related to tourism development, the TDCI includes a series of yes,
no or donít know questions about the status of tourism
development initiatives and practices. For example, does your community
have an active tourism coordinating committee? Does the tourism
coordination group have a tourism development plan? Has the community
completed a comprehensive tourism resources inventory in the past
three years? Do local businesses have access to hospitality training
in your community? Does the community have an active cultural heritage
tourism program? Does the tourism coordination group have a comprehensive
cultural heritage tourism preservation plan?
index value is assigned to the questions related to community and
tourism development practices. Although these questions have no
correct answer, a value or score was attached to each item in the
inventory of yes/no/donít know questions. The total score
is used to create a measurement index which is multiplied by a factor
related to the size of the community. The smaller the community,
the larger the multiplier. We know that large communities should
be better able to manage initiatives because they tend to have paid
staff to fulfill many of the jobs related to tourism development;
and conversely, it takes relatively more organizational capacity
in a smaller community to undertake tourism development strategies.
numbers themselves may not truly be indicative of capacity in a
community to undertake tourism or economic development; however,
looking at the index over time allows us to measure change and progress
toward community-driven goals. In this capacity, the TDCI becomes
an effective benchmarking tool.
the private sector, the primary rationale for benchmarking is the
need to maintain or regain a competitive market position. While
many public departments and agencies do not actively compete for
market share, there are other equally valid reasons to consider
benchmarking as a public sector management improvement technique.
most effective benchmarking tool is not just dispassionate examination
of numbers, but rather a tool that encompasses an evaluation of
the processes in the organization (is there an economic development
plan?) that achieve results as well as set outcome indicators (annual
be effective at benchmarking for the purposes of community and economic
development follow these guidelines.
your community. Know what community, tourism and economic
development activities are underway. Understand who is responsible
for the different development initiatives ó local government,
the Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Organization.
all stakeholders. The comparative nature of benchmarking
and the likelihood that no single person can know about all the
activities in the community makes it important to include stakeholders
in the benchmarking process. Furthermore, involving stakeholders
can expand their understanding of how they fit into the community
and economic development agenda.
both results and processes. Donít just look at the numbers,
sales tax revenue, employment, and income, evaluate the organizational
infrastructure of the community.
appropriate performance indicators. Look at only those
development activities that matter. Not everything, in the TDCI
is applicable to every community; more likely, there are many
activities that are not included in the TDCI, but are important
to the development practices in your community.
appropriate partners. Benchmarking compares performance
to that community which is considered to be doing very well at
community and economic development. It is important to choose
a like community, that is doing very well and then investigate
what factors contribute to their success.
a new culture. For benchmarking to be successful, community
leaders need to promote a climate which is comfortable with the
notion of comparison. It is important for community leaders to
not feel threatened by communities that are doing better then
they. The information gathered from this tool cannot focus on
inferior performance, but rather on issues related to innovative
practices. The challenge is to create a culture where benchmarking
is integrated into community development.
login to the TDCI, go to:
at the Internet site, login with an easy to remember User ID. Select
Tourism Development Capacity Index and begin to enter your information.
Once completed, print the form and seek out others in your community
that may be able to help answer those questions where you were not
sure or did not know the answer. Once you are satisfied with how
you have completed the survey, then enter your information one more
time. When done, click on 'Calculate' near the bottom of the page
to see your results. Select 'submit' to save your information. It
is important that you use the same User ID each time you submit
information. As you re-enter your community information over time,
select "view previous results" to compare your current
score with past scores.
the TDCI is intended to measure change in your community over time,
the Laboratory for Community and Economic Development at the University
of Illinois can assist you with comparisons to other communities
participating in the program.
the TDCI now to create a baseline measure of your communityís preparedness
to undertake community, tourism and economic development activities.
Use this tool again in six months, in one year and in two years
to measure progress toward meeting your local community goals.
for Community and Economic Development
of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign