Passionate for the power of education and for meeting and connecting interesting persons, have had the privilege to work for visionary educational institutions and their leaders.
Currently interested in exploring how art and magic can help us create healthier working environments and more transformative learning journeys.
Have collected some of my personal reflections in two books: ‘Handbook for Young Dreamers’ and 'The Mysterious Meaning of Money’ and helped create a small anthology to help high school students to find their voices and their stories in ‘Uma Pequena Escola Chamada Lacy.’
Jeremy Smith is a writer, speaker and sustainable tourism consultant. In January 2020 he co-founded Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency, an initiative that supports tourism destinations, businesses and individuals in declaring a climate emergency and working together to reduce their carbon emissions.
He is the author of Transforming Travel - realising the potential of sustainable tourism (2018), and Clean Breaks - 500 New Ways to See the World (2010). He is co-founder and editor of Travindy.com, the travel industry sustainable tourism website news site; and he writes a fortnightly blog on sustainable tourism for World Travel Market.
He consults widely on sustainable tourism, with recent clients including the UK National Parks, Tripadvisor, Travel Foundation, Travalyst, and the European Travel Commission. He delivers regular keynote speeches and workshops for destinations and companies; and he was a member of Rotterdam’s International Advisory Board in 2019 helping develop a new vision for the city’s tourism. He also sits on The Independent Advisory Board for Travalyst.
Helena Bovin is the Head of Marketing at Destination Uppsala where she together with her team works to drive change in destination marketing and visitors service to meet and attract visitors in unexpected ways. Previously, Helena Bovin has worked for Nordic Choice Hotels, where she was responsible for the marketing and communication of the Clarion Hotel brand in the Nordic region. She brings valuable experience from the hospitality industry and strong digital skills.
Gary has extensive destination development experience having held many senior Destination Management and Marketing roles in Ireland and North America. During his 23 year tenure with Failte Ireland (the Irish Tourist Board) his many roles include, General Manager South East Tourism, Head of Ireland East, and Head of Marketing. Prior to working for Failte Ireland he worked in Tennis Country Club Management with Hyatt Resorts International.
He is presently responsible for the evolution of Failte Ireland's in-Destination Visitor Engagement programme. Leading a team of 130 people spread across 26 TICs and 3 administrative hubs, his ambition, in context of the ever evolving information needs of visitors, is to create a unique and sustainable value proposition for Ireland based on the dissemination of ‘local’ knowledge and advice delivered through multiple channels.
He holds a business degree from the University of Texas and an MBA from El Instituto de Empresa, Madrid.
History and Architecture enthusiast, I’ve been always fascinated by the heritage that our ancestors left for us and the choice to preserve it. I’ve decided to leave my country to discover all the beauties that the world is offering, with the feeling that borders are just some imaginaries lines painted on maps. Landing in Barcelona and being able to work for the DMO helped my desire to share my love for the unique sites that characterize this beautiful city. Promoting a destination is not only a matter of “belonging”, is a way to sustain the growth of the tourism industry generating incomes for the cities, protecting and encouraging visitors to discover every aspect of the local cultural tradition, in each and every one of its facets. My goal is to share an economical ecosystem related to the culture of a destination able to endure all the challenges to come.
Miek De Roeck is the director of Visit Antwerp. She has more than 10 years of experience working in tourism. She started out her career as a tourism strategist in 2005, joined Visit Antwerp as a marketing manager in 2008 and was appointed as director of the same organisation in 2015. As a marketing manager, Miek introduced niche marketing and the benefits of a segmented approach at Visit Antwerp. Being a 21st century DMO, Visit Antwerp faces several interesting challenges and has to keep up with evolutions in city marketing and sustainable destination management. Future city making is founded on an integrated approach. The only way to achieve this is by collaborating with all the stakeholders who have an interest in Antwerp; visitors, inhabitants, businesses and others. A practice Miek not only focuses on in her everyday job, but also emphasizes as chairperson for the City Marketing Knowledge Group within European Cities Marketing.
For Amsterdam-based innovation strategist Eelko Hamer, that unarticulated idea that hangs between two thinkers is where the magic happens. In 2019, he co-authored the Untourist Guide to Amsterdam, the launch pad for a collaborative movement refocusing investment on projects of economic and ecological value to the city. Suggested activities included marrying an Amsterdammer for the day, a daring concept which made headlines in over 40 countries and became a powerful symbol of how an alternative mindset can reshape tourism.
A former marketing manager for KPN, this arts-loving amateur pianist with a degree in engineering is the ultimate polymath: an unconventional and abstract thinker at ease in any setting, with a fresh perspective, where positivity is key. Clients include Booking.com and D&AD, where Eelko worked alongside some of the world’s most creative minds. As faculty member for the Citizen Artist Incubator in Vienna, he did what he does best: make idealistic, world-changing goals a reality.
Susanne has been working in tourism for more than 25 years and spent most of her working life with the Graz Tourist Office. She has in depth knowledge of destination marketing, product development, B2B relation and is now focusing on influencer marketing and how to elaborate and professionalize the cooperation of travel bloggers and DMOs.
Susanne is also an active member of ECM (European Cities Marketing) and Vice Chairperson of the knowledge group City Marketing within this organization. The goal of this group is to help traditional tourist office in transition to become Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO), which not only focuses on attracting more tourists, but seeing the bigger picture and involving many groups and partners and especially the locals to create a new strategy for a sustainable future of city destinations.
Keith Jenkins, CEO, founded iambassador, an award-winning influencer marketing agency with a global network of influencers and content creators, in 2011. In addition to creating online marketing and content campaigns, iambassador also organises the annual Social Travel Summit, Social Travel Forum and ExplorerLab conferences. Keith is also the founder and publisher of the Velvet Escape luxury travel blog. Based in Amsterdam, Keith left his ten-year investment banking career in 2008 to travel the world and carve out a new career as a travel blogger and social media advocate. He has visited more than 80 countries across six continents. In addition to being a travel blogger, Keith frequently speaks at tourism marketing conferences and trade fairs such as WTM London, WTM Africa and ITB Berlin. Keith has been featured in The New York Times, BBC Travel, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic Traveler, and has presented a TEDx Talk.
As Chief Advocacy Officer, Jack Johnson manages the overall public policy operations at Destinations International including member advocacy education and training, development of destination tools and best practices, coalition work with peer organizations, industry research and related public affairs activities. Johnson also oversees the board governance, the Destination Management Accreditation Program (DMAP) and the Destinations International Foundation. Johnson brings unrivaled experience developing innovative strategies, policy solutions and civic consensus for government, not-for-profits and small businesses.
Johnson has received numerous accolades including being named as one of Successful Meetings’ 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry in 2018 for his work on opposing travel boycotts and bans. Currently, his work around positioning destination organizations as a shared value in each of their communities and speaking with a new lexicon based on the emotion driven by those values has made him one of the leading voices of the travel industry.
During his previous tenure with Choose Chicago, Johnson played a leading role in the extensive reforms of the McCormick Place Convention Center and the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, resulting in a new convention center operating model with both a travel industry and a citywide civic perspective. Johnson was integrally involved in the merger of the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau and the Chicago Office of Tourism, resulting in maximizing their resources, unifying the message and embedding the organization into the city’s economic development strategy.
Entrepreneur, public speaker and Past-President of Meetings Professional International in Belgium. With more than 15 years working experience in tourism and the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Events) sector, she’s an authority in the industry. Passionate about influencer marketing, Mariska founded her company Word of MICE in 2017. Her company connects the MICE industry with the right social media influencer, to tell the story of the suppliers in an authentic, creative and fun way within the right target audience. She is convinced of the impact and potential of B2B influencer marketing and her mission is to create a global active community of influencers and ambassadors. She shares her personal story why she started her company, and explains in 6 steps how to set up a successful campaign. She is a visionary, forward thinking entrepreneur and loves new challenges.
Norbert Kettner, born in 1967, has been the Vienna Tourist Board’s CEO since September 1, 2007. Prior to this he was founding managing director of departure wirtschaft, kunst und kultur GmbH, Austria’s first business promotion institution for the creative industries. From August 1993 till August 2003, Norbert Kettner was spokesman for the Executive City Councilor of Finance and Deputy Mayor of Vienna.
From 2010, Norbert Kettner has been a member of the board of trustees of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF. He is deputy chairman of the supervisory board of Vienna City Marketing Agency, deputy chairman of the supervisory board of Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna’s biggest exhibition space for contemporary art, a member of the City of Vienna’s Economic Council 2030 and part of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Advisory Board of MODUL University Vienna. 2015 Kettner also chaired the municipal steering committee of the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna.
Creative nomad, co-founder of the Untourist Movement and co-director of the Dutch non-profit organisation Wonder. Studied directing, film making and choreography in the Netherlands, France and the USA on an international scholarship. Worked for years as an independent director and manager on various projects around the world. Experienced in the non-profit sector, arts and travel industry. Former clients include Oxfam Novib, Hivos, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Unilever, Djoser and Evaneos.
Harry Mirpuri is the Director, Research & Insights at London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official promotion agency. His day job is to help ensure London remains an attractive place to study, visit and set up a business.
Harry also has the honour of chairing the ECM Research & Statistics Knowledge Group, sharing and learning from this community of extremely intelligent and inspirational data gurus.
Harry has a strong background in research innovation and is a big believer in forging strong partnerships with agencies and trying new approaches. He loves being part of ECM to learn, make amazing friendships and cycle around our beautiful host cities.
Natalia Rincon, an influencer, is the Founder and CEO of CHAOS. The company started under her leadership in 2017 and since then CHAOS has become a leader in urban forecasts for creating livable cities.
She is an architect and computer science engineer, and currently PhDc at Aalto University in Helsinki. She is a councillor in Tampere and member of the Smart City committee and an advisor for foreign talent at the Ministry of Employment and Economy of Finland.
She is a frequent speaker at conferences, on topics such as the future of smart cities, citizen engagement, artificial intelligence and female entrepreneurship and equality.
Patrik Romano has been the Managing Director of Bologna Welcome, Convention and visitors Bureau of Bologna, since its establishment, in 2014.
He has over 15 years of experience in marketing, communication and promotion in the meeting industry, in Italy and abroad. As managing director of Bologna Welcome, he has led the development and implementation of the tourism promotion strategy of Bologna and the surrounding metropolitan area, managing the company and all its activities, including the organization of tourist information offices, communication strategies (offline, digital marketing, social media, media relations) and commercial strategies, for both national and international visitors.
Eytan Schwartz is the CEO of Tel Aviv Global and Tourism - a municipal initiative aimed at positioning Tel Aviv as a global city. Since becoming CEO in January 2016, the organization served a pivotal role in raising the city's attractiveness for foreign R&D centers and boosting the startup ecosystem in the city; hosting the 2019 Eurovision Contest; and leading the international branding and PR efforts of the city.
Previously Eytan served as Senior Advisor to Tel Aviv-Yafo's Mayor Ron Huldai for International Affairs, where he was in charge of managing all diplomatic and international operations of the Mayor's Cabinet. During his time as Senior Advisor to the Mayor, Schwartz designed and implemented a new municipal strategy to absorb the growing numbers of immigrants in the city, as well as designing and managing various public campaigns to position Tel Aviv abroad.
In 2013, Monocle Magazine named Schwartz among its 10-people Dream Team of municipal officials from around the world.
Eytan has a BA summa cum laude in Anthropology from Columbia University and MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Tel Aviv University. He resides in Tel Aviv with his wife and three children.
Stefan is the co-founder of Fifteen Seconds Festival, Europe’s largest anti-conference at the intersection of business, innovation and creativity. Together with his team, Stefan helps people succeed, uniting a community of interdisciplinary forward-thinkers who are eager to share, explore and learn from the best. He has had the honor to welcome renowned executives from all over the world to tell their success stories at Fifteen Seconds Festival, including leaders from global brands like The New York Times, Facebook, BuzzFeed, Twitter, Starbucks, and Apple, to name just a few. Since 2014, partnering companies like Google, Forbes, Microsoft, Oracle, IKEA, Red Bull, and Mercedes-Benz have joined.
Passionate, creative and high-achieving explorer driven by curiosity and the fascinating power of change. Magnus sees patterns in large complex sets of data and he is eager to let others see what he sees - communication is today an important part of analysis! Magnus is today responsible for Business Intelligence for Visit Stockholm, where he has been the last two years after quite some time within the Scandinavian media industry. Apart from loving Stockholm, he is also a keen traveller and linguistic nerd.
With her devoted team, they work towards encouraging free and open discussion and debate between the diverse players involved in the sustainable development of the City, providing a frame to public bodies, associations and political representatives to share their positions and come up with solid proposals for the improvement of the tourism sector of Barcelona, discussing the preferred kind of city and hence the desired tourism model and safeguarding the Right to the City to all visitors and residents.
Geerte Udo has been appointed CEO of amsterdam&partners effective March 2019. She is known as being a decisive connector with vision and a creative spirit.
Together with the amsterdam&partners team, Geerte focusses on one mayor goal: to ensure that the Amsterdam Area remains liveable and prosperous for all the stakeholders.
We do this by seizing opportunities and solving problems, with residents being the focal point of these efforts. Visitors and companies that add value to the Amsterdam Area are also guaranteed a warm welcome. amsterdam&partners focuses on quality rather quantity when it comes to the visitor economy and attracting businesses, conferences, and talent to the region.
Udo looks not only at the issues of today, but also those of tomorrow. How do we ensure that the Amsterdam Area will continue to be a great place to live, work, and study for everyone in the future? A place known for its open and diverse culture, where people have respect for each other and the environment.
The company uses data, new technologies such as artificial intelligence, and storytelling to build on the sustainable reputation of Amsterdam Area. They guide residents, companies, and conferences to familiar and less familiar places and contributes to ways of reducing nuisance.
Udo is a born networker, visionary and connector. But most of all she is a source of inspiration. Creating connections between partners in government, the business community, knowledge institutions, and cultural organizations makes it possible to take up challenges and seize opportunities.
Geerte studied Public Administration at Leiden University. After graduating, she joined the consultancy firm Twijnstra Gudde in 2000 as a consultant. There she worked on issues largely related to alliances and change management in the public sector. In 2006, she moved to Amsterdam Partners and in 2013 she joined the management team of what was then Amsterdam Marketing, now amsterdam&partners. Udo discovered her love for art, culture, and good food at an early age. She has lived in Amsterdam for 20 years.
Me and my team try and push the boat out every day. Learning from mistakes and not worrying what others think about what we do or how we do it!
Martin is an experienced advisor on the marketing and branding of cities and regions. He’s been involved in more than 100 projects over the last ten years - including Amsterdam, Oslo and The Hague - and has been a strong proponent of a professionalisation of the discipline beyond tourism. Besides his advisory work, Martin is a lecturer in Human Geography and Planning at the University of Groningen, the Vice Chairman of the International Place Branding Association and for the last two years, Martin has advised ECM’s City Marketing Knowledge Group.
dr. Stefan Hartman holds the position of head of department of the European Tourism Futures Institute (ETFI – www.etfi.eu) at NHL Stenden University. At the ETFI he helps actors in the leisure and tourism industry to develop strategies and actions that allow them to manage continually changing business environments. To do so, he uses his knowledge of transition management, resilience and adaptive capacity building. Stefan obtained his PhD at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. His research focuses on the development, strategic (spatial) planning and governance issues related to spaces and places that are in the process of becoming destinations for tourism and leisure.
Elke graduated in 2001 as a Communication Scientist at the Catholic University of Leuven. After her studies, she started working there, first as an assistant in mass communication and marketing, and later as a PhD student studying the impact of word of mouth and influentials on travel behavior. It was the beginning of her passion for the tourism industry and it has not disappeared ever since. In 2004, Elke started out in the national tourism agency VISITFLANDERS, working on marketing activities to stimulate the domestic market. In 2008, she internally switched position towards online marketing. In 2012, she became the marketing director, responsible for all marketing activities of the VISITFLANDERS office in Brussels and the network abroad. Since 2016, she combines this current position with the chairmanship of the European Travel Commission marketing group. Together with 32 European countries, the European Travel Commission strives to build the brand ‘Europe’, and develop and promote it as a long-haul destination.