In Spring 2022, in Hamburg, Germany, the CityDNA International Conference & General Assembly convened its first in-person international conference and general assembly in two years. The theme was reunited destinations. 

It was a momentous event. Not only was it an opportunity for European Cities Marketing (ECM) to announce its rebranding to ‘City Destinations Alliance,’ but at the core of the conference were pressing, complicated, and essential questions about the future of tourism.

ECM has led the world in many areas of destination management, stakeholder engagement, citizen and civic alignment, and sustainability and regeneration.

All of these were key topics at the assembly, but on the border of Germany, less than four hours away, a different kind of crisis was unfolding. Few would have thought that in 2022, we would be facing an all-out war in Ukraine.

The overarching questions were these — how can tourism help fix the world, and how can DMOs be catalysts for change?

I appreciate the leadership, guidance, and innovation that ECM has brought to this industry. The organization has consistently set its objectives far out on the horizon. In my opinion, that has had a steady and positive influence on moving the industry forward.

Today’s guests are two of my favorite people in tourism: 

  • Petra Stušek, president at ECM and CEO of Ljubljana tourism
  • Flavie de Bueil-Baudot, chief operating officer at City Destination Alliance  

The difference between good organizations and great organizations is most often one of a vision. Good organizations do almost everything right — and when they do things wrong, they fix them and improve. 

Great organizations do all that, but they also nurture a long vision of where they need to go. The word “nurture” is important, and my two guests exemplify it.